February 14, 2015

1460 UKRAINE - Old Hutsul woman

Hutsuls are an ethno-cultural group, or rather an ethnic subgroup, who for centuries have inhabited the Carpathian mountains, mainly in Ukraine (Trans-Carpathia and Pokuttya) and in the northern extremity of Romania (in the areas of Bukovina and Maramureş). Hutsuls regard themselves as being part of the broader Rusyn ethnic minority and/or as Ukrainian highlanders. Rusyns are, in their turn, the descendants of a minority of Ruthenians who didn't adopt the use of the ethnonym Ukrainian in the early 20th century.

Actually the names Ruthenian and Ruthene were historically applied to peoples speaking the eastern Slavic languages in the medieval kingdom of Kievan Rus', in the Grand Duchy of Lithuania and in Poland after Union of Lublin in 1569, living practically in the region named Galicia. Also the origin of the Hutsuls is unclear. According to one theory, they are descendants of the White Croats, a Slavic tribe that inhabited the area between 4th and 12th centuries, or of the Slavic tribe of the Ulichs, who migrated under the pressure of the Pechenegs.

Other say that they are an ancient local population (Celts, Dacians, Scythians or Goths), slavicized later. Sure remains the fact that the Hutsuls were people of the mountains with a semi-nomadic life, bound by the tradition of the livestock and by forests, unpredictable and cautious, once thieves and rustlers, leaning toward drunkenness, but before of all, free people. As say Ion Drăguşanul in the book The Hutsuls of the Moldavia Valley, "this exaggerated interest of historians and politicians don't worth anything in the eyes of the Hutsuls, who believe that their nation was born together with the mountains, and only the mountains, not the nations of the world, are entitled to claim them..."

Hutsuls seem to relate with other slavofone populations living in Carpathians, altough their clothes are visibly distinct from that of neighboring populations, the music has some common elements with the Hungarians, while some traditions have similarities with the ones of other Carpathian populations, such as Romanians from Maramureş. Hutsul everyday clothes (zavsidnyi) differed from the feast clothes (pryludnoho).

Women used long to half of the leg similar to the men shirts, with embroidered sleeves and collar. The cuts on the chest were also embroidered. On the shirt Hutsul woman wore two aprons, and a handling woolen belt (popruzhka) or a leather one (bukuriya). There were woolen stripped aprons with woven patterns. Sometimes, the hair was very advanced (uplit) with tresses, ribbons and woolen lashes. Married women wore cloth caps and bandannas with knobs. They used traditionally long strip of cloth ornamented on both ends called peremitka. It wrapped hear, a neck and a chin.

Both men and women used a white embroidered and decorated sheepskin vests called keptar. Hutsul were very creative in jewelry products. Both men and women wore rings and crosses and attractive buckles made of brass. Women wore diverse earrings, necklaces and corral chokers called gerdan. They wore also several heavy necklaces with brass crosses or coins needled on the brass thread called zgarda. Hutsul women wore corals and beads from Venetian glass thread on thin leather rope.

About the stamps
The stamps, depicting English Oak / Quercus robur (2,00 UAH) and European White Elm / Ulmus laevis (8,00 UAH), are part of a series about leaf and fruits, about which I wrote here.

Hutsuls - Wikipedia
Limba Huţulă - Huţulschiĭ Izec (rom) - website
Ultimii urmaşi ai dacilor liberi (rom) - Ziarul Lumina website
Hutsul (Romanian: Huţul) of northern Moldavia - The Eliznik Romania pages
Hutsul national dress - Green Ukraine website

Sender: Iva Suchilova (direct swap)
Sent from Mizikevicha  (Odessa Oblast / Ukraine) on 13.01.2015
Photo: Nikolai Svykovsky / 1931

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