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The presented object is a high, dark green chest, resting on four profiled legs with a drawer at the bottom. The front wall is decorated with a painted pattern of vertical rectangles with concavely incised corners, separated from the background by a honey colour and a narrow burgundy red frame. 

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The presented object is a high, dark green chest, resting on four profiled legs with a drawer at the bottom. The front wall is decorated with a painted pattern of vertical rectangles with concavely incised corners, separated from the background by a honey colour and a narrow burgundy red frame. The centres of the fields are decorated with trifascicular spiky bouquets growing out of pitchers. The drawing is similar to natural field flowers; yet the colours – black, burgundy, white – and fanciful foliage render their appearance unrealistic. The nature of the paint layer leaning towards naturalism would indicate a later production period, and its awkward painting would indicate a rural repertoire of skills, or even individual, and definitely not serial production.
The antique value of the object is enriched by the fact that it was the dowry chest of the mother of Rev. Ferdynand Machay. In 1963, Rev. Machay donated it along with other objects to the museum in Zubrzyca. Ferdynand Machay was a very important figure for Orava. He was born on 4 May 1889 in Jabłonka. He attended the junior secondary school in Trzciana. He completed his studies in Budapest. As a man living in the area subjected to significant Hungarian influence, he quickly became magyarized. The 500th anniversary of the Grunwald Battle celebrated in Kraków in 1910 reminded him of his roots. Henceforth, he became an ardent advocate of Poland. In 1912 he was ordained. In 1919, together with Piotr Borowy and Wojciech Halczyn, he took part in a delegation sent to President Wilson on the matters of incorporating the lands of Orava and Spisz into Poland. He worked as a priest in Bukowina and Lipnica Wielka. In 1924 he started work in Kraków. He was involved in charity work and editing Catholic magazines and was active in the field of science. As a patriot, he was honoured by President Mościcki with the title of senator. During World War II, he conducted a wide-ranging charity campaign among the people most in need. In 1944, he was appointed archpresbyter of St. Mary’s Basilica. He made a great contribution to the restoration of the famous altar of Veit Stoss. The tireless patriot and priest died on 31 July 1967. He was buried at the Salwator Cemetery in Kraków.

Elaborated by the Orava Ethnographic Park Museum in Zubrzyca Górna, © all rights reserved

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Orava painted chest

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