Monday, March 24, 2008

hutsul folk art

The Hutsuls are an ethnic group from the Hutsul Region of the Carpathian Mountains. Originally, they were inhabitants of Kyvian Rus, but were forced to flee during the Mongolian invasion. The name Hutsul most likely refers to their semi-nomadic lifestyle which they were forced into after becoming migrant wanderers. Their colorful culture is captured in their folk art, which they are well known for. The Hutsuls best demonstrate their particular style in their clothing, sculpture, architecture, woodworking, metalworking, rug weaving, pottery, and egg decorating.

The Hutsuls distinguish themselves from the other ethnic groups living in the Carpathian Mountains by their distinctive dress, which is full of color and ornaments. Most Hutsuls wear linen shirts with multi-colored embroidery and even glass beads. These shirts are accompanied by sheepskin vests, known as kozhushynas, which are ornamented with leather, string, embroidery, and mirrors. Over their shirts they wear either a narrow or thin colorful belts, which are sometimes decorated with brass. In warm weather men wear broad rimmed hats which are decorated with strings and plumes. Women either wear a headband or a square scarf which is wrapped around their head or neck.

The Hutsuls are most well-know for their woodcarving, which is no surprise since their society is centered largely on logging. In the Carpathian there are several options for high quality wood such as oak, willow, ash, elm, beech, and plane, so the Hutsuls have a huge selection to choose from. They are known for often inlaying their carvings with objects of great contrast such as wood, brass, silver, bone, pearl, and glass beads. This rich and lively style is meant to represent traditional Hutsul culture.

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