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- Author probably made by a shoemaker Przeginiak in Mników
- Date of production 20th century
- Place of creation Aleksandrowice next to Kraków
- Dimensions height: of the entire shoe: 33 cm, of heel: 3.5 cm, length: stiffened upper back: 17.5 cm
- ID no. 47135 1,2/mek
- Acquired date 1973, purchased from Zofia Sieprawska from Aleksandrowice
- Object copyright The Seweryn Udziela Ethnographic Museum in Kraków
- Digital images copyright © all rights reserved, EMK
- Digitalisation RDW MIC, Małopolska's Virtual Museums project
A pair of women's boots in a Hungarian style for the Kraków costume, made of black tanned leather, stiffened inside with pale cow skin. These boots have two-piece uppers stitched on the sides and stiffened at the top; in the lower part, at the ankles, the skin is characteristically concertinaed (“bellows”).more
A pair of women's boots in a Hungarian style for the Kraków costume, made of black tanned leather, stiffened inside with pale cow skin. These boots have two-piece uppers stitched on the sides and stiffened at the top; in the lower part, at the ankles, the skin is characteristically concertinaed (“bellows”). The front part of the upper is cut with an instep, and the rear section features a heel. At the top of the shoe, pieces of leather called ears are sewn from the centre to the sides, to help with putting the shoe on. The uppers, insteps and heels are decoratively machine-stitched with black thread. On the uppers, in addition to the straight and wavy lines forming trails along the seams, there are stylized tulip flowers, and calicular flowers in the corners. The top edges of the uppers are trimmed with a belt of red morocco leather. Studded leather soles. Half-slatted heels, covered with rubber. On the front part of the sole of the left shoe, there is a crescent-shaped metal arch.
Shoes have been an object of desire and jealousy for centuries. Most of the time made from leather by skilled shoemakers, they were one of the most expensive elements of any outfit. Only a few wealthy residents of a Polish village could afford to buy footwear. In the vicinity of Kraków, people walked barefoot during the weekdays. Leather shoes, often richly decorated, were used only for going to church or various celebrations and in winter. Shoes, like other parts of the costly outfit, were given a special care and passed onto future generations. They were protected from damage by using simple preservatives: blackened and lubricated with fat, which made them resistant to water and stretching. The blacking was made of coal ground in sweet milk burnt from barley straw, while the marker came from cow's bristle. Above all, people tried to use them as little as possible. Hence, as Seweryn Udziela writes: “In summer, while going to the church or to the city, the dressed up inhabitants of Kraków carry their shoes in their hands (...). Only before the city, before the church, do they sit on the road and put their footwear on”. To protect the soles from abrasion, shoes, especially the heel, were often arched with metal horseshoe-shaped plates. Sometimes the entire heel was secured, by ferruling around it with a metal plate.
In the 19th century, women mainly used shoes with Hungarian type uppers. The women's Hungarian type is made up of the following parts: an upper, with two stitchings along the sides, an instep that makes up the front part of the shoe where the foot rests, the back part below the ankle, called the counter, and at the height of the ankle the leather is arranged in a harmonica called the “windbag”. The top edge of the upper has so-called “ears”, helpful for putting the shoes on. In the interwar period, we can observe an increasing use of shoes, also on a daily basis. General changes in the village, related to industrialization and frequent contact with the city also influenced fashion. More and more often could you see shoes with high uppers, laced or buttoned being worn in the village , and in the summer period — half-booties. Shoes were usually not richly decorated, mainly in the form of stitching with black thread. Occasionally, a red, safian strap along the top of the boot was applied as a decorative element.
The presented pair of shoes was probably made by a shoemaker called Przeginiak, who came from Mników. They were purchased from Zofia Sieprawska from Aleksandrowice in 1973 for the equivalent value of 520 zlotys today. Nothing more is known about the owner of the shoes or their history. Certainly they were worn at the beginning of the 20th century, and from their excellent state of preservation we can conclude that they were not used often in order not to wear them out too quickly.
Elaborated by Ewa Rossal (The Seweryn Udziela Ethnographic Museum in Kraków), © all rights reserved