The Ethnography Department of Bacău- The Sketch of a World Long Gone

Secția de etnografie40 (2)How many of us have not painted into their souls the stories that their grandparents used so tell at the fireside about the old life, about the customs and habits of ancient times? The memories were not buried along with our grandparents, but crept for a long time in our memory. These stories still inhabit our memories, and they revive every time we invoke them.

As a child, I was trying to portray in my mind people dressed in sprouts flax or hemp, who ransacked using the harrow the fertile soil in early spring or the women who, while snowdrifts covered the house, gathered for handicraft evening sittings and began to weave memories with the loom.

Man has created a conducive environment to ease his livelihood and to let a beginning of development to his followers, the current technology having its origins in objects designed by the predecessors. Similar to the supreme act of creation, man has focused his existence on creating (of course, at a lower scale compared to the divinity) a micro universe for his and his family welfare.

In “IulianAntonescu” Complex Museum headquarters,can be found the ethnographic permanent collection that includes components of folk costumes, objects of the main and secondary occupations of yesteryear, objects of places of worship, photographs that reveal the life of a particular community, pieces of furniture that embellished the houses made of straw and clay, but also objects used to practice Christmas traditions.

In order to refresh the images created by the memories of your grandparents or in order to discover the important aspects of the ancestors’life concealed in time, the department of Ethnography offers, to those who are interested, a permanent exhibition through which interesting stories are woven in every corner of the room.

It starts from the stage when children were going to school and they were taught the secrets of writing, “reding and numeracy”. On wooden tablets (because the sheets of paper were too expensive) and with the ink pot hanged around the neck in order to not be lost, our grandparents began to acquire the elementary notions in order to use them later. Also, there were outlined celestial elements as they were interpreted by the ancestors. The Heaven represented both the halidom of God, to where praises were raised, and a means of orientation to get to a certain place, but also a means of finding out the exact hour.

Numerous clay pots were collected from different regions to illustrate the modelling clay occupations.There are exhibited pots used to preserve the food (such as “pătrunjarul” – a pot used to preserve the parsley) or pots used for preparing the food.

Lately, fashion trends are heading to the old days, the places where you can find embroidered peasant shirts with ancestral elements being numerous. These imitations pale before the popular clothes sewn with the specific elements of a community and with shades of natural colors made from plants, that delight the eye of the beholder, even after centuries on end.

A team of volunteers arrived in the places where tradition is still preserved and gathered recipes for colors manufacturing used for weaving. Thus, it was created a “rețetar” (a book that contains a collection of recipes) containing the secrets of obtaining colors from tinctorial plants used for dyeing the wool, the silk floss or the hemp.

This harrow has an interesting story, it was mainly used for comminuting and smoothing the plowed ground and for coating the seeds. A secondary usage was to punish the newly married women. If on the wedding night the newly wives were not pure, the next day they were tied on the harrow and carried on the streets of the villages in order to be seen as a bad example for the community.

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Each component of the old village life creates an illustrative story, the
atmosphere of yesteryear taking shape through the words so skillfully chosen by Mr. Iulian Bucur, the chief of the Ethnography department. The story recountedusing the present tense, with so much love and affection towards the wealth of the ancestors includes you for a few minutes into a world that now is so unknown to each of us.

Within the walls of “Iulian Antonescu” Complex Museum, the rural world is revived with its traditions and its specificity, a representation that is waiting to be discovered by the descendants of those who lived before us.

Mihaela – Ștefania Puțeanu

(translated by Eulalia Jitaru)

 

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© 2017 Agata Asofroniei