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

Woodwork

Woodwork

The tradition of carving on Hutsul lands is the integral part of folk art. Generosity of Carpathian charming nature, its grand-forests have always been providing Hutsuls with timber that stipulated the development of building, joinery, turning and artistic carving. Local craftsmen have followed the main criteria, that is feasibility and beauty in folk architecture, furniture, farm implements, weapons, musical instruments and things of everyday life. The collection of the National Museum of Hutsul and Pokuttya Folk Art named after Y.Kobrynskyy counters about 4 thousand exhibits of artistic wooden items.

The folk artists reached the pinnacle of their creativity in architecture. They built gorgeous churches and bell-towers, haty-grazhdy (Hutsul houses surrounded by a high wooden fence), kolybas (small wooden restaurants), mills, chapels, wells and cemetery crosses. All at once, a dwelling was erected and such housing interior items as benches, beds, tables, cradles, zherdka (carved wooden clothes hanger), cupboards, multifunctional trunks were made. Wooden chests were considered to be an essential attribute of bride's dowry. They were lavishly decorated with solar and thunderous signs combined with Christian symbols. One of the most interesting museum pieces is a svolok (beam) of 1836 with the words "Danylo Yekolyuk", found in the village of Biloberizka, Verkhovyna district.

In the distant past, all important household items in the life of Hutsuls were decorated by deep contour carving depicting such simple motifs as circles, curves, rhombs, roses and crosses. Carvers used plain-geometric, nail-like, threefaced-hollow and relief carving for the decoration of their products . Life and creativity of Yuriy Shkriblyak, the brilliant artist from the village of Yavoriv, Kosiv district is considered to be an important stage of carving development of the XIX century. The absolute sense of harmony of shapes, proportions and distinct, significant, concise rhythm of decor, provide generalized classical Hutsul imagery for his products. Yuriy Shkriblyak's sons Vasyl, Mykola, Fedir, his grandchildren Yuriy and Semen, as well as many of Shkriblyaks and Korpanyuks descendants followed his carving tradition and contributed a lot.In the second half of XIXc. carving became a fully fledged folk craft. Not only traditional consumer items were decorated with carving and firing but also a variety of souvenirs. All at once, the shape of manufactured things and decorative finishing were updating and sophisticating.

In the 80s of theХІХ c. the inlay of wood, pearl, beads and metal significantly contributed to the decorative abilities of material. Worldwide and regional ethnographic exhibitions, which assisted in the creation of professional and industrial schools in the province took a great part in the promotion and development of handicrafts. For example, such schools as the School of Wood Craft in Kolomyya (1894-1914), Regional School of Turning, Joinery, Carving and Metal Ornamentation (1905-1918) in Vyzhnytsya, the School of Carving of well known master Vasyl Devdyuk in Kosiv in 1923 were established. Although over the years new trends and approaches emerged, mostly at all carving centers (the villages of Yavoriv, Richka, Kosmach, Brustury) masters retained initial original peculiarities. In the past bodnarstvo (fireing) was one of the common kinds of carving. The products of this kind of craft were decorated mostly with stylized floral ornament applying the technique of fireing. It was most typical to the village of Richka, Kosiv district, where konovky (buckets), diynychky (milk churns), tsebryky (containers for holding liquids), maslobiyky (butter churns), povnytsi (containers), salt-cellars, harchyky and lozhkari (shelf for storing spoons) were made. The vivid representative of this kind of art was Hrymalyuk's family.

Nowadays not only craftsmen, but also professional artists continue and develop artistic carving traditions. They have created new works of art, which took an important place in modern life and social environment and imparted them with national and spiritual meaning.

Kateryna Karkadym,
artistic wood department Head

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