Poland: Polish woman (from Kurpie?)

Front view
Front view

General description: Hand-made wooden doll with a high-crowned brimless (torque-like) hat reminiscent of the hats (czolka) worn by women from Kurpie, though their hats have embroidery on them and this is unadorned.

Dimensions 8 x 3 x 4 cm

Date when acquired 1985

Original Date 1985

Source Warsaw, Poland.

Present from Danuta (a friend from my German course)


Back view
Back view


The body is made of a wooden cone with a wooden ball for the head. Her features are painted on.



The doll’s costume consists of a long skirt made of red silky braid and a band of dark green velvet around the hem. The red colour indicates that she is a Northern Kurpie. The white lace apron (kitlów) is almost as long as her skirt. Her blouse is made of white cotton, stiffened to form arms. The ends of each sleeve are gathered by a red thread. The front of the blouse has an inset of white lace. The doll has a piece of black velvet at the front to form a bodice. Around her neck is a choker made of red thread.

On the dolls head is a high-crowned brimless green hat. Lace edging peeps out of the rim of the hat at the front.


Side view
Side view




Background information

The Kurpie region one of a number of ethnic regions in Poland and is located on a lowland plain called the Mazovian Region (Mazowsze), which was once covered over by two forests known as the Puszcza Zielona (the Green Wilderness) and the Puszcza Biała (the White Wilderness). The people of this region have their unique traditional customs, such as its own types of traditional costume, traditional dance, and distinctive type of architecture and livelihoods. The typical shoes made of bast fibres gave these people their name Kurpie.

The shoes which gave this area and its people their name.
The shoes which gave this area and its people their name.

Although their costumes were similar, the Kurpies in the north had a different type of costume than the Kurpies in the southern part of the region. For example, in the north, women wore red skirts with a green vest over a white linen blouse with some trim and always a necklace made of amber. The vest came down to the waist and had two lappets on the sides that came down lower, usually to the tops of the leg. The skirt often has elaborate folds at the back, but is flat along the front. If stripes were added to the skirt it was always in contrasting colours, so green stripes on a red skirt and red on a green. In the colder months a highly embroidered jacket would be worn, but the sleeves always stopped about half way down so that the embroidery on the shirt sleeves could still be seen.

For holidays, unmarried young women wore special hats which were black and rectangular with rounded corners called czolka (pronounced cholka). It was trimmed with black velvet and decorated with sequins, beads, and other haberdashery. On the side was placed a garland of flowers and down the back hung colourful ribbons. Usually when wearing this hat women would braid their hair in pigtails.

Kurpie men in the north wore long brown coats tied around the waist with a red sash. They wore white linen shirts and white trousers which were fastened at the bottom with straps from the Kurpie shoes which they wore. Men from the north can be distinguished from men in the south since men in the north wear dark brown top hats and men from the south wear small black caps.

There is some variation in the costume. For example, a man’s trousers could be grey or white, and women might wear a red or a white blouse.

Source(s) of information



(1.15.5 )



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