National Museum of Hutsulshchyna and Pokuttya Folk Art named after Yosaphat Kobrynskyy

Metal and Leather

metal-and-leatherMetal and Leather

A vivid evidence of ancient traditions preservation in Hutsul artistic metal working is a museum's collection of exhibits of the XVIII-XXcc. It counters about 700 works.

Folk masters created a variety of metal products, including household items, decorations for clothes, parts of horse armor and weapons. They produced their works at home using copper, brass ("mosyazh"), bronze, nickel silver, bakunt, aluminum and silver. Casting, cold and hot forging were traditional techniques of metal treatment. Engraving , minting and binding were used for decorations. The ornament of Hutsul pieces was geometric with stylized floral and animal motifs ("deer horns", "hare's ears", "corvine clutches", "cancers"). Decisive in ornamental compositions had always been solar symbols "ruzhi" (roses) and "sonechka" (suns). Hutsuls endowed them with magical properties. Kosiv and Verkhovyna in Ivano-Frankivsk region, Vyzhnytsya and Putyla in Chernivtsi region were the main centers of artistic metal working.

The most numerous in the museum's collection is a collection of neck and breast jewelry of XVIII - the beginning of XX century. Among them are zgardas, bubontsi-rustles, cheprahs(fasteners), chains. Necklace made from coins considered to be purely feminine accessory. Cheprahy were used as fasteners for the jewelry. Solar symbols were most frequently used on them. It was topical to the ornaments of rings either. Female and male staffs, kelefy and hatchets were traditional attributes of Hutsuls' outfit . Hutsul armourers were both talented blacksmiths and mosyazhnyks(those producing things made of brass). They could not only forge and work up metal parts of flintlock pistols and rifles but also decorated them. Weapons were completed with bowl-like and horn-like inlayed powder-flasks. Straps for them were tightly covered with percussion caps having a protective function.

Among householdThings of everyday use, such as knives, luskorihy shaped as rooster's heads and steels shaped as dogs, snakes and birds, hexahedral pincushions, fragments of horse harness (stirrups, rings with surcingle) were prevailing among household items.

Hutsul pipes are full of artistic originality and sophisticated finishing. In the museum's collection there are works of famous masters mosyazhnyks of the end of ХІХ –beg. of ХХ cc. They are Ivan Druchkiv, Dmytro Dutchak, Mykola Medvidchuk, Nykyfor Rebenchuk and Ivan Fedyuk.

Distinctive and gifted craftsman-mosyazhnyk of the second half of XX century was Petro Harinchuk. About 100 of his works are collected in the museum. Among them are luskorihy, steel, rings, cradles, women's and men's staffs, chiltsya (wedding headdress), quaking grass (the archaic types of wedding jewelry).

The creativity of Roman Strynadyuk, Honored Master of Folk Art of Ukraine, is of high artistic value. His pistols, rifles, hatchets, hunting belts and bags, as well as jewelry are presented in many museums and private collections. The artistic leather working is closely connected with artistic metal treatment on Hutsul lands. The most famous leather production centers were Kuty, Kosiv and Kolomyya. Kuty was famous for the production of saffian(morokko).Leather collection is represented by male and female belts, shoes,bag-tobivkas,sabretache and leather wallets. Wide belt-purse (cheres) with three, four or five buckles, decorated with embossing and color leather wicker( XIX-XX cc..) Belts of later period, so called "bukuriyky" were decorated with bakuntovi buttons, baize and finely engraved buckles. Keptari were made of leather. They were decorated by morocco and cloth apliques, fur, embroidery, beads,wool twisted cords and metal caps. Traditional Hutsul and Pokuttya footwear of late XIX - mid XX cc.. is presented in the museum's collection (postoly (Bast shoes), boots and shoes). Among famous masters of artistic leather and metal working of the end of XIX-mid.XX cc.. were Ivan Kishchuk, Fedir Yakibyuk, Mykola Myklashchuk and Ivan Gryhorchuk.

Modern folk craftsmen and professional artists produce original leather pieces keeping the traditional methods of decoration. They create new forms of various products taking into consideration the requirements of the time and improving their technical and artistic quality.

Lesya Pyskor,
scientific secretary

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