These dolls represent the area of the town Nowy Sącz (New Sonch) in southern Poland, east of Krakow. The top two are married woman's attire and men's I actually made those myself several years ago, as I couldn't find dolls in these costumes. The lower picture are two in maiden's outfit.
They are known for their rich embroidery, especially the men's costume and women's jacket.
|Front and back of same doll|
In the southern area of Poland, bordered between Silesia and Little-poland, there are a few villages of very unusual people with a very interesting history:
Wilamowice town was founded in 1250 by William (hence the name Wilhelmsau, or "members William", later polonized). He and his settlers came from the principality of Schraumburg - Lipppe (the area of today's Germany, and also the lower Weser, near the border with the Netherlands). Some accounts say they were from Flanders, Friesland and even Scotland. In the thirteenth century, after the Tartar invasions which decimated southern area villages and towns, the rulers brought settlers mainly from Western Europe to colonize this area. This was the so-called “Olender” settlement.
They spoke a Dutch-German type of language called wymysiöeryś, which was still commonly used in Wilamowice to 1945. At the end of second war, the Communist authorities prohibited the use of this language. Despite the lifting of the ban in 1956, wymysiöeryś was gradually replaced by Polish, especially among the younger generation. Only about 70 people can communicate in this language today.
The Wilamowicki traditional dress costumes are closer to Germany and the Netherlands than Polish. It also has elements of Scottish (plaid woolen shawl) and Turkish. Women wore three types of suits: national, festive and everyday ordinary. This girl is wearing the maiden festive attire.I received her from a relative in Poland years ago, label on bottom says made in 1986 by “Tradycia” doll makers.
Just north-west of Poznan city is the Szamotuły region of Wielkopolska (Great Poland). Both the male and female Szamotulski dress were of many different variations depending on age, wealth of those who wore it, and the type of ceremony it was to accompany.
One of the manufactures makes their dolls in several sizes from 5 to 20 inches tall. The couple here are 71/2 inches and look smaller than the other one at 9 inches. I try to get them all the same size.
This area in eastern part of Poland, south of Lublin city, is the Bilgorajski area, named after that town. They were farmers, but this was a poor territory of sandy soil. Costumes were made of home spuns, usually linen, with some embroidery along edges, usually in red. Very characteristic of this costume was that married women wore a cap with a long rectangular cloth suspended over it. Maidens had flower wreaths. Disappeared during the second world war.
|Different manufactures. One on left has older version of costume.|
This couple has the latter version.
The attire was worn in the west part of Mazowsze (Mazovia) a village that is now a suburb of Warsaw.
The inhabitants of the Wilanow estate were wealthy people compared with their neighbours. They not only farmed but also traded in farm produce and prospered well financially. First made of homespun fabrics and over the years they purchased imported fabrics such as damask and brocade. As urban fashion was more and more visible the style of the dress also changed. It disappeared completely beginning of 20th century.The doll couple on right I actually made and embroidered, the one on the left I brought last year in Warsaw.