The wood, furniture and ironware collection
The wood, furniture and ironware collection sums up almost 8,000 objects, selected according to their age, uniqueness, artistic value, and how representative they are for a certain area of interest. Very important donations increased the already considerable number of items, donations from personalities and institutions: Brătianu family, Kalinderu, The Ministery of Public Domains, The Romanian Post, etc. Gheorghe Tătărescu’s wife donated many objects, among which a zalar (a thick iron chain with plain and oval links, with hooks, which was used to hang the water pot on the fire). Important donations come from foundations like: “Princess Maria” and “The Ant”, whose goal was to promote tradition. Contributions that enriched the collections were also received from the village intellectuals: teachers like Simeon Albu from Petrila (Hunedoara) and Ion Bota from Cetea (Alba) or priests like D. Popovici from Fărcaşa (Bacău). Panait Panaitescu donated the long shepherd’s pipe that belong to Uncle Cartan, and which he used to play at The International Exhibition in Paris, in 1900. No doubt the most important acquisitions are the house and the gates which were made by Antonie Mogoş from Ceauru (Oltenia), and which were brought to the museum in 1907, and displayed as proof of the Romanian peasant’s craftsmanship and ingenuity.
In the north of Oltenia, the soberer decoration of the furniture is due to the alternation of plane surfaces with spaces geometrically delimited and highlighted by notched hachure. In Muntenia, the rosette, the curved lines combine together, spring from each other, without a strict symmetry, which proves the spontaneity of the craftsman. In Banat, the predominant motive is the rosette, bordered by concentric circles, which cover the entire decorated surface.
Tools, related to different occupations and crafts, as well as household goods and especially pots represent the biggest part of our collection. They were made from the most varied types of wood (fir, Lombardy poplar, sycamore maple, hazel nut, cherry, prune). The utensils have a great range of shapes, sizes, usages, or abilities.
Although they have less decorative elements, the field tools obtain, due to their balanced proportions, the beauty of form and refinement. The collection possesses yokes, a gypsy cart, wood or iron ploughs, harnesses or only parts of them. There also are different holders to keep the whetstone necessary for the sharpening of the scythe; some are plated with real tin laces.
The shepherd’s tools have a considerable artistic value because of the shapes, proportions and decoration. The most beautiful are the cauc (wooden cups) from Hunedoara region, made of a single wood piece and ornamented with geometric motifs in relief. The cheese pots called păpușare acquired especially from Vrancea can be round or in a rectangular form, decorated with deep notches, with vegetal and geometrical shapes. The lid of the rectangular ones has an anthropomorphic shape, which explains the name (păpușare – big dolls). The shepherd’s staffs, especially in Sibiu and Hunedoara areas, as well as the utensils used at the sheepfold (the buckets, the milking bowls, etc.) are indeed quite artistically realised. We must also add the crinta, tubs used to prepare the cheese, as well as the scissors to cut the wool from the sheep, or the shepherd hook.
Well represented are also the utensils used in the domestic textile industry, the loom, or its component parts: sul – the beam (a sort of roll), the shuttle, talpa – the bed plate, the rims, the pulley, etc. The distaffs from this collection, made generally by shepherds, were brought from Transylvania, mostly Sibiu and Hunedoara. They were given to their mothers, sisters and especially to their sweethearts, as a sign of their love.
The museum has a big collection of wooden pots, which were used in the household. We have to mention the pyrographed wooden pails, cofa, from Vrancea, the wooden barrels to keep the alcoholic drinks, named balerca, from Bucovina, donițe, cofițe, putinee, which are all wooden buckets or pails, of different sizes. There were also some bowls made of pumpkin shell: tiugi, tigve, which were used to take the wine out of the barrel. There are also other household goods like: troaca (trough), piua (felting machine), sărărița, solnița (salt cellar), pipernița (pepper box). It is worth mentioning a salt cellar from Mehedinti, made by Manea Dumitru in 1811, and an impressive collection of baskets made by plating hazelnut or osier willow twig, mace reed or even birch bark.
The majority of the non-iron crockery was brought from Dobrogea, from Medgidia and Tulcea: big pots (guguon), coffee pots (ibric), brass plate (sahan), tee pot, brass tray. Most of them were made by Muslims (Turks and Tartars).
Milcana Pauncev has succeeded to acquire in 1961 an entire cooper’s workshop, from the village Vidra (Alba). Among the tools we must mention: vinitoare to clean the interior of the barrels, tongs to spread the circles, gardină to make a ditch for the staves, clanță to draw the bottom of the barrels and impistritor to pyrograph them. Other objects are: grebluța – the little rake, to gather blueberries, or the nut cracker, which are beautifully decorated, through notching. The bee breeding is represented by a bee nest, placed in a tree, and a barg to catch the bees. Hunting is hinted by the bone horns for keeping the gun powder, decorated with motifs, which could be geometrical (the crooked line) or zoomorphic (representing the game). Some of the bone horns still have the decorated belt where they were hanged.
The collection also consists of elements of architecture, like the pillars of a house from Oltenia, carved or sculptured gates from civil and religious buildings. Some of them were made of iron: the lattice work or the grating from the window, the door handles, padlocks. From the same material, the chain, the trivets, the spit (for roasting), and the mâța which supported the logs in the fireplace.
One of the specific ornamental motifs used to decorate wood objects is the wolf-tooth, present in very different compositions. Many objects from the collection were exhibited in our country and abroad, where they represented our country, proving thus their value. The first such exhibition was The International Exhibition from Paris in 1900 and then, The General Romanian Exhibition in 1906, organised at Bucharest, on the anniversary of 40 years since the ascension of King Carol I.
The most important part of the collection consists of musical instruments. Among them the most important are the wind instruments (the pipe, the bagpipe, the panpipe, the shepherd’s horn) or the string instruments (the guitar, the kobsa, the mandolin, the lyre, the gusla, and the lute). The pipes and the bagpipes are best represented because they were very frequently used at the sheepfold or at the end of the year feasts. The collection also has some long shepherd’s pipes, Moldavian pipes with six holes, piccolo flutes with seven holes, fluiera (a bigger pipe) brought from Moravia or torogoata from Hunedoara (a straight wooden saxophone with tin keys).
The toys collection comprises a great variety of pieces: sfârâietoare (a toy that produces a buz while rotated), zdrincană (a kind of bell with little stones in it which make the bell sound when shaken), ţăncuşe (the name of several games for children).