April 26, 2012

0185 UKRAINE - Let's go to the jarmarok

Until late in the modern era, the fairs were the most important means of trade, especially in rural areas, but also an occasion for entertainment. Romanian word iarmaroc - meaning "big market organized occasionally, at fixed dates" - comes from Ukrainian jarmarok (the pronunciation in both languages is almost identical), which in turn comes from the German jahrmarkt, composed of jahr (year in English; år in Scandinavian languages; jaar in Dutch, etc.) şi markt (market in English; marché in French; markt in Dutch, mercato in Italian, etc.).

Well, if Romanians and Ukrainians still use the word, the Germanic languages speakers, from whom they borrowed it, replaced it meanwhile with the variants of fair, derived from the Old French feire, derived in its turn from the Latin feria (festival, holy day; day of rest; weekday). Anyway, whether we call it iarmarok, jarmarok, or fair (fayre), it’s the same thing, as I say: an opportunity for trade and entertainment. So let's go to the jarmarok.

At Jarmarok is sell and buy any goods, from food and drinks to toys, from domestic animals to tools, from clothing to kitchen items, virtually everything you need in a household. Of course that can't fit all in a postcard, so the designer was limited to two of them, ceramics and jewelry, to which he added an old peasant dressed in traditional rubashka, and the hands of a potter craftsman at work. Any people who had access to deposits of clays, has made his own pottery. On the present territory of Ukraine are located large deposits of various clays, particularly kaolin (china clay), so that the locals had made the pottery since Neolithic.

In the Bronze Age, the development of Ukrainian ceramics was strongly influenced by the ceramics of the Hellenic Colonies on the Black Sea coast. The forms of these ceramic dishes and pots bring to mind the anthropomorphism of Grecian vases, yet they display a specific originality. Their stylistic peculiarities were based on the local characteristics and traditions of folk art. The Slavs, who came later, brought of course their own contribution, and since the 18th century have developed true centers and schools of pottery, each with its features.
About the stamp
The stamp is part of a large series of definitives (about which I wrote here), and shows Traditional Ukrainian Pottery Kumanets (2.00 UAH).

Sender: Ekaterina / Ekaterinazt (postcrossing) UA-250659
Sent from Zhytomyr (Ukraine), on 04.04.2012
Photo: Marina Tihonovskaya

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