Folk crafts of Belarus

Folk crafts of Belarus

Artemenko E.G. Mogilev Decorative composition “Dan order” 1978

Folk crafts of Belarus
The land of Belorussia is a hilly plain, the land of four thousand lakes, forests, floodplains of calmly flowing rivers, the land of poetic legends, legends and songs.

Pastors settled on these lands pastoralists and farmers. Apart from the main lessons, they created the objects of applied art from simple materials that gave them the surrounding nature: from wood, lime bark, root, vines, clay, birch bark, straw. Weaves of linen threads canvas, painted with natural dyes. The whole world of images of artistic crafts of the Belarusians produces an impression of lyrical, light, fulfilled with a special poetic, certainty.
And this, despite the fact that the history of Belarus abounds in dramatic events. The people survived the invasion of the Mongols, German knights, civil strife, raids of Lithuanians and Polish occupation, which led to the violent catholization of the population, which caused an active protest, which resulted in a third of the population left for Russia. Entry into the Russian Federation took place in the XVIII century and already had a positive meaning that from that time foreign claims to the Belarusian lands were weakened.
The enormous destruction brought the fascist occupation to this peaceful land during the years of the Great Patriotic War.
Yet, through all the troubles of history, the Belarusian folk art carried its bright ideals, faith in the triumph of goodness, high craftsmanship and a special inspirational world of folk images.
Belarusian folk art developed in close cooperation with the art of great artistic styles, and above all Baroque. Moreover, these styles found in the images of folk art their own distinct interpretation, more connected with mythological ideas than with official ideas and canons. There are many reasons for this phenomenon, but one of the most significant ones is the high development along with the rural urban arts craft.
The artistic culture of the people reached great flower in the XVII century.

Folk crafts of Belarus

Vaskovskii MV Mozyr, Gomel region Sculpture vessel “Lion” 1978

During this period both rural handicrafts and urban art reached great artistic heights and considerable diversity. Although ceramic and other artistic crafts have been known since the 14th century (in particular, the Orsha Workshop, which produced excellent stove plates in a blue, blue, yellow, brown range of flowers with a lovely blue cornflower, received great development), the modern artistic traditions of folk art it is possible to conduct precisely from the XVII century.
Many Belarusian masters worked in the Silver Chamber of the Moscow Kremlin. In the expense book of the XVIIth decade, one can find the following information: “The mastermates of wives and children with children of eternal life were taken to the Armory from Vilnia, from Polotsk, from Vitebsk, from Smolensk.” The art of the Belarusian masters was surprised at the Russian court. The activity of the Byelorussians on decorating public buildings in the 17th century, under the command of Alexei Mikhailovich, has reached a special strike. They decorated the Kolomna Palace, the churches with colorful irrigation tiles, which dominated golden-yellow and green paints. Often images were large, not only ornamental, but also plotted. Majolikovye tiles depicted the figures of saints almost in height. The Church of Gregory of Neo-Caesar, in Moscow on Polyanka, is still surprised by the high artistic qualities of ornamental majolica tiles. The iconostasis covered the so-called Belarusian wood cut and gilded. Contemporaries shook contemporary unusual gold-burning iconostases made by Belarusian masters in ancient traditions of folk art. Such was the iconostasis of the Smolensk Cathedral in Novodevichy Monastery.
And at home in Belarus, at this time, the masters create works of high art, where architectural decoration is closely connected with the forms of architecture. This is first and foremost an amazing wooden carved iconostasis of St. Nicholas Cathedral in Mogilev. Here and today archaeologists find a lot of ornamental irrigation boards related to the XVII-XVIII.

