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- Date of production 1st half of the 20th century
- Place of creation Kraków, Małopolska Province, Poland
- Dimensions height: ca. 40 cm, length: of sole: 30 cm
- ID no. 23629 a,b/mek
- Acquired date purchased from Andrzej Czekaj, Kraków, pl. Wolnica, for price 250 zł in 1956
- Object copyright The Seweryn Udziela Ethnographic Museum in Kraków
- Digital images copyright © all rights reserved, EMK
- Digitalisation RDW MIC, Małopolska's Virtual Museums project
Men's calf-length boots for the Kraków costume, made of black Russian leather. The main stitch is at the back of the boot. The boots have an isolated vamp, counters and a two-piece upper. The upper is stiffened at the top and lined with leather, at the bottom it is soft and lined with linen.more
Men's calf-length boots for the Kraków costume, made of black Russian leather. The main stitch is at the back of the boot. The boots have an isolated vamp, counters and a two-piece upper. The upper is stiffened at the top and lined with leather, at the bottom it is soft and lined with linen. The sides, feature so-called ears on the inner side to make them easier to put on. The shoes are not decorated in any way. The soles are made of leather and pegged. The heels are low, made of leather, lined with rubber.
Men always wore boots with uppers, and can be divided into two basic types due to the location of the stitching: Hungarian (with stitching on the sides) and Polish (with stitching at the rear). They always reached to below the knees and were large enough so the wearer could wrap his foot with a foot-wrap (a large piece of canvas or a fustian) or with a straw bundle during the winter. They were sewn from cowhide, with different shapes of boots. It was soft and straight or stiff, arranged in a harmonica at the ankle. The heels of the shoes were always shod with metal fastenings or plates. The Hungarian shoe type is considered to be the oldest and initially it had a soft upper. They were also called dobczycoki — from Dobczyce, which was one of the shoemaking centres of aLesser Poland. Later, the fashion came for Polish shoes, also called polokie, which always had a hard upper and one stitching at the back. We also distinguish 'crinkle-cut' shoes, differing from Polish ones and featuring bellows (part of the shoe sewn at the height of the ankles), folded in bends, so-called notches. The last type of shoes are spuscane, which had a thin leather bellow, thanks to which the upper could be pulled up under the knee or lowered to the ankles. A decorative element, and at the same time practical, was the so-called huncwot, a piece of hard leather nailed to the heel with a brass nail, making it easier to take off the shoes with a special device called a dog (see how a dog for removing shoes – Knee-boot jack as looked in the WMM collection). The common feature of Hungarian, Polish and crinkle-cut shoes was a high heel, while spuscoki had a low and wide heel.
Notches with sharp or semicircular edges connecting the upper and the rest of the shoes at about the ankle-height were modelled on a special wooden shoe-tree. After the shoes were made, the part between the upper and the heel was soaked in lukewarm water, and then special stretchers with notches were put into the shoes and the notches were imprinted using block cut to the right size, and when the leather dried a bit, the stretchers were removed and the notches were tightened by clamping them with iron clamps. The notches were fine and sharp, or large with gentle bends.
Polish shoes were made of yuft, or cowhide shamoyed with a plant method, characterized by softness, durability and high contiguity. They were finished on the outside in natural colour and heavily greased, thank to which they featured exceptional resistance to water and stretching. It should be mentioned that shoes with a natural skin colour were considered to be less beautiful than black ones. Hence, the term 'blacking uppers', or blacking shoes, was used to refer to someone looking to impress a potential husband or wife. The blacking was made of coal made of burnt barley straw, pulped in sweet milk , while the marker was made from cow's bristle. The shoes were cleaned rarely, usually before going to church. Shoes were almost never used from spring to autumn, when people walked barefoot. Usually, they were put on for ceremonies or when going to church. In the interwar period, we can observe an increasing presence of shoes, also on a daily basis. This was connected with social changes and the growing affluence of the villagers.
The presented pair of shoes was sewn in the 1st half of the 20th century by an unknown shoemaker. It was purchased for the collection of the Ethnographic Museum in Kraków by Andrzej Czekaj in 1956 for equivalent value of 250 zlotys today. The shoes are not an original example of folk footwear, but the cut accurately reflects the style of Polish shoes. They were treated as substitute shoes, that is, used during various kinds of exhibitions and events as a complement to the Kraków outfit.
Elaborated by Ewa Rossal (The Seweryn Udziela Ethnographic Museum in Kraków), © all rights reserved