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A Selection of Bohemian National Embroidery from Náprstek's Bohemian Industrial Museum

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A Selection of Bohemian National Embroidery from Náprstek’s Bohemian Industrial Museum  (1893) 
by Jan Koula, translated by Jane Mourek

Original publication of this book is in Czech accompanied with translations of the text part into French, English, Russian and German. Here only text in English and the plates are presented.

A SELECTION OF BOHEMIAN NATIONAL EMBROIDERY FROM NÁPRSTEK’S BOHEMIAN INDUSTRIAL MUSEUM
AUSWAHLL BÖHMISCHER NATIONALSTICKEREI AUS DEM BÖHMISCHEN GEWERBEMUSEUM.
VÝBĚR
NÁRODNÍHO ČESKÉHO VYŠÍVÁNÍ
Z
ČESKÉHO PRŮMYSLOVÉHO MUSEA
NÁPRSTKOVÝCH.
XXV LISTŮ VE SVĚTLO- A KAMENOTISKU
SPOŘÁDAL
JAN KOULA.
Text přeložily:
do ruského: paní Apraksinová Marie,
do anglického: paní Mourková Jane,
do francouzského: slečna Pinkasová Jiřina,
do německého: slečna Pfeifferová Gabriela.
PRAHA 1893
NÁKLADEM ČESKÉHO PRŮMYSLOVÉHO MUSEA NÁPRSTKOVÝCH.—TISKEM F. ŠIMÁČKA.
ОБРАЗЦЫ ЧЕШСКАГО НАРОДНАГО ШИТЬЯ ИЗЪ КОЛЛЕКЦІИ ПРОМЫШЛЕННАГО МҮЗЕЯ̄ НАПРСТКОВЫХЪ ВЪ ЧЕШСКОЙ ПРАГѢ.
CHOIX DE BRODERIES POPULAIRES TCHÈQUES DU MUSÉE INDUSTRIEL NÁPRSTEK.

Ornament z knihy Výběr národního českého vyšívání z Českého průmyslového musea Náprstkových 02.png OUR MOTHERS’ WORK. Ornament z knihy Výběr národního českého vyšívání z Českého průmyslového musea Náprstkových 03.png

A SELECTION
OF
BOHEMIAN NATIONAL EMBROIDERY
FROM
NÁPRSTEK’S BOHEMIAN INDUSTRIAL MUSEUM.

Preface.

Whoever has seen the collections of embroidery of the Čechoslovenic nation in Náprstek’s Bohemian Industrial Museum, must surely have felt interested, even if he were a foreigner, and although the subject might be said to lie outside the sphere of his interests in general.

There are thousands of articles here worked by the skilfal hands of simple conntrywomen from the lands of Bohemia, Moravia and Slovenia, who never had any teacher except nature, and the familiar surroundings, which supplied them with motives, and the inborn susceptibility and feeling, that guided their dexterous fingers in forming the whole.

The peculiar character and accuracy of the work are the consequence of long practice and examples, which have been transmitted from generation to generation throughout centuries; and indeed these popular designs may very well compete with the best specimens of similar work from any other European nation.

On looking over even the few plates of this smaller collection one cannot help being struck with the rare precision of the work of our people, and it seems almost incomprehensible, how these and similar specimens of popular needle-work could, even twenty years ago, have been c ompletel overlooked, and how it came to pass, that only lately attention has been directed to them, and collections begun to be made.

This is partly explained by the fact, that the public mind was far differently occupied at that time, so that even other specimens of our culture were neither appreciated nor preserved nor collected; partly also by the fact, that productions of country people are out of the way of the common stream of collectors, because they have little or no relation to the known style of other corresponding works of art and industry.

These popular manufactures, compared with the system of more widely spread styles which have, so to speak, grown out of one another, and have been developed by mutual progress, are like independent islands, formed upon the so called natural style.

The country population has, not only with us, but in every other land, developed such forms as correspond with its feelings, its necessities, and technical skill, and founded them only upon tradition and nature, very seldom adopting any of the external forms of similar styles.

This has been the case not only in embroidery, but also in the plastic art as seen in all sorts of works in wood, clay or metal, and in textile fabrics.

This is particularly apparent even now amongst nations and tribes, who have come less under the influence of culture and commerce (for instance the Huculs & cet.).

These manufactures may be called the core of national art, having arisen from the widest base of the nation, from the country people, by whom they were produced.

At the same time no one will assert, that such art could satisfy the manifold requirements, of the highly developed circumstances of modern society, just as it is impossible for national ballads and tales, to make up for, or replace, the literature of the world.