Folk crafts of Belarus

Degtyarenko MV Zhlobin, Gomel region Chest (Kufar) Slutsky Belt 1977

Since the XVIII century, the high quality of Belarusian folk art products, made in wood carving, ceramic, forging and metal casting, cloisonne hot enamel, in glass, is known.
The work of Belarusian masters on the design of public and religious buildings is continuing at that time, characterized primarily by the flowering of the wooden thread, the so-called “flemish”, that is flaming. The refined plastic of this cut-out lush thread became the subject of imitation for masters of other countries.
In the eighteenth century, a large number of weaving factories appeared, among which the Slutsk manufactory received the greatest fame, where we woven amazing colorful belt patterns, which entered the history of decorative and applied art of our country, called “rustic belts”. Collections of these belts are stored in some large museums and constitute their legal pride. In baroque belts, the Baroque tradition is noticeable, which was expressed in lush, intricate compositions of a complex but harmonious color scheme: black, white, red, blue, burgundy, purple, salad, orange, walnut, golden flowers. The belt featured most often plant designs, flowers, leaves. And closer to the nineteenth century, decorations of belt decorations are becoming more graphic, somewhat dry with all the richness of the ornament.
In Slutsk, the manufactory produced towels, tablecloths and other articles. Carpets and superb tapestries were carved in Karelich and Nesvizh, some of them today decorate museum collections in Poland, which were exported from Belarus in those distant times.

Folk crafts of Belarus

Brysyuk R.A. Levchenko Z.S. Molodechno, Minsk region Composition “Tachanka” 1977

There are no well-defined cultural and historical regions in Belarus due to the strong national cultural tradition, a sufficiently developed cultural exchange between the village and the city. However, the differences that have developed between individual regions in the conditions of the Old Russian state: the northeast – Podvynie and Pridneprovye, the southern – Polesye and the northwest – Ponemanie, had a significant influence on the folk art of the Belarusians and in subsequent times, gave a peculiarity to the artistic crafts of individual regions of Belarus. Pomieman – the river basin of the Neman – did not experience any Mongolian or Teutonic invasion. This is the most interesting region, which was formed on the basis of Slavic culture, combining features of the artistic tradition of the West-Russian, Polish and Baltic tribes. South – Polesie is the ancient settlement of the Slavs.
Artistic wood processing. From ancient times to our days there is a continuous developmental thread in the design of a rural dwelling. The old way was to decorate with the help of a simple ax top of the thick boards supporting the roof – the brigade. (Poetically, the name itself – with the staff at home.) Often, their graduation was a generalized sculptural image, most often a spear. The emergence of new joinery tools – saws and especially the jigsaw – contributed to the flowering of the decoration of the facades of houses. In Gomel oblast, for example, the upper deck of the cabinet is transformed into a magnificent crown, and on Pinschyns the way of imposing one carved board on another is made especially magnificent framing of windows. Extremely interesting artistic expressiveness were the pediments, which were decorated with a plaque – Shiltsevka. In the central Polesie, from Lelchits to Pinsk, on all gables beautifully painted large sunshine, made with шелкой. There were also door openings in the Turovshchyna shlevka, and the doors themselves were decorated with large metal napkin hats. Each house had a porch with columns and a roof, which is characteristic mainly for houses in the east of the republic. The window edges of the verandah, especially in the villages of the Nesvizhsky district, sometimes represented a kind of garden, depicting luxurious flowers and leaves. Belarusians achieved great beauty and ingenuity in decoration of dwellings.
Their imagination was filled with rather modest, non-colored interior decoration, although in the interiors of the house the carving was used quite widely. Crocheted hangers, rungs of cabinets, chests of drawers. And they rarely signed. The Belarusians preferred the natural color of the tree. Only sometimes the tree was treated with vegetable oil, which slightly toned and brightened its texture.
Wooden dishes were beautiful, first of all because they had strong, expressive shapes, with plastic, elastic silhouette, underscored rounded lines. The dishes were without painting and without a thread. To decorate such dishes it was sometimes used only to burn a simple geometric, not overloaded with details of the ornament. Vessels are often given forms of birds: buckets were depicted with bird heads, salts – in the form of ducks. All this was a generalized stylized decorative form, beautiful smooth outlines. Belorussian carved spoons for everyday household needs were especially beautiful. Items of household utensils made from a simple tree were ennobled by the so-called float, imitation of expensive wood species.

