January 13, 2018

3245 ROMANIA (Gorj) - Traditional clothes in Gorj

Oltenia is a historical province and geographical region in southwestern Romania, bounded to the east by the Olt River, south and west of the Danube, and to the north by the Southern Carpathians. It is also an ethnographic area with a highly expressive artistic individuality, with a wide variety of costumes. The ethnographic sub-zones, crystallized over time in this region, generally correspond to the old administrative units: Mehedinţi, Gorj, Vâlcea, Romanaţi and Dolj.

Located at the foothills of Vâlcan and Parâng Mountains, Gorj was a lively place of interactions between Transylvanian folk descending during transhumance as well as people from all over during the annual fairs held in capital city Târgu Jiu, bringing in foreign traders who introduced cotton, tinsel and other new fabrics. Moreover, the inhabitants of Gorj were constantly on the move in the search for work, and would travel either southwards towards the Danube, or northwards towards momârlanii (rom) from Ţara Haţegului - all these contacts leading to the adoption of external elements.

The original folk outfit ensemble specific to Gorj included the Carpathian-gathered type blouse, ia, with a thick altiţă, a white or yellow încreţ and râuri embroidered across the sleeve. The bell sleeve is predominant. The covering of the poale, the underskirt, would consist in either brightly-coloured paired catrinţe (aprons) - the front one being referred to as fâstâc (narrow with vertical woven stripes) and the rear one, catrinţoi (wider, with horizontal woven stripes) - or the vâlnic, the wrap around pleated skirt.

Alongside geometrical motives such as the rombul, the diamond, one finds cârlingul ciobanului (shephard's hook), coarnele berbecului (the ram's horns) and spicul grâului (wheat ear). Towards the end of the 19th century two main tendencies appear - a particular type of fashion worn by the wealthy peasants and the intellectual elite: portul schilăresc - this was referred to as the "baroque" period of Gorj folkwear. Its main addition was that of introducing industrial thick white woolen fabric, embroidered with black tufted chenille.

Moreover, portul ungurenesc came in strong with its sober esthetics - white blouses with minimal black embroidery and black or dark violet aprons (catrinţe or șurte) and was adopted by women mainly after the wars, when many would have lost their husbands, and the brightly coloured Gorj-specific folk clothing seemed inadequate. The specific blouse is ia de Sălişte, with umeraş instead of altiţă and fine ciocănele flowing down the sleeve, displaying little stylized decorations (padoghială). In addition, the collar is commonly sown with black and yellow and the main decorative motifs are the star, the bell and the rose.

Cârpa lungă or peschir is a head scarf, around 2 meter long, at first made out of hemp and linen, then of the cotton. Towards the end of the 19th century raw silk, borangic was introduced - thus, 4 meter long shawls marame became a mainstay of the outfit. To highlight the fine white embroidery it is said that the marame were dyed yellow with the help of onions or quince leaves. Men's costumes are simpler than female ones, and they don't register large differences from an area to other. They consist of a white shirt embroidered on the chest with white silk, cioareci (tight pants), chimir (wide leather belt, with pockets and three straps), fur cap in winter and hat in summer, opinci (opanak).

About the stamp
The stamp is part of the series Love Nature! Ceahlău National Park, about which I wrote here.

Ethnographic Zones - Folkwear Society

Sender: Eugen Mihai (direct swap)
Sent from Bucureşti (Bucureşti / Romania), on 03.01.2018
Photo: Eugen Mihai

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