August 16, 2014

1186 ROMANIA (Maramureş) - The craftsman in wood Cuza Perţa

Maramureş, the region which covers the Maramureş Depression and the surrounding Carpathian mountains, along the upper Tisa River, now divided between Romania and Ukraine, with autonomous traditions since the Middle Ages, is one of the places where traditional log building wasn't interrupted and where a rich heritage in wood survives. Its well-preserved wooden villages and churches (eight of them were designated an UNESCO World Heritage site - Wooden churches of Maramureş), its traditional lifestyle, and the local colourful dresses still in use make Maramureş as near to a living museum as can be found in Europe. Therefore, in Maramureş wooden carving was and is on a place of honor among traditional crafts. Alexandru Perţa-Cuza is the long-lasting wood craftsman in Târgu Lăpuş (do this for six decades), known among Romanians in communities around the border for his triptychs.

"The first [triptych] I put it in front of the Metropolitan Cathedral in Timisoara, immediately after the [1989] Revolution. I was advised by some priests close to me to keep doing triptychs and since then I have not stopped. I counted around 2,500 triptychs worked by me over the last 20 years. Most of them were placed in Bucharest. Some others have reached to Galaţi or Alba Iulia, and some over the borders of the country: in Hungary, Ukraine, Yugoslavia and Bessarabia. I erected them in the spirit of patriotism," says the artist. Besides triptychs, the craftsman carves wooden gates and adorns with traditional décor items smaller household objects. He works also popular masks (called "courtyard's guards"), hideous faces clung in the past  by peasants on the fences and gates, to scare away evil spirits.

"ROST - Esenţe, gusturi şi stări româneşti" (ROST - Romanian essences, tastes and moods) is a photo album made ​​by Răzvan Voiculescu, an extensive collection (300 pages) of hypostases of the avail (ROST means in Romanian purpose, meaning, meaningful, but also purpose, justification, motivation): crafts, customs, moments, life stories. The author considers this album as the closing part and most extensive of the series dedicated to the traditional village, series of which are part also the albums "România - Ţinuta umilă a splendorii" (Romania - humble posture of splendor) and "Ţara Lăpuşului - Destine încrustate" (Lăpuş Country - encrusted destinies). The album began from the idea of a world under twilight - in villages and small towns of Romania, many of the old crafts are lost slowly. We hear more often about "the last blacksmith", "the last farrier", "the last popular bard". These people, who know their craft and keep it alive - in tune with ancient avail, often tangential with the magic - don't have anyone to follow them. It is possible that the idea of ​​"rost" to not exist anymore tomorrow.

About the stamp
The stamp, depicting Marin Moraru, is part of the series Golden Stars of Stage and Screen, issued on March 1st 2014, and dedicated to some of the most beloved actors of Romania, about which I wrote here.

Poartă numele lui Cuza şi s-a jurat să nu-şi taie părul până nu se unesc iar românii într-o singură ţară - "Jurnalul" online
Alexandru Perţa Cuza împodobeşte oraşele cu troiţe - "Adevărul" online
Lansarea albumului ROST - Esenţe, gusturi şi stări româneşti - "Dilema Veche" online

Sender: Dănuţ Ivănescu
Sent from Eforie Sud (Constanţa / Romania), on 08.08.2014
Photo: Răzvan Voiculescu
The postcard is part of the series ROST - esenţe, gusturi şi stări româneşti (ROST - Romanian essences, tastes and moods)

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