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The Croats are More Elegant... Textile Handicrafts in the Villages of Western Slavonia
; Department of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb, Croatia
Puni tekst: hrvatski, pdf (3 MB)
Petrović, T. (2001). Hrvati su više kicoši... Tekstilno rukotvorstvo u selima zapadne Slavonije. Studia ethnologica Croatica, 12/13(1), 21-68. Preuzeto s https://hrcak.srce.hr/48526
The research of textile handicrafts was conducted in January and February 1999, in the Croatian villages of Gornji Bogićevci, Stari Grabovac, Rajić, Brestača and Kozarice. These villages are situated in the Western Slavonia, between the towns of Okučani and Novska.
The basis of the research were the questions, and especially the drawings, taken from the Questionnaire of the Ethnographic Atlas, which were supplemented by the questions which helped the informants reconstruct the period when textile plants were raised and manufactured, with the questions which helped them remember the people and places where they used to obtain different types of cotton threads, and with the questions on customs and beliefs connected to the processes of textile manufacture.
The obtained data were also concerned with the role the textile handicrafts had in everyday life and customs of the inhabitants of these villages.
The article starts with my own field data, and continues with the data found in the Questionnaire of the Ethnographic Atlas. The data are arranged according to specific topics and locations, and according to the order of actions performed during the processes of textile mnanufacture. The subtitles are taken from the titles of specific topics in the Ethnographic Atlas's Questionnaire, as well as all the additional titles.
The research has shown that the data found in the Questionnaire of the Ethnographic Atlas and the newly collected data coincide and complement each other.
The terms for the specific stages of manufacture and the terms for the devices used, are mostly of Slavic origin. Terms and titles of foreign origin which are common in this part of Slavonia, can also be found. The devices of the similar shape and outer appearance can also be found in other parts of Slavonia and Croatia. This region, as past researches have already shown, is a region whose ethnological characteristics prove it to be a region of constant contact and mixing of different cultural influences. This region is also a border line where the distribution of certain cultural elements stops, while the distribution of other elements begins. One of such elements is the use of wool for weaving. At the end of the 19th century, the ethnographer Milko Cepelić noticed that wool was used for weaving in this region, or more precisely, that the border¬line of the regions were wool was used for weaving crossed this specific region, and included the town of Novska and the village of Rajić. Behind this imaginary border-line, we have a region were flax and hemp were used more often than wool.
Certain cultural elements can be distinguished here, and they can be compared with elements which can be found in other parts of Croatia, such as the usage of wooden knife for the cleaning of woolen threads from the wooden residue called pozder. This research confirms the distribution of this knife in the region of Western Slavonia and shows that the distribution of this cultural element is much wider than it was believed so far.
The term stan for the weaving loom was used in the villages inhabited by Croatian population, and the term natra in the Serbian villages in the part of the Western Slavonia which was included in this research. According to the ethnographic maps, the term stan is common in Croatia and in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The term natra can be found in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in Serbia.
Another important point is that the informants already know very little about the weaving techniques and the ways they were performed. They mostly remember the terms, and after the Homeland war, in the majority of the houses there were no weaving devices which could help us connect certain weaving techniques with the terms which were used, or possibly, to help us reconstruct the techniques themselves. Here, it would be important to organize specific researches dealing only with this part of textile manufacture, which would include additional field researches, and the search for the preserved textile exhibits in private collections and museums, which can be found in other parts of Croatia, as well.
The article also partly deals with the customs which were connected with the raising and manufacturing of the textile crops, customs connected with the weaving itself, and the customs of giving away textile items and items of clothing. The research has shown that the elected informants belong to the last generation which took part in the activities connected with the raising and manufacturing of the textile crops, so that they could also remember the customs, stories, jokes and games which accompanied these activities. It is possible, and perhaps necessary, to compare some of these elements with the same or similar elements from other parts of Croatia. Particularly interesting is the story of women, all members of an extended family called zadruga, who used to spin in the dark, so that the landlord would not see them, and drank stolen rakija (brandy). The similar or the same story is being told as an account of a true event in different parts of Slavonia and among other extended families. The existence of such stories can be explained by their appearance in certain journals published for rural population, especially in those published in the period from the beginning of the 20th century until the World War II, the period in which all the publications of Seljačka Sloga proved to be very popular among the peasants.
The Christmas custom of fortune telling which is performed on the Christmas Eve and deals with the successful growth of the textile threads, is already well known. Less common is the dance custom performed during the shrove-tide, which is also aimed at assuring the height (i.e. length) of the flax thread, and is also found in Western Slavonia. Similar customs can be found in other regions of Slavonia, and specific igra za kudelju ("oakum game") was found in Baranja, as a part of Carnival feast.
textile handicrafts; Western Slavonia
Hrčak ID: 48526
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