Still the study of national manufactures is able to modify our plastic works, just as it has been successfully done in our music, or as in the goldsmiths’ art of Italy, which by preserving the remains of ancient shapes and forms of working, has raised this branch of modern industry.

The country populace had their art, which answered their simple wants, and was practised in their homes or by village artisans. This art was no reflexion nor cast off remnant of the art, which was cultivated in towns or manors, and had been, together with culture in general, spread about the whole world. It was a selfcreated, characteristic art, which can only by degrees be properly appreciated, when the artistic efforts of the human race are fully understood.

Of this popular art in Bohemia only a few remains of costumes, embroidery, and wood building have been preserved; Moravia and Slovenia on the contrary possess even now nearly all the characteristics of national art.

It was almost by mere accident, as Mrs. Josephine Náprstek, the chief collector and preserver of national embroidery, tells us, that this collection was begun at all.

In the year 1877 Miss M. Holub, of Horka near the town of Mladá Boleslav, brought part of an embroidered white cap, a so called Holubinka (that is a dove-shaped coif) which also from pious regard we have placed in this collection under No 1, and which, as the work of Bohemian country people, so took Mrs. Náprstek’s fancy, that she at once with great zeal began to collect other specimens of such needlework. She asked Miss Maxant, a teacher in the Seminary for training female teachers, to try, during her stay in the country, to obtain more specimens of this work, and Miss Maxant undertook the task with such eagerness that, after the first holidays in the country, she brought 12 „holubinky“ (dove-coifs) and many other embroidered articles.

By diligent correspondence with many persons in various parts of Bohemia, Mrs. Náprstek, with the help of numerous kind obliging friends, succeeded in obtaining, either by purchase or as gifts, a considerable quantity of national embroidery.

These labours and pecuniary sacrifices were soon rewarded by such pleasing results, that Mr. Alois Studnička, now the director of an artisans’ school at Jaroměř, who at that time was the manager of Náprstek’s Museum, thought it advisable to arrange an exhibition of Čechoslovenic costumes and embroidery, which exhibition, supported by Mr. and Mrs. Náprstek, was opened on St. John’s day 1880, and was a complete success.

It was there that for the first time the manifold variety and beauty of Bohemian needlework was displayed to a wider public, and there too Náprstek’s Industrial Museum owned nearly one third of all the articles exhibited.

Besides that, a circular, sent to different parts of Bohemia and Moravia, was replied to by a variety of costumes and remarkable pieces of embroidery being sent in, of which the greater number and the most valuable were either purchased or given to the Museum.

Since then, thanks to the never relaxing zeal of Mrs. Náprstek and her indefatigable efforts, the collection continued constantly to increase, and in 1887 & 1888 a large number of beautiful Slovenic embroideries were added at great cost.

During the last ten years popular embroidered work began to be collected also in other parts of Čechoslovenic countries, and many valuable and numerons collections have been made, which are not only a directive of taste for the whole range of artistic needlework, but also important ethnographic specimens of our culture.

The study of embroidery should always, as a matter of course, be connected with that of costumes, to which it chiefly belongs, together with the mode and arrangement of dwellings and national customs. In this way only can the study of their origin and importance lead to any valuable result.

Amongst us in Bohemia there are but few resources left for the encouragement of such research. Characteristic habits, customs and manner of life, national costumes and arrangement of homes have all vanished or have left mere vestiges behind; but of these many have been already noted down in Bohemia and Moravia.

The costumes and manufactures of the people are of no small value towards the history of national culture, and in helping us to a knowledge of the mind and character of the nation, though many now consider this study trifling. But this might be said with equal right of the study of dress, manners, dwellings and habits amongst the nobility and townspeople of olden times, which are carefully traced, and were only trifling for this reason, that neither one nor the other show any particular characteristic in our country, because life amongst those circles moved along in the beaten path of their time, which at every period was more or less the same in the whole of middle Europe.

Formerly no attention was bestowed upon the rustic population; every contemporary considered their manners and customs so well known that it never occurred to any one to write upon the subject, and se we have nothing to help us to some knowledge of them except popular ballads and tales, wooden buildings, and some of their home-industry.

If the songs of a people may be considered as, specimens of their music and poetry, the capacity for ornamental needle-work such as embroidery, and the adornment of dwellings and costumes may be taken as measures and proofs of their artistic capacity, appearing in the forms and colours of those ornaments.

For many years these designs and colours have been gradually mellowing and developing in style, until they have arrived at a degree of perfection, which is a true independent reflexion of the national mind.

