I'm sorry that i have not posted for a while; I was forced to move, and so have been busy. Today I would like to talk about the costumes of the region around the Dunajec river and Pieniny mountains on the Polish-Slovak border. The impetus for researching this region came from seeing images of vests such as the one above. This one, unusually, is black; most are blue. These can be found in Ukrainian books, of which the above image is one example, in Polish sources, such as this example;
And also Slovak sources, like this image. By the way, this is a man's vest, and is NOT part of any women's costume.
I found that this vest is part of a somewhat complicated series of costumes in the region between the points where the rivers Bialka and Poprad cross the Polish-Slovak border. This is the edge of the westernmost extension of Lemkovyna, the land inhabited by the Lemkos or Rusyns. The Slovaks and Polish in this area are Gorals, and while they identify as Polish or Slovak, speak dialects which are much closer to each other than to either of the two Literary standards.
In this article I will give an overview of the costumes of this region; I will cover Lemko, Rusyn, Polish and Slovak villages. . Please consult Google Maps as you read this, as I have so far been unable to find a good map of the area which I wish to cover.
Shliakhtova [Szlachtowa] Lemko/Rusyn
As far as I have been able to determine, these two groups, while differing in ethnicity and language, shared the same costume. The Polish villages continue to wear the costume on festive occasions today, while the inhabitants of the Lemko villages were deported in 1947 to other parts of Poland. The Lemkos inhabited the communites of Shliakhtova [Szlachtowa], Yavirky [Jaworki], Bila Voda [Biala Woda], and Chorna Voda [Czarna Woda].
The Polish inhabit the villages of Szczawnica, Krościenko, Grywald, Tylka and Haluszowa. These two communities lie on neighboring tributaries of the Dunajec.
Here is the costume as it existed at the end of the 19th cent.
The signature vest became more elaborately embroidered in the early 20th cent.
This Lemko-Rusyn enclave appears to be an island on the Polish side, however it is contiguous with Rusyn territory on the Slovak side, which connects directly with the rest of Lemkovyna.
The costume is shared, in part, with other villages in the area.
Just over the Slovak border from Shliakhtova [Szlachtowa] are the Rusyn villages of Velykyj Lypnyk [Veľký Lipník ], and its satellite, Fil'varok [Folvark], which is now called Stranjany [Stráňany]. These lie on a neighboring tributary of the Dunajec. The women's costume is basically identical; given the normal variation of aprons and skirts, the only notable difference is the lack of embroidery on the women's bodice.
The men's costume, however, is significantly different.
Just to the east, the three Rusyn villages of Kamionka [Kamienka], Litmanova [Litmanová], and Oriabyna [Jarabina] share a similar costume.
The men's costume from these villages is also different.
I have been able to find very little from the Slovak villages just to the west, but here is an image from Haligovce showing what seems to be the same costume.
On the Polish side, the Pieniny region proper lies between the Szczawnica region and the Dunajec river. This consists of the two villages of upper and lower Sromowce. The men's costume is the same as that of Szczawnica and Shliakhtova, but the women currently wear the Podhale costume, which is found over a fairly large area north and west of the Szczawnica region.
This exhibit in the church at Lower Sromowce seems to hint that the women once wore a similar costume as in Szczawnica.
Further west in Poland, the Podhale costume is prevalent north of the Dunajec, and the Kacwin costume south of it.
On the Slovak side, we find the little village of Červený Kláštor, right on the banks of the Dunajec.
Nearby is the Slovak community of Spišská Stará Ves. The men wear a costume identical to that of Szczawnica - Shliakhtova, but the women wear what appears to be a completely different costume.
But compare with this photo from Krościenko in the Szczawnica area from before WWI.
The boatmen on the Dunajec river, from both sides, often wear this costume as a kind of uniform while working.
Generally, at the very least they wear the round Podhale hat and the embroidered vest.
South of this are the two Slovak villages of Matiašovce and Spišské Hanušovce.
The men are wearing reconstructed costumes that resemble those of the Polish Spisz area. These girls from Matiašovce are wearing what appears to be a very generic costume created for their dance group.
Here are a couple of images from Hanušovce.
If we look at the Polish version of the costume, over the border in the area from Kacwin to Trybsz, we see that the women's is very reminiscent of the Szczawnica Shliakhtova costume. The blouse is very similar, and Reinfuss mentions there being a point on the front of the Spisz chepets.
Even in the Jurgow area we see that the women originally wore a similar blouse.
However in the Jurgow region the woven ornament in the blouse has mostly been replaced by embroidery, or is omitted altogether.
Osturnia [Osturňa], Mala Frankova [Malá Franková], and Velyka Frankova [Veľká Franková]. This costume also resembles that of Szczawnica - Shliakhtova. Some differences are that the ornament on the men's pants is of appliqued cord instead of embroidery, the women's chepets, while retaining the central point is flat on top, and the woven ornament is today usually a separate patch which is sewn on to the sleeve.
Thank you for reading,
I hope that you found it interesting to see how the various costume elements are distributed in this region, and how the various ethnic groups share costumes and also distinguish themselves. I will use the next article to give an in-depth analysis of the Shliakhtova -Szczawnica costume and its embroidery.
Much of this material was taken from various village websites of the area.
Stanislav Prochotský et al. 'Ľudový odev na Spiši', Spišská Nová Ves, 1990
Edyta Starek, 'Stroj Spiski', Poznan, 1954Roman Reinfuss, 'Stroje Gorali Szczawnickich', Lublin, 1949
Stanislaw Gadomski, 'Stroj Ludowy w Polsce', Warsaw
Jadwiga Turska, 'Polish Folk Embroidery', Warsaw, 1997
Viera Nosál'ová, 'Slovenský ľudový odev', 1983
Lesia Danchenko, 'Urainian Folk Art', Leningrad, 1982
Tamara Nikolajevna, 'Ukrajinskyj Kostium', Kyjiw [Kiev], 2005