Collection of Stoneware (bowls, plates, jugs, pitchers)
The stoneware collection counts more than 500 pieces of various sizes, especially but not exclusively from the nineteenth century Hungarian folk art and handicraft. The collection primarily contains local products from the Transylvanian pottery and ceramics centres, such as the former Bornemissza family porcelain manufactory from Gurghiu, hand-painted craft items from Northern Hungary (Hollóháza, Miskolc), Slovakian Highlands (Prešov/Eperjes), or Lower Austria’s Wilhelmsburg. These kind of art works objects had today the sole purpose of public use and decoration. Until the early twentieth century, however, the ordinary pottery was used for cooking and as table dishes in the rural environment. From this evolved the ceramic art and within that – after the stoneware were unable to fulfil the multiple directions of the user requirements – the fabrication of peasant decorative pots. In the past, the production and subsequent circulation of such objects were determined by the presence/absence of the main road junctions, and of the necessary raw materials and human expertise. The shapes and the decorative motifs have been handed down from father to son, from hand to hand, and some of the masters learned the traditional crafting which they carried out with a specific procedure. They rarely pressed into their works the name of the creator. Notwithstanding, they managed to leave an indelible trace of the multi-ethnic past of Transylvania. It is remarkable that the Hungarian Countess Bethlen did not focus on collecting exclusively Hungarian objects of handicraft art from her native region, but deliberately included items originating from other regions and produced or preserved by other ethnic groups. Her endeavour is consistent with the views of the pre-Trianon Hungarian liberal aristocracy, of which she is among the last descendants. Such view stands against both Hungarian and Romanian nationalisms. At the time it was created and for the context in which it was preserved, this collection represents an alternative vision on Transylvania than that promoted by the Romanian communist and nationalist regime.
Târgu Mureș, Romania
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Year of creation
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Author(s) of this page
- Jánosi, Csongor
Divald, Kornél. 1929. A magyar iparművészet története (The History of the Hungarian Arts and Craft). Budapest: Szent-István Társulat.
Gazda, Klára. 2008. Közösségi tárgykultúra – művészeti hagyomány. Egyetemi jegyzet (Culture of social objects - art tradition: Lecture notes). Kolozsvár: KJNT – BBTE.
Bethlen, Anikó , interview by Jánosi, Csongor , January 10, 2017. COURAGE Registry Oral History Collection