The embroideries of the Čechoslovenic peasantry are so varied in shape and so manifold in conception, colour and mode of working, that we may freely assert they surpass in this respect the popular needlework of all European nations.

The Moravian and Slovenic embroideries are no doubt more characteristic, showing only here and there something of oriental designs, while the Bohemian needle-work, which is a good deal influenced by the west of Europe, excels in accuracy of execution, and in the national style of the ornaments.

We say that the Bohemian embroidery shows a good many traces of western influence. The most prominent of these are the barocq and rococo styles, which appear especially in the stitches and patterns of the lace of those times.

We doubt if any of our contemporary connoisseurs would undertake to express a decisive opinion about the costumes and embroideries of Bohemia, or venture to state unhesitatingly, at which time any one of them arose, how it changed with the progress of time, technical appliances and changes of material (silk, glass pearls & cet), and which of the patterns have preserved the most antique character.

We think that the variegated embroidery of the south of Bohemia, which is still preserved about the town of Tabor, is, as far as the pattern is concerned, the oldest (see Plate XXI., XXII.). It shows large blossoms, simple in order and connexion, which viewed as a whole has a harmonious effect, but if closely observed, presents many things not exactly in accordance with our taste, that have doubtless been introduced at a later period into the ancient patterns. For instance, besides variegated there are also small gold and glass beads employed, greatly to the detriment of these works.

Central Bohemia and the country about the town of Plzeň excel in beautiful white embroidery which is done either in flat or raised satin-stitch, filled up in some spots with rich and varied openwork stitches or covered with closely worked knotted stitch.

The patterns are multiform, complicated and ingeniously grouped, sometimes also, it is true, in rather doubtful taste and even a good deal spoiled by the evident influence of the rococo lace and embroidery of the Empire.

As a particular characteristic of Bohemian patterns may be pointed out the frequent use of the rosette; it is often very much varied and branched, so that at first view it is sometimes not immediately discernable.

The open-work is executed on a foundation of quadratic net, while in the embroidery of the south of Bohemia segments of a circle are most frequently seen (see Plate II.) which also appear very often in Slovenic work from the neighbourhood of Pressburg.

Fine specimens of needlework are found also in the north of Bohemia, where two different groups may easily distinguished. One spreads from Turnov as far as Mladá Boleslav, the other belongs to the surroundings of Jaroměř. Here oftener than in any other part of Bohemia golden coifs appear, and the embroidery presents a great variety of articles worked not only in white but also in colours, especially bright red, cherry-coloured kerchiefs, embroidered in black, and blue aprons done in white.

From the surroundings of Turnov come the particularly beautiful dove-coifs of white linen, in which the pattern is formed by being worked round the outlines in little knots with gray or unbleached thread or black silk.

It would exceed the bounds of this sketch to enter into a description of embroideries from the neighbourhood of Domažlice, Stříbro and Eger, or to speak about the needle-work of the Čecho-Moravian plateau, where the style is again different. We hope to have an opportunity of doing so in further parts of this publication, should our public support us sufficiently by subscriptions tomake a continuation of this work possible.

Ornament z knihy Výběr národního českého vyšívání z Českého průmyslového musea Náprstkových 01.png

Bohemian national embroidery.

LIST OF THE PLATES.

Plate I. Holubinka. Side-part of a white dove-shaped coif. The pattern is worked in raised satin-stitch on jaconet (a fine white cotton material) and filled in with small knots. To this piece we give the first place, as from it sprung the whole collection of national embroidery in Náprstek's Museum. A gift from Miss M. Holub of Horka near Bakov 1877.

Plate II. The corner of a large headcloth (kerchief to cover the head and shoulders) said to be from the year 1820. The pattern is executed on fine white cotton material in satin-stitch and circular segments, with holes, characteristic of this part of the country, and the district round Budějovice. It came from the neighbourhood of Jindřichův Hradec. A gift from Miss Šetka of Jindř. Hradec.

Plate III. A white head-cloth from the neighbourhood of Plzeň, richly ornamented with satin-stitch and open-work. Given to the Museum by Mrs. T. Studnička 1880. The cloth is, like most of the same kind, 102 centm. square, and is ornamented only in the front corner, and slightly also in the two side-corners. It belonged to Mrs. Honzik, a farmer’s wife of Dejšina near Plzeň.

Plate IV. A further detail of the head-cloth in Plate III.

Plate V. A dove-coif with flaps, made, like most of the articles pictured in this collection, of jaconet. The pattern is executed in filled satin-stitch and open-work as in head-cloth, Plate III., together with which it represents the most characteristic specimens of popular embroidery from the country about Plzeň. Bought for the Museum a Dejšina 1880.

