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- Author unknown
- Date of production 2nd half of the 19th century
- Dimensions height: 65 cm
- ID no. E/10456/MT
- Object copyright The Dr. Tytus Chałubiński Tatra Museum in Zakopane
- Digital images copyright public domain
- Digitalisation RDW MIC, Małopolska's Virtual Museums project
Full wooden sculpture depicting a man’s figure dressed in a folk outfit similar to outfits worn by Podhale highlanders in the 2nd half of the 19th century. It was purchased for the Tatra Museum’s collection in the 1990s. There is no information about its author, place, or time of completion.more
Full wooden sculpture depicting a man’s figure dressed in a folk outfit similar to outfits worn by Podhale highlanders in the 2nd half of the 19th century.
It was purchased for the Tatra Museum’s collection in the 1990s. There is no information about its author, place, or time of completion. It is supposed that the sculpture may have come from a set intended for a Christmas nativity scene in a church, and completed in the 2nd half of the 19th century, which is suggested by similar exhibits that can be found in other museums.
The sculpture depicts a man — a highlander — in a standing position. Despite some mistakes in the rendered body proportions, the method of completion of the figure suggests that its maker was a skilled wood carver. The figure and the outfit are rendered with a great dose of realism.
The figure’s trunk with head and hands is made of a single piece of wood. Separate parts include a hat placed on the core carved in the figure’s head, both legs fitted to the trunk with a gypsum and glue mortar, a shepherd’s axe placed in the hole carved in the figure’s hand, and an octagonal base to which the figure is attached with nails.
The highlander is dressed in a long black jacket worn over sleeves, a broad red money-belt fastened with four golden buckles, white trousers let out on the footwraps of the same colour, and light brown shoes with black straps. A white shirt collar is visible from below the outer garments. The head with shoulder-length hair is covered by a black hat with a low crown and a broad brim. The right hand is let down and supported on the shepherd’s axe, whereas in the left hand, bent at the elbow, the figure is holding a pipe.
The man’s outfit basically shows some similarity to the outfit of various groups of Polish highlanders. Only the manner of decorating two elements of the jacket and hat suggests that the carver’s intention could have been the depiction of a Podhale highlander.
In Podhale, dark grey jackets or black clothes (cuchy corne) were more popular than white clothes until the 1st half of the 19th century. On ordinary days people wore short clothes without any decorations, while on holidays they wore longer clothes scalloped with red fabric stripes. Dark jackets adorned with red and white fabric stripes were worn in the 2nd half of the 19th century by the Podhale population in the vicinity of Czarny Dunajec.
At the same time, there emerged a custom of decorating the hat of the men’s outfits with so-called cubes, a decorative element made of the shells of money cowry (Cypraea moneta), sewn onto a leather, most often red, saffian belt. A black felt hat decorated in this way has been the typical headgear of Podhale highlanders until the present day.
Elaborated by Anna Kozak (The Dr. Tytus Chałubiński Tatra Museum in Zakopane), © all rights reserved