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Main » 2011 » February » 21 » Traditional Crafts of Maramures
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Traditional Crafts of Maramures

             Maramures is a small and unique location in the geographical heartland of Europe that has carefully and preserved the culture, traditions and lifestyle of the past. The region stands as a testament to traditional; to a romantic era of simplicity, pride and moral values that many of us can only now read about or hear from our grandparents.You will discover through the text our tradional crafts,like wood carving,pottery , fabrics and traditional costumes and also traditional jewelry and masks.
       As many of you probably noticed, Maramures is the land of wood, so, there can not miss wood art and carving. Those poeple who visited Romania had the chance to see the results of some skilled hands, full of tallent , as well had the chance and the opportunity to carve too.Maramures can be proud with its creation in art wood, here you can find the oldest wooden church from Europe(Wooden Curch from Ieud -1364),  the tallest wooden church in Europe (Peri Monastery from Sapanta : 78 m),the famous Merry Cemetery, but also old houses and traditional gates, they are  like an open air museum.



       Since immemorial times, earth, water and fire came alive in the hands of the craftsmen from Maramures. The clay has given birth to recipients of sheer and heathen beauty, having different shapes, painted with natural colors and burnt in traditional kilns. The ceramics from Sacel,witch is famous for its red, unglazed pottery,is obtained through ancient, dacian techniques that date back more than 2000 years ago. The oven uses wood fire so the colour of the clay is preserved. The clay used is kaolin, a fine and dense clay taken from deep springs (10-15m) in Drobodeava Hill, Săcel. The ornaments are simple and resemble natural elements (the flow of water, the sun, the line of life, folkloric motifs) and they  were also used in the Dacian ceramics. The pots are made at the wheel, decorated, polished with a stone, laid out to dry,then stored in boxes until a considerable number of them are made. Other types of ceramics in Maramures are the enameled ones from Vama and Lăpuș, the ceramics of neo-Byzantine influence from Iza Valley ,Baia Mare and Baia Sprie. Thus, the potter's wheel from Maramures gave life and freshness to the well water and taste to the food on the tables of these region's houses.
       As you know, the people from Maramures are very hardworking
and brave people, very hospitable and cheerful. Also the traditional costume from Maramures has many sober note, undeniable beauty and old and fortunately kept well in front of the wave of modernism.
      Some of you had the opportunity to see an old traditional room with dowry. You must know that every respectable household keeps a guestroom sheltering the daughter’s dowry with all the clothes and linen she may need for her new beginning,when she will get married.In this room you can see :carpets,”covoare,cergi” and towels’ ştergare, procute’ which are designed in intricate geometrical patterns and contrasting colours and their border displays anthropomorphous or human representations such as ‘ soldiers dancing’ and ‘horse and horseman’. Also the bed throws come in two, up to four different colours and authentic textiles are painted in natural tones obtained form plants and tree bark.
     About the traditional costume, those who visited Romania, Maramures first noticed that our traditional costumes are impressive through beauty and simplicity. You will not see the same costume in every region because each ethnographic region has a local specific when it comes to costume. For instance, the costume of the Land of Lapus is much more elegant and sobre than the one from the Historical Maramures.The women shirt,”cămaşa”
has a colorful flower ornaments, red, green, blue, in a large range of combinations, with sleeves ended in cuffs and flounces, ample skirts, covered by the two aprons with horizontal stripes colored according to the social status and region demonstratingimagination and innate talent of the women handed down from generation to generation. During the winter time, the women are very lucky tu wear a jerkin, or a warmer coat over the shirt called "pieptar” or ”cojoc” and it is
made from sheep or lamb skin with fur inside, short and tight, sleeveless, with abundant floral.. The Sandals or "opinci”  are made from calf leather is tanned by hand, foot and ankle wraps are wrapped in thick wool socks crocheted white or white wool with different geometric patterns.
     Men'straditional costume is much simpler than the female.The same white shirt (cămaşă)simple sewn with embroidery on neck and sleeves. Pants called "gatii" are weared  in summer and are wide and up above the ankles, they are very comfortable being woven white cotton cloth. For winter wear "cioarecii" ,they are plain white or gray wool, very warm.This time,”pieptarul”or the jerkin is gorgeous embroidery, with many ornaments, metal targets, Ciuc wool, leather, fur isworn inside.
        The tradition of masks  has its origins even before Christianity, the specific ritual designed to make the transition from one year to another. At first, those who wore masks  were named devils, from the highest level, Lucifer, to the last, Sarsaila.The old people from the villages ofMaramures tell that once, people were disquised to scare the evil spirits.Therfore, the children and the young people used to gather in bands with the masks on their face and the they started to wander the entire village. N
also show that, besides the tradition of masks, in Maramures an important place it’s took by the "old men dance”, which seems to rise to ceremonies with masks stood vigil nights - ancestral ritual to honor the dead. The masks are made by locals. In every house is at least one. "In communist times, for example, masks were applied to different signs of that period. Many of these masks are manufactured from scrap material, sheepskin, with walnuts colored ribbons ".
Traditional Jewelry gives color to women's costumes. Young girls proudly wear "zgardane" around their necks. These necklesses are made of small, multicoloured beads threaded onto strings, using different motives, such as rhombus, flowers, S motif.
In the village of Sârbi, on Cosau Valley, there are still two traditional hats makers: Vasile Borodi and Ioan Barlea manufacture, out of straw and wood shavings, hats that make the folk costumes complete. The hats are differently decorated, according to the occasion or event: with colorful beads and flowers at weddings, simple and sobre at funerals.
    We could talk about our tradition for hours,but it it's important to see it to
believe what we said, that is why we all wait for you to come and we will demonstrate why we should never give up on tradition.

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