In the patrimony of the Transylvanian Museum of Ethnography, there is a series of garment pieces from the Jiu Valley area, including the woman’s traditional shirt proposed as a week artefact, with inventory no. 397, purchased in 1923.
The shirt is wrinkled around the neck, with a side gusset extended along the sleeve and a triangular pave positioned at the back, fastened with polychrome keys. This type of tailoring is considered to be very old, demonstrating the conservative nature of the region of provenance, until the first half of the last century.
The mouth of the shirt is on the right side towards the underarm, and in the center of the chest there is an opening for nursing. The cotton cloth has groups of 3 black and red lines (stripes) placed at a distance of about 20 centimeters. The decoration of the garment is characterized by sobriety, the model being concentrated at the collar, on sleeves and chest in the form of longitudinal rivers. The stylized geometric and floral motifs are sewn with black cotton and polychrome wool, fitting the stylistics of the embroidery specific to the ethno-cultural space of “momârlani” from the end of the 19th century. The sewing stitches used are “brânel, “brânel on edge, crosses, double running stitch, “şinătătu”. The 3 serpentine lines are sewn with geometric motifs that alternate according to the ABCBA scheme and seem to be ranged along the sleeve following the principles of the folk art of symmetry, rhythm and alternation. We can also observe a play of symmetries and mirroring in terms of color alternation.
The shirt comes from Uricani and is currently exhibited at the Transylvanian Museum of Ethnography within the temporary exhibition “Samples”, based on a research project of collections of textile fragments coming from ethnographic areas researched by the museum’s founder, Romulus Vuia, in order to pay homage to his personality and mark the institution’s centenary celebration.
Text: Sebastian Paic – MET museographer
Photo: George Ciupag – MET photo-video museographer