Plate VI. A head-cloth adorned with raised white embroidery and open-work stitches. Bought for the Museum 1880 through the intervention of Mrs. A. Kalous in Nusle.

Plate VII. A head-kerchief of jaconet with net insertions, beautifully worked in raised and flat embroidery, the contures filled up with various stitches. Bought for the Museum 1880 by Mrs. A. Kalous in Nusle.

Plate VIII. Further detail of Plate VII.

Plate IX. A white dove-coif in two parts, from Sovenice in the neighbourhood of Mladá Boleslav, made about the year 1730 by Mrs. B. Rosa (born 1701, died 1811). It is ornamented with cording, pattern done in raised embroidery on a ground of open-work with various fillings. Given to the Museum 1879 by Mrs. M. Čelakovská.

Plate X. A white dove-coif in two parts, raised pattern like the preceding, ground and fillings variously reticulated. Made by Mrs. Anna Famerle from the neighbourhood of Labská Týnice, and given by her to the Museum.

Plate XI. A white dove-coif in three parts. The pattern is underlaid with cording and worked over; the ground and fillings done in various open-work stitches. The ends of the bow are also worked in the same manner. From the country about Český Brod; given to the Museum by Miss A. Koula 1887.

Plate XII. A white dove-coif, worked in a similar manner as the three above, presenting with them specimens of the style of embroidery in central Bohemia. It came from Neveklov, and was bought by the intervention of Mr. Al. Studnička 1880.

Plate XIII. A dove-coif in three parts; worked in filled satin-stitch, with knotted ground. Bought for the Museum 1885.

Plate XIV. A white dove-coif in three parts (called „kočárek“, that is a coach); came from the neighbourhood of Přestice. The pattern is underlaid with cording and worked over. The ground thickly worked in a particular sort of stitch, ornamented in some spots with rows of holes. The pattern forms closely ramified branches with smaller blossoms here and there. The people say of there patterns, that they are taken from the forms of frost flowers on frozen windows. Given to the collection as a gift by Mrs. Noháč 1880.

Plate XV. Part of a stripe of an ancient bed-curtain (generally hung round the beds of lying-in women as a screen). From the neighbourhood of Kutná Hora. The embroidery is worked in red cotton. Given to the Museum 1879 by Mrs. M. Hanuš.

Plate XVI. A head-kerchief (loktuška) 95 centm. square. It is worked in flat stitch with fiery red carmoisin silk. Dates from about the year 1770. Given to the Museum by Mrs. R. Mervart of Rychnov 1880.

Plate XVII. Part of a head-kerchief embroidered with red silk. The gift of Miss Em. Paisker of Třebechovice, received through Director Hudec of the same town 1880.

Plate XVIII. Part of a dark blue linen apron, embroidered with white flowers in different stitches. Bought for the Museum in the neighbourhood of Jaroměř through Mr. Jos. Dušek 1881.

Plate XIX. Detail of the preceding.

Plate XX. A coif colleddo trucu“ (i. e. to spite, cocked up to spite) adorned with white raised embroidery and openwork stitches, and covered with glass beads of different colours. Given to the Museum by Mr. A. Křížek of Větrov near Kamýk 1880.

Plate XXI. Two head-cloths from the environs of Tábor. These cloths measure nearly 2 metres square, and have very effective ornaments in variegated colours, but only in one chief corne r and two side corners. The embroidery is worked in flat stitch with silk of various hues, and the contures of the flowers are stitched round with gold tinsel and glass beads of different colours.

Plate XXII. Further details of Plate XXI.

Plate XXIII. A silver coif (dýnko=back part) made of pale blue brocade. The pattern represents a rose-bush, is worked in raised stitch with thread, ground is in many places ornamented with tinsel. Bought in the neighbourhood of Josefov 1880.

Plate XXIV. A gold coif (dýnko) made of strong white linen, completely covered with golden embroidery. The pattern is in many places highly raised, worked with beads, bullion and tinsel in various stitches; the ground thickly set with gold thread, caught by arched lines of bullion. Bought 1886 in the northwest of Bohemia.

Plate XXV. Side-part of the coif of preceding plate.

Náprstkových České Průmyslové Museum v Praze. České Národní Vyšívání.
Výběr národního českého vyšívání z Českého průmyslového musea Náprstkových, Plate 01.png
LIST I.

Náprstkových České Průmyslové Museum v Praze. České Národní Vyšívání.
Výběr národního českého vyšívání z Českého průmyslového musea Náprstkových, Plate 02.png
LIST II.

Náprstkových České Průmyslové Museum v Praze. České Národní Vyšívání.
Výběr národního českého vyšívání z Českého průmyslového musea Náprstkových, Plate 03.png
LIST III.

Náprstkových České Průmyslové Museum v Praze. České Národní Vyšívání.
Výběr národního českého vyšívání z Českého průmyslového musea Náprstkových, Plate 04.png
LIST IV.

Náprstkových České Průmyslové Museum v Praze. České Národní Vyšívání.
Výběr národního českého vyšívání z Českého průmyslového musea Náprstkových, Plate 05.png
LIST V.

Náprstkových České Průmyslové Museum v Praze. České Národní Vyšívání.
Výběr národního českého vyšívání z Českého průmyslového musea Náprstkových, Plate 06.png
LIST VI.

Náprstkových České Průmyslové Museum v Praze. České Národní Vyšívání.
Výběr národního českého vyšívání z Českého průmyslového musea Náprstkových, Plate 07.png
LIST VII.

Náprstkových České Průmyslové Museum v Praze. České Národní Vyšívání.
Výběr národního českého vyšívání z Českého průmyslového musea Náprstkových, Plate 08.png
LIST VIII.

Náprstkových České Průmyslové Museum v Praze. České Národní Vyšívání.
Výběr národního českého vyšívání z Českého průmyslového musea Náprstkových, Plate 09.png
LIST IX.

Náprstkových České Průmyslové Museum v Praze. České Národní Vyšívání.
Výběr národního českého vyšívání z Českého průmyslového musea Náprstkových, Plate 10.png
LIST X.

Náprstkových České Průmyslové Museum v Praze. České Národní Vyšívání.
Výběr národního českého vyšívání z Českého průmyslového musea Náprstkových, Plate 11.png
LIST XI.

Náprstkových České Průmyslové Museum v Praze. České Národní Vyšívání.
Výběr národního českého vyšívání z Českého průmyslového musea Náprstkových, Plate 12.png
LIST XII.

Náprstkových České Průmyslové Museum v Praze. České Národní Vyšívání.
Výběr národního českého vyšívání z Českého průmyslového musea Náprstkových, Plate 13.png
LIST XIII.

Náprstkových České Průmyslové Museum v Praze. České Národní Vyšívání.
Výběr národního českého vyšívání z Českého průmyslového musea Náprstkových, Plate 14.png
LIST XIV.

Náprstkových České Průmyslové Museum v Praze. České Národní Vyšívání.
Výběr národního českého vyšívání z Českého průmyslového musea Náprstkových, Plate 15.png
LIST XV.

Náprstkových České Průmyslové Museum v Praze. České Národní Vyšívání.
Výběr národního českého vyšívání z Českého průmyslového musea Náprstkových, Plate 16.png
LIST XVI.

Náprstkových České Průmyslové Museum v Praze. České Národní Vyšívání.
Výběr národního českého vyšívání z Českého průmyslového musea Náprstkových, Plate 17.png
Tisk. Farský v Praze
LIST XVII.

Náprstkových České Průmyslové Museum v Praze. České Národní Vyšívání.
Výběr národního českého vyšívání z Českého průmyslového musea Náprstkových, Plate 18.png
LIST XVIII.

Náprstkových České Průmyslové Museum v Praze. České Národní Vyšívání.
Výběr národního českého vyšívání z Českého průmyslového musea Náprstkových, Plate 19.png
LIST XIX.

Náprstkových České Průmyslové Museum v Praze. České Národní Vyšívání.
Výběr národního českého vyšívání z Českého průmyslového musea Náprstkových, Plate 20.png
LIST XX.

Náprstkových České Průmyslové Museum v Praze. České Národní Vyšívání.
Výběr národního českého vyšívání z Českého průmyslového musea Náprstkových, Plate 21.png
LIST XXI.

Náprstkových České Průmyslové Museum v Praze. České Národní Vyšívání.
Výběr národního českého vyšívání z Českého průmyslového musea Náprstkových, Plate 22.png
LIST XXII.

Náprstkových České Průmyslové Museum v Praze. České Národní Vyšívání.
Výběr národního českého vyšívání z Českého průmyslového musea Náprstkových, Plate 23.png
LIST XXIII.

Náprstkových České Průmyslové Museum v Praze. České Národní Vyšívání.
Výběr národního českého vyšívání z Českého průmyslového musea Náprstkových, Plate 24.png
LIST XXIV.

Náprstkových České Průmyslové Museum v Praze. České Národní Vyšívání.
Výběr národního českého vyšívání z Českého průmyslového musea Náprstkových, Plate 25.png
LIST XXV.


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