Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Kashubians, Sandomierz, Przeworski, Sieradzki

Festive costume. Married woman's attire on left, and maiden's on right.
   The history of the ethnic group called the Kashubians is closely connected with the history of Pomerania (Pomorze), in northern Poland. Kashubians descended from the Slavic Pomeranian tribes, who settled between the Oder and Vistula rivers. The oldest known mention of "Kashubia" dates from 1238. Their territory is marked by the Gulf of Gdansk and the Baltic Sea on the north, north-east to the Tuchola Forest on the south, and Bytów on the west. 
   Despite being ruled in the early years by Pomeranian princes, Polish Kings, Teutonic knights, Prussians to becoming a German territory up to the second world war, the Kashubians have maintained their own language (several dialects, not one), customs, traditions, folk art and identity that is very unique and unusual in Poland. The traditional occupations of Kashubians have been agriculture as well as fishing in fresh lakes and the sea. They also gather amber, worked it, traded and sold it.
Detail of bonnet embroidery in gold.
   There were actually three different kinds of costumes. The peasants in the countryside, the coastal fishermen and the townsfolk. Also the ladies Kaszubski attire is known for its embroidery. Multi-coloured was on the white aprons and blouse sleeves, where as gold and/or silver thread was embroidered on the vests and especially the bonnets. Girls outfit was completed with amber necklaces.
Married women wore large scarves and green aprons. They also tied a small a piece of cloth over their bonnets. They usually wore shoes.
Another married woman and fisherman's outfit.
   This wonderful couple I found on e-bay a few months ago, but it was in poor condition. I had to clean it, re-glue feet, repaint ladies face, change her bow and his red lapel. Looks better now. Some people do not take care of their dolls which is a pity!  

   This lesser-known costume is from the area around the city Sandomierz in the south-east part of Poland. As ready-made materials and western clothes became more available the peasant attire went out of use by twentieth century. During second world war, the last authentic remains of this regional costume were destroyed, except for a single men's sukmana (great-coat) from 19th c. Today, they are reconstructed according to diagrams and documents.
  This doll has the maiden attire. Married women wore jackets with fake lamb trim, head scarves and had black aprons. My husband found her on his trip in 1988.

   The Przeworski costume is singled out as a separate dress from the group of costumes worn by the Rzeszovians. Przeworsk town was east of Rzeszow city. Men's costume disappeared earlier than woman's, which was worn till early 20th century, after that infrequently for ceremonial or holidays. Many beautiful pieces can be found preserved at a museum in Przeworsk.
   Since I couldn't find this kind of costume the doll I have has the married woman's attire I partly hand made. White embroidered tulle headscarves and white work eyelet embroidered cotton aprons are very characteristic for this costume. Also, the maiden's vests or married woman's jackets were mainly decorated with coloured beads. Here she has embroidery instead, less common.

Left: A bride outfit in blue cotton, embroidered apron. Head dress cap with flowers
and ribbons.   Right: The bride's maid in red cotton dress, printed cotton apron
   From central Poland Mazovia area (Mazowsze). The Sieradzki costume was worn till the 1950's, men stopped wearing theirs earlier. Women's clothes were subject to many changes and fashions. Women's costumes of an older type were sewn from homespun fabrics. Dresses and aprons were wool stripped on red or less common green or blue background. Later, ready made fabrics like cotton were used for blouses and the aprons and had coloured embroidery along the edges or cotton printed ones. Light weight wool or cotton dresses (smocking on vest) replaced heavy wool ones in later years, especially for summer. Head scarves, high top laced boots and necklaces of coral and amber completed the outfit.
   These two dolls show the style of the latter years. One I received from someone in Poland, other my husband brought. Both same maker, stamped Katowice for Cepelia, 1982 and 1986.