Folk crafts of Belarus

Puchkov PP Mogilev Spoons 1977

Decorative straw.
Aster brings in the cult architecture of the image of cheerful joyful golden suns. Straw spread pictures on carpets, manufactured toys a lot, hung golden straws of huge “spiders” to the ceiling of the hut. Products of straw in the regions of Minsk and Mogilev were particularly common.
And today many decorative items made of straw are manufactured here – they are caskets, chests of drawers, frames, cookies. The leading masters of this type of artistic creation are V. Gavrilyuk, E. Artemenko, G. Golovatskaya, A. Agafonenko and others. The cheerful cheerful image of the “Playful Horseman” was performed with great artistic expressiveness, extraordinary mastery of the possession of straw properties. The curvature of the split straw transmits a lively horse mane, smooth, assembled in a bundle of straw, with its elastic elasticity corresponds to the horse’s body, the straw-star is radiant eyes, and the golden sockets of twisted straw are solar discs that are vertically placed on the horse’s breast. Probably, this is the same image of the solar horse, which is known to us according to the views of many peoples. How good is the “Deer” G. Golovatskaya with huge and such branched horns that they are like a massive golden tree! The deer has a proudly raised head, slim legs, an elastic plastic body. In the sculpture, the Cavalerist is surprising that power, and the monumentality that became possible in such an almost unweighted fragile material as straw. The enormous power of generalization, the extraordinary feeling of the material, high imagery and decorative character of the works make this kind of Belarusian folk art artistically meaningful. The straw products are mainly made in Brest and Mogilev, and caskets with incrustation with straws are performed in Zhlobin.
Weaving. Weaving was of great importance in the life of the Belarusian peasant. The products of household patterned weaving were consecrated with folk customs. A newborn was taken on a woven towel, dropping the deceased into his last abode on a towel.
No towels did not do the wedding ceremony, they decorated the dwellings.
The Belarusian towel is stiff, strictly restrained from his time by the bequeathed patterns that had a profound meaningful meaning.

Folk crafts of Belarus

Joints E. Ya. Towels (handles) Fragment

Towels were predominantly from unbleached flax with patterns of silvery color. The drawing is simple, geometric. At the ends of the towel – a fringe or lace crocheted. Except these, there were more elegant towels with red woven patterns, alternating with smooth red stripes.
Weavers and tablecloths are abrues and tables. But there were also peculiar linen fabrics – so-called “haze”, or “morgue”, from the drawing of such fabrics really ripple in the eyes.
Many centers of Belarusian folk weaving have survived to this day. This is primarily in Negliubka, Slutsk, Minsk region and in the Brest region, where we also weave fabrics, towels, bedspreads, tablecloths, belts. They are silvery-gray simple interweaving patterns or a combination of grayish surface flax with red patterns.
Suit. For a long time, the Belarusian national costume has been preserved, and all groups of the population still have a commitment to its particular details. In Polesie, the traditional ones were a shirt with a gates lined up on a lace, and a canvas skirt made of cloth with a pendant pattern. Patterns of such skirts were often combinations of different sizes of cells and stripes that formed in the process of weaving itself. The nailboard was also floral. In Podneprovsky shirts were different – with a collar collar and shoulder inserts decorated with dense embroidery of red or red in combination with black. Such an embroidery is decorated with a collar, sleeves, as well as skirts in the suit of apron.
In Slutsk, Nesvizh, Kletsk, Kopyl, women’s shirts of different types are distributed: with Poles, with a collar collar, with wide sleeves in assemblage. At Svyutin’s dress like this, the corrugated skirt with horizontal stripes, as well as embroidered sleeveless shirt, served as an addition.
In the clothes of Ponemagna, in more northerly districts, woolen fabrics predominated in a suit. Wore, as in other areas, sleeveless jackets – garlands and aprons decorated with embroidery.
Ceramics In the west of Belorussia, in the Brest region, it has long been made of black smoked ceramics. It was the oldest method of production: a burning bunch of resinous pine beams was thrown up to four kilograms in weight into the oven, which was then thoroughly plastered to avoid traction. The ceramics thus acquire a well-calcined thin pot with a velvety black surface without shine. Then a linear ornament is applied to this surface with the help of a fence.
Smoked ceramics of Belarusian masters is rare in beauty and expressiveness. The shapes of products, as a rule, are rounded, ductile, without sharp transitions between volumes: the body gently passes into the throat of the vessel, a small pen almost merged with the body. This ceramics looks somewhat archaic, which is typical of all kinds of Potassium ceramics, including terracotta, which is decorated with paintings by angobs – diluted clay of contrasting color.

Folk crafts of Belarus

Fidortseva T.V. Gomel Korkhov VI Gomel Podvasonik. 1977 Fruktovnica. 1977

The clay vessels made today with a modest, nearsighted ornamentation have brought to our time the ancient beautiful national traditions of pottery. There was also such an original method of firing ceramics, as hardening of clay products at high temperature in a bolt of test. With this method, light-terracotta dishes are obtained. All these pitchers, glitches, bowls, Makitres in their appearance have changed little and are now made by masters in Belarus in the traditions of a deep antiquity. This stability is explained by the extraordinary practicality of Belarusian ceramics, the thoughtfulness of each item. It happened that the tradition of these products caused dissatisfaction of those who are unharmed in their desire to modernize everything.
By the end of the nineteenth century, the city, with its tastes and needs, began to actively influence pottery fields of Byelorussia. Items that had never before appeared: butterflies, piggy banks, ashtrays, confetti, wall and tabletop plastics.
The pottery was accompanied by the production of clay toys, which is known in Belarus since the X century. The toy was not painted, but only glazed, as well as dishes. What kind of dishes was, such was in the fishery and a toy. Where did blackened ceramics, there was also a similar toy. The Belarusian folk clay toy deserves a separate book, so interesting and diverse in terms of images. She often carries the imprint of the personality created by her masters. The toy is beautiful because of the purity of the plastic reception, which creates an oase: pressed with two fingers – that’s the muzzle of the beast, the snap cut through the wings – the mouth opened, the stick made two points and looked at the viewer’s wicked eyes. Sometimes not individual toys were created, but whole compositions, and especially the regiment of soldiers headed by officers was especially interesting.
The art of artistic processing of metals in the Belarusian folk rural artistic culture takes a modest place, although in the professional art of the Belarusians we know superb, non-inferior to the best works of his time, silver molding, wrappings, salaries for books and icons, utensils and jewelry. But in the everyday life of a rural resident there were no precious metals. The necessary items for labor rural blacksmiths were made of a simple metal. And decorative works, which are usually taken from metals, were inventively made, it would seem, from the material that was not suitable for these purposes: salaries for icons and picture frame in Belarus were made of colored porcelain beads and featured an unusual beauty of the drawing and color. Many items were also made from straw. The iron was used only to shield the chests – the cuffs. In the form they resemble the Ukrainian and Moldavian ones, but in contrast to those in the Belarusian paintings did not get accustomed. The colorful paintings on the villagers were contemptuously dubbed “brooms”, and she never received distribution. Byelorussian masters traditionally decorated Kufra with modest geometric ornaments with the help of a stamp, “tsatskovanie”, scatters applying color. Only in Polesie, by the end of the nineteenth century, flower arrangements appeared on the chests. A wicker straw box, a wood-dowelled bucket of wood, linen cloth – from the very materials of these, it brings warmth and comfort to the home.
This wonderful world of good folk art, which is welcomed to a person, developing traditions and rural poetry, and a high artistic urban culture, is part of contemporary Belarusian decorative arts and crafts. And without this folk culture today, the fruitful development of socialist culture, professional art is unthinkable if it does not want to lose contact with the native soil and mutual understanding with man. The modern professional decorative and applied art of Belarus goes back to the depths of the folk culture of the past, the values ​​of which have the all-Union significance. Today, many folk craftsmen become members of the professional Union of Artists of the USSR, receive high recognition.

Folk crafts of Belarus