Monday, 14 October 2013

Jamno (Jamienski)

The Jamno costume
Jamienski (Jamno) married couple.
  Lesser-known costume. I only learned about this a few years ago from a book called 'Poland Folk Costumes" (Polskie Stroje Ludowe) by Elżbieta Piskorz-Branekova. Located north-west of Poland in the Western Pomerania (Pomorze) region. The village is situated between the Baltic Sea and Lake Jamno.
   The first mention of Jamno can be found in the documents back to 1278, when the Cistercian monastery of Koszalin received the patronage of the church in Jamno. Some argue that Jamno has been written about in 1224, but the information is not confirmed. From the mid-eighteenth century to the Second World War, it's population doubled, reaching 779 people.
A 1891 colour lithograph by Aleksandra Kreschmera. A wedding scene.
  The location of villages Jamno and Labusz meant that for most outsiders, access was unavailable. Jamno was the bigger of the two and was located on a hill surrounded by three small rivers and swamp land all around. Only during winter when the swamps froze, people were able to keep in touch with nearby villages and towns. Although Koszalin is just 6 km from Jamno, a road connecting the two towns was not completed until 1899.
Interior of a Jamno cottage with costumed mannequins.
  Until the mid-nineteenth century Jamno remained in a cultural isolation. Their only ties, customs and kinship was with the neighbouring residents of Łabusz (Wa-boosh). Just between the two villages they concluded marriages.
Detail of dolls.  Handmade by Mr. & Mrs. Kaliszewski. 10 inches.
   The Jamno inhabitants were originally Slavs. In the 17th century there were settlements by newcomers from the Netherlands and Germany, during the Germanization of Pomerania. After World War II, almost all the inhabitants of the village Jamno were displaced. Just a few individuals had passed on their knowledge and skills to future generations. Because they spoke German in the latter years, the Poles considered them to be just that, and have not considered this costume and culture as true Polish. Many artifacts, furniture and tools have made their way into museums in Koszalin and the Jamno village buildings have been preserved into a skansen, an outdoor museum with furnishings.
Jamno wedding outfit.  Collection of the Museum of Koszalin.
   The result of the isolation and combination of Dutch and German elements lead to a unique folk costume, embroidery and paintings because in addition to being beautiful, they were used only by the small Jamno community. The costume is a combination of the local Slavic clothing with that of the new settlers. Most were made from homespun fabrics supplemented by readymade ones. Women wore a black skirt with red binding on the edge, two underskirts, a white linen apron, a bodice, and black  jacket. On her head, a lace cap which was covered with a black bonnet. She wore a fastener and brass or silver plates fastened to a strip of fabric to form a belt, a velvet ribbon with clasp, stockings and shoes. 
Women's woollen bodice in homespun stripped fabric.
   Both the men's vest and women's bodice were red in colour with narrow black, green, yellow and white stripes. Men also made a four cornered hat out of this. To his outfit he had a silk kerchief tied around the collar and a navy-blue or black sukmana (long-coat) with red trim.
Unique painted chair from Jamno.
   These dolls were a special request made almost a year ago. Mr. Kaliszewski said he needed time to do his research on this little-known costume with help from the Warsaw Ethnographic Museum. I must say I am most impressed with the result and accurate attention to detail.  A rare costumed doll indeed! Followers, what do you think - would you say the Jamno costume is more Germanic or Polish?

Monday, 7 October 2013

Dąbrówka Wielkopolska

Dąbrówka-Wielkopolska (Lubuski)
  Lubuski region is the very western area in Poland right by German border. The area is in the Lubuskie Province, Western part of Wielkopolska (Great-Poland). Although many call this costume Lubuski (Lubusz), there were several variations, different in each town. This was a large region so locals called it by the town or area to which the attire was tied to, each had distinct characteristics: Międzyrzecz, Babimost and Dąbrówki Wielkopolskie.

  The two dolls I have are in the married women’s costume from Dąbrowki Wielkopolskie. The Babimost - Międzyrzeczko is a little different. Wish I could find dolls in that variations. The lady in blue I have made about 20 years ago to represent a Wielkopolski costume, the other was special order by Mr. & Mrs. Kaliszewski, doll makers in Warsaw. Both 10 inches (25 cm).
Historical events account for the fact that the females attire survived until the mid 20th century between the towns of Babimost and Międzyrzecz. It wa most widely used in Dąbrowka and several villages in its vicinity. Men’s costume ceased to be worn at the turn of the century.

Maiden and bachelor. Photo: Folkloristic Group Wielkopolanie (Poznan, Poland)
  Woman’s festive costume consists of tulle bonnet adorned with white-work embroidery worn by married woman and girls wore a garland of flowers crowned over their heads. Small jackets with puffy sleeves for married women, with large flower printed fringed shawls. Large white lace collars that was attachable to front blouse, silk printed/embroidered ribbon to tie the front of bonnet. Skirts were made of homespun or factory-made fabric, plain, and white or dark aprons with the hem trimmed with lace, black boots or shoes. Red glass beads with a pendant cross.
Close up of married woman's bonnet and collar.
There is a wonderful folk ensemble in Poznan that specialize in songs, dances and costumes from Wielkopolska region, as well as other popular areas of Poland. Below is a link of a short song and dance from Dąbrówka-Wielkopolska by "Wielkopolanie" in those costumes. In all my years as a dancer, I have never seen dances from this area, so rare. More info on this group: