Together with the other Collections of the National Museum of the Romanian Peasant, the Samples Collection, consisting of cultural goods of great artistic and documentary value, which plays the role of witness of the popular art of the 18th and 19th century, is composed of 5958 objects. The greatest attraction of the collection is the 3854 samples, small pieces of embroidered cloth, recovered from what was once a shirt, a shawl, a carpet – old and ancient, however faded or tattered. It is worth noting that the oldest pieces were collected, starting in 1906, by Al. Tzigara Samurcaș, then director of the Carol I National Art Museum. The materials used for these stitches are: hemp, linen, cotton, wool, silk, metal thread, sequins. Of particular beauty are the pieces dating from the end of the 19th century which combine hemp fabric with linen and embroidery with silver and gold metallic thread or silk thread in pastel shades of cherry, olive, brown and blue.
In the interpretation of ornamental elements, the embroidery technique plays an important role, and the material from which it was made also imposes a number of rules. The double-thread weave creates a background that perfectly matches the technique of counted thread stitching. Among the stitches that can be counted on threads, the “cross stitch”, “half cross stitch”, “old stitch” or “puncture stitch”, “curly stitch” are widely used. The “chain” embroidery stitch is used to outline motifs or even groups of ornamental motifs. Also numbered on the thread is the “outline stitch”. The combination of each individual motif, called “warp”, made the work of the ornament maker easier, as filling in the outlines was much easier. “Stitching over yarn” is also noted alongside the other techniques. Coloured beads or “chain stitching” of silver or gold thread were used to mark out various spaces or ornamental fields. A frequently embroidered motif is the ‘sun motif’, either in the form of the sun or the sunflower, or stylised in the form of a circle, which speaks of divinity, of the sun’s warmth, which gives life and generates abundance, and of the cycle of life. It is said to be the favourite motif of the bearers of Romanian traditions who embroider ii (the Romanian folk shirts), because it illustrates the very essence of life. A kind of uninterrupted wheel of life.
The collection includes in its inventory: women’s shirts, collars, sleeves, patches of folk skirts, head coverings, icons on glass and wood, household objects, tea towels, headdresses, bed sheets, decorative accessories, costume accessories, prints, pattern books, household tools and carpets.
The Samples Collection is a unique collection that constitutes a rich complementary study material used both for exhibitions and for scientific studies.