|The Ethnographic Museum in Zagreb organized a very nice exhibition of Croatian toys, 1 Dec 2012 - 31 May 2013. The opening has been accompanied by a group of children, members of the Turopolje Folklore Ensemble, wearing fantastic national costumes from the region of Turopolje near Zagreb. Traditional manufacturing of children's wooden toys in Hrvatsko Zagorje, a region on the north of Croatia, has been inscribed in 2009 on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity|
Villagers along the pilgrimage route to the Marian shrine of Our Lady of the Snow in Marija Bistrica in Hrvatsko Zagorje in northern Croatia developed a technique for traditional manufacturing of children’s wooden toys that has now been handed down for generations. The men in a family take soft willow, lime, beech and maple wood from the region and dry, hew, cut and carve it using traditional tools; the women then apply ecologically-friendly paint in improvisational floral or geometric patterns, painting ‘from imagination’. The whistles, horses, cars, tiny furniture, spinning dancers, jumping horses and flapping birds produced today are almost identical to those made more than a century ago – though no two toys are precisely the same, thanks to the handcrafted production process.
Popular among both locals and tourists, these toys are sold in parish fairs, markets and specialty shops around the world. They have also evolved with the times and, in addition to the traditional shapes such as horses and carts, new ones representing cars, trucks, airplanes and trains have appeared, reflecting the world surrounding modern-day children. Tiny toy instruments, carefully tuned as they are created, still serve as important components in the musical education of rural children.
UNESCO: Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity - 2010
|The tradition of gingerbread making appeared in certain European monasteries during the Middle Ages and came to Croatia where it became a craft. Gingerbread craftspeople, who also made honey and candles, worked in the area of Northern Croatia. The process of making gingerbread requires skill and speed. The recipe is the same for all makers, utilizing flour, sugar, water and baking soda -- plus the obligatory spices. The gingerbread is shaped into moulds, baked, dried and painted with edible colours. Each craftsperson decorates gingerbread in a specific way, often with pictures, small mirrors and verses or messages. |
The gingerbread heart is the most common motif, and is frequently prepared for marriages, decorated with the newlyweds' names and wedding date. Each gingerbread maker operates within a certain area without interfering with that of another craftsperson. The craft has been passed on from one generation to another for centuries, initially to men, but now to both men and women. Gingerbread has become one of the most recognizable symbols of Croatian identity. Today, gingerbread makers are essential participants in local festivities, events and gatherings, providing the local people with a sense of identity and continuity.
Formated for CROWN by Darko Žubrinić
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