Łowicz – birds from paradise

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Example of 18th century embroidery from the Museum of Łowicz.

Poland is a place, where a variety of traditional costumes that represent each region is easily found. My region, Mazowsze, is know for its colorful (and heavy!) wear. Embroidery is very important as each region has its own means or representation through different styles of floral patterns. Basically, if you’re Polish and you see a certain flower pattern you will most likely know where it’s from.

Museum of Łowicz, located in 5 Stary Rynek in Łowicz, located around 85 km west of Warsaw, is a place worth seeing if you’re equipped with a car. If you are lucky enough and come in April or May you’ll not only see an interesting exhibit but also wonderful landscapes with blooming trees and fields of green.

Here is a treat for you, some of the photos I took on my last visit to the Museum! The items come from an ethnographic exhibit of Aniela Chmielińska opened in 1910. Mrs. Chmielińska was a social activist and an explorer or vernacular tradition of a ethnic group called Księżacy Łowiccy.

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Folk art paper bouquets and flower vases. Paper flowers were common in folk interior design of Księżacy Łowiccy.

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Folk art paper-cutting. The phrase translates to “If to suffer, then to suffer in perseverance. If to love, then to love everlastingly”. Depending on the size, paper-cutting preparation time would sometimes take up to 40 hours or more.

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Examples of female elegant couture. The dress on the right with a white bonnet is an example of bridal wear. Łowicz traditional dresses have a total weight of 15 kilograms (!), an equivalent of 33 pounds (I know for a fact, I wore one).

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Everyday wear including linen shirts (bielunka), velvet bra extended with a skirt decorated with floral embroidery (kiecka), woolen apron finished with velvet flowers (zapaska), bead necklaces made of wood or amber (korale) and leather bootees finished with wool laces (trzewiki). Additionally, women would wear a shawl (notice previously mentioned floral patterns) called chusta and jedwabnica – a headpiece made from a shawl secured with a paper flower wreath.

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Headpieces. Florals for the maid and bonnets for the married young women.

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Males would wear a white shirt (bielunka), woolen vest (lejbik), woolen belt (pas), trousers made of striped wool (spodnie) and leather shoes (buty). In addition they would wear a hat finished with flowers and sequins (kapelusz).

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Causal Łowicz outfits.

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Examples of abundantly decorated dowry chests, which a bride-to-be would receive on the day of her wedding.

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Hand-broided cotton shawls.

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Dowry chests would usually consist of rolls of colorful, richly decorated fabric. As fabric was engrained and woven by hand it used to be an expensive gift indicating the wealth of the bride’s family.

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Depending on the social status within the community the designs would differ.

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Traditional interior of Księżacy Łowiccy. Notice the paper-straw decoration hanging from the ceiling. Till this day Łowicz has a competition for the best paper pająk (spider).

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Well-preserved original Łowicz cottage.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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