Where to look if you are the type of traveller who does not want cheap and corny souvenirs but is looking for historically meaningful arts and crafts when visiting a new country? UNESCO can help.
An article was recently published in The New York Times in which historically significant crafts from UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) member countries are introduced