weaving, incrustation, application are one of the most loved folk arts and crafts
in Belarus. Below are some examples of decorative and utilitarian uses of straw
arts and crafts in Belarus.
More straw horses. Not that Belarusian folk masters did only horses. They are just my favorites :) But here are some birds too :)
Long before mobiles were discovered by modern art Belarusian peasants were beautifying their houses with intricate moving straw mobiles commonly referred as "pavuk" ("spider"). I guess geometrical complexity of such "pavuk" mobile reminds geometry of spider web.
Even Belarusian children toys and dolls were often made out of straw:
And, of coarse, I can't forget traditional straw hats of Belarusian men - bryl'. It was not customary for Belarusian women to wear straw hats. They preferred to wear simple but elegant straw tiaras :)
"Czarskiia Vrata" (early XIXc, Lemiashevichy, Pinsk
region  ) - is the name of decorated
gates separating an altar of a church from the rest of the room in the
church. They essentially symbolized gates to heaven (yes, "heaven's
door"). Only priests and their helpers are allowed to go beyond these gates
(to symbolic heaven) in
Eastern Orthodox church (could be Roman-Catholic too - I'm just not sure). These
doors were clad in gold and silver in rich churches. In simple village churches
folk masters beautified them not with reaches but with their talent, intricate work and
is the time of traditional Belarusian holiday -
Kalyady - which has strict rules and lasts for 2 weeks. These tradition was
clearly pre-Christian and was celebrated as pagan holiday of Winter Solstice for
years before Belarusian ancestors became Christians. Part of the fun was carnival.
Folks were wearing masks, dressed up in ship skins, depicting goats, bears,
devils, wolves, storks and other popular folk tale personages. Having a goat and
a Bethlehem star was pretty much obligatory obligatory in such village carnivals. Below are some
straw Kalyady masks:
In Spring the Sun becomes the star of folk celebrations. Yur'ia is a Belarusian holiday of Spring greeting. During Yur'ia songs are sang calling Yur'ia Sun (below) to melt the snow and let the grass and the animals out of mother Earth womb.
The other way popular way to use straw for decorating things is straw
application. This is a straw appliqué box that I brought from Belarus to my
place in California. Below is a "dyvanok" ("little carpet")
made out of straw appliqué on satin (Village of Ruhava, Staradarozhski region
 ). This "dyvanok" depicts an entire idyllic World
imagined by Belarusian master.
1. Kacar M.S. "Bielaruski arnamient. Tkactva. Vysyuki"("Belarusian
Ornament, Textiles, Embroidery")
Publishing house "Bielaruskaja Encyklapiedyja" named after Piatrus' Brouka, Minsk, 1996 - 208 pages.
2. Sahuta Ja.M. "Narodnaje mastactva
Belarusi" ("Folk Art of Belarus")
Publishing house "Bielaruskaja Encyklapiedyja" named after Piatrus' Brouka, Minsk, 1997- 287 pages.
3. "Etnahrafiia Belarusi" Encyclopedia
("Ethnography of Belarus")
Publishing house "Belarusian Soviet Encyklapedyja" named after Piatrus' Brouka, Minsk, 1989.
4. Vol'ha Labacheuskaia "Poviaz' Chasou -
Belaruski Rushnik" ("Link of Times - Belarusian Rushnik")
Minsk, publishing house "Belarus" 2002, ISBN 985-01-0351-5
5. "Encyklapiedyja historyi Belarusi"(Encyclopedia of the history of
Belarus") in 6 volumes, Volume 1 Publishing house "Belaruskaja
Encyklapedyja" named after Piatrus' Brouka, Minsk, 1993 - 494 pages.
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