Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Costume and Embroidery of Zakarpattia, Ukraine, part 1, the West

Hello all,

Today I will talk about the costume and embroidery of Zakarpattia. This area is also called Transcarpathia or Subcarpathia. The region's inhabitants are about 80% Rusyn / Ukrainian, 
12 % Hungarian, 3 % Romanian, plus Romany, Germans, and others in small numbers. This area has been mostly Slavic for many hundreds of years, but was part of the Hungarian Empire until WWI. Under Hungary, this area formed part or all of the counties of Ung [blue], Bereg [gray], Ugocsa [brown], and Northern Marmoros [yellow].

Between the two world wars, this area was made part of that artificial Chimeric entity, Czechoslovakia, under the name of Podkarpatsk√° Rus . After WWII, It was annexed by the Soviet Union, and subsequently became part of Independent Ukraine. It was also briefly independent twice before, once on its own, and once as part of western Ukraine. 

Going through the oldest and most reliable resources that I have access to , I have divided this region into 10 costume zones. These do not match up very well with the current administrative zones, as is generally the case. Unfortunately, you will often see images where pieces from different regions are worn together, because the curator did not pay attention to the fact that Transcarpathia has different costume zones. 
I had to draw a map myself. The lines that I drew are very approximate, but here they are. I recommend looking up the different locations on Google maps to follow the regions.

 Magyar zone

There is a strip of territory between the Hungarian border and roughly the cities of Uzhhorod and Mukachevo in which the majority of the inhabitants are Hungarian.

 Their costumes are easily recognizable as typically Hungarian.

Western zone. 

This consists of the area between Uzhhorod and Mukachevo, from the Hungarian zone up to the first range of mountains. I have found little from this zone. If anyone has more information, please let me know.

Here is a screenshot from the fashion show video to which I give a link at the end of the article.

These images are from a video made in the 1920's. It shows a gathering in the village of  Nevyts'ke and Kamianytsia near Perechyn, north of Uzhhorod. You can see strong Hungarian/Slovak influence in these costumes.

The following are old photographs from around Kamianytsia.

These shaggy overcoats, called Hunia, are worn over most of Zakarpattia.


Poroshkova zone

This consists of the Turiya river valley, between the ridge of mountains which border the plains, and the next ridge north. The Turiya river flows into the Uzh at Perechyn, and this zone follows  it east, and extends as far as the village of Solochyn. 
The embroidery is not similar to that of the neighboring valleys, but does resemble Rusyn embroidery from further west in Slovakia.

Woman's shirt, village of Poroshkovo

Here is a married woman's cap, chepets, from Poroshkovo, decorated with ribbons.

Embroidery from the front of a man's shirt, village of Poroshkovo.

Reconstruction of the man's shirt.

Embroidery on the front of a woman's shirt from Tur'ya Polyana.

Shirt embroideries from somewhere in this valley.

 The following embroideries are from the village of Zarichovo, on the Uzh river  just upstream of the confluence with the Turiya.

Shoulder inset of a woman's shirt.

Collar of woman's shirt.

This woman, I believe, must be from this valley, even though the photo is attributed to 'Irshava area'. Compare her shirt construction and embroidery to the other images.

 Here are a few images of the costume of this area from Amalie Kozminova's 'Podkarpatska Rus'. The quality of the photographs is poor, but one can see some details. 

In this first image, we see the chemise worn by itself. This photo was taken at an embroidery exhibit.

Here we can see the entire costume as worn. Chemise, boots, skirt, apron, chepets and shoulder shawl.

 Children in front of a house.

Rushnyky from this zone, from the village of Kamianytsia. They seem to be shown in the scene above as well.

Velykyi Bereznyi zone

This consists of the northwest corner of Transcarpathia, north of a line from the town of Velykyj Bereznyj directly to the east. This includes the valleys of the Liuta river and the upper Uzh. The people in this area consider themselves to be Lemko.
The costume as worn today consists of a shirt which is smock-gathered on the front, with the opening on one side. The sleeves are smock-gathered at the cuffs, and the linen skirts are also smock-gathered into the waistband and embroidered. Aprons are of bought cloth with stitching and ribbons. I have already written an article on this costume. The costumes of this and the next zone are closely related, and some older pieces are hard to assign to one or the other.

This chemise is from the village of Uzhok, it is, however, being worn with an apron from the Khust zone.

This is from the village of Vyshka.

The exact village of origin is not given for this costume.

A cap with patterned ribbon around the edge was worn in this zone, likely with a kerchief over it. In some villages the top was peaked by gathering in the back. These caps are all from this zone except the center one on the left [Poroshkovo] and the one on the upper right [Volovets']. A. Verkhovyna Bystra, C. Lubnya, D-E. Uzhok.


Here are a couple of images from the fashon show to which I have given a link at the end of the article.

 Here are some images of this costume from another fashion show which I found online. They also show some of the vests and jackets worn in this area.


It appears that in the late 19th / early 20th century, geometric embroidery in red and blue was used in this area. This predated the shift to floral embroidery.
Here are sleeve embroideries from Lubnya,  Kichernyi and Verkhovyna Bystra.

More embroideries from Stuzhytsia, Lubnya, and Verkhovyna Bystra.

Embroidery from Verkhovyna Bystra, Stuzhytsia, and Liuta.

Here is an old woman's chemise from Lubnya. The front is already smock-gathered, and there is embroidery done over the folds.

Here is an old man's shirt from Lubnya.

This is labeled as embroidery in black from a woman's shirt from Lubnya, but I think it must be another man's shirt.

Some old photographs from this zone.

Children in everyday clothing from Tykhyi.

 An embroidery class in Uzhok.

A group of villagers from Lyuta.

The exact origin of this chemise is not given, but I think it may be from this zone if not, then it must be from the Volovets' zone


 I believe this woman is also from this area, or possibly from Volovets'.

Volovets' zone

This consists of the upper reaches of the Latorica, Vecha and Rika river valleys and their tributaries which parallel the northern border of Transcarpathia, from about Roztoka west to  Mizhhiria. The people in this area are Boiko.

As in the previous zone, the sleeves are cut in one piece without a shoulder inset. The front is smock-gathered, and the opening is on the side.  The gathering on the front does not extend much past the embroidery. The embroidery in this zone has remained geometric.

 This schematic is of a shirt from the village of Nyzhni Vorota.

Embroidery is done over the gathering on the front. Here are some old examples with simpler needlework on the front.

The ends of the sleeves are also gathered into cuffs, sometimes with ruffled ends.

Some more embroidery from this zone. These are from the village of Huklyvyi.

This is from the village of Nyzhni Vorota.  


 Here the first and third are from Volovets', the second is from Huklyvyi, and the fourth is from Abranka.

This one is from Volovets'

 These are from the village of Kichernyi.

 These are from the villages of Podobovets', Lozyanskyi, and Huklyvyi.

 These are from the village of Verkhnya Hrabiwnytsia.

The pair of costumes hanging on the wall on the left are from this region. The man's is from the eastern part, near Mizhhiria.

 Today they embroider with more colors, and one can see influences from neighboring regions.

 This one shows Hutsul influence in the embroidery.

Here is one  shirt from the eastern part of this zone in the upper Rika river valley, Mizhhiria distirict, showing the side front opening of the Volovets' area, but the diamond shaped embroidery typical of the upper Tereblia river area. Some would call this another costume zone.

Beaded necklaces are worn in this area, as in many parts of Ukraine.

If you take another look at the ladies on the staircase above, you will see that they are wearing skirts of patterned cloth paired with solid color aprons, both the same length and trimmed with ribbon. 
I have here a couple of examples of embroidered linen skirts, such as the Boiki north of the mountains also wear. Both are from the upper Rika river valley in the Mizhhiria area. Here is the work on the hem of an old skirt from Pryslip.

And another skirt from Pylypets'.

Some images of skirts from around Mizhhiria.

Here is a chepets from Volovets'. This is again very much like those worn by the northern Boiki.

Here is a woman's kyptar from this region, followed by a man's kamizolia, both from Nyzhni Vorota.

These people belong to the local cultural society of the Volovets' region. Here is a rare shot of a woman from the back.

Here are a couple of images from a staged wedding.


 Here you can see the women wearing vests similar to others found in Transcarpathia.

And just a few more images from this same group doing various exhibitions.


A couple of images of this costume from the fashion show below.


A couple of images of he Mizhhiria variant of this costume, also from the fashion show.

A video from Zakarpattia made in the 1930's, narrated in Czech. 

A fashion show showing folk costumes of Zakarpattia.

I find that I have too much material, and need to break this article into three parts, so I will stop here  for nowl
I hope that you have found this to be interesting and informative.

Roman K.


Source Material:
S. Makovski, 'L'Art Populaire en Russie Subcarpathique', Prague, 1926
Roman Pylyp, 'Khudozhnia Vyshywka Ukrajintsiw Zakarpattia', Uzhhorod, 2012
Sofia Hubash, 'Volovechchyna Moja', Uzhhorod, 2011
Myroslava Kot, 'Ukrajins'ka Vyshyta Sorochka', Drohobych, 2007
R. V. Zakharchuk-Chuhaj' 'Ukrajins'ka Narodna Vyshywka Zakhidni Oblasti URSR', Kyjiv, 1988
Iryna Hurhula, 'Narodne Mystetsvo Zakhidnykh Oblastej Ukrajiny', Kyjiv, 1966
K I Matejko, 'Ukrajins'kyj Narodnyj Odjah', Kyjiv, 1977
Tetiana Kara-Vasylieva, 'Ukrajins'ka Vyshywka',  Kyjiv, 1993
O. I. Kubajevych et al, 'Derzhawnyj Muzej Etnohrafiji ta Khudozhn'oho Promyslu AN URSR', Kyjiv, 1976
Robert Papik'ian, "Zacharovanyj Kraj', Kyjiv, 1988
Oksana Kosmina, 'Tradytsijne Vbrannia Ukrajintsiw', Kyjiv, 2001
Petro Odarchenko et al, 'Ukrainian Folk Costumes', Toronto-New York, 1992
M. S. Bilan et al, 'Ukrajins'kyj Stryj', L'viw, 2000
Tamara Nikolajeva, 'Ukrajins'kyj Kostium, Nadija na Renensans', Kyjiw, 2005
V. H. Bilozub et al, 'Ukrajins'ke Narodne Mystetstvo - Tkanyny ta Vyshywky', Kyjiw, 1960
V. H. Bilozub et al, 'Ukrajins'ke Narodne Mystetsvo -  Vbrannia', Kyjiw, 1961
Amalie Kozminova, 'Podkarpatska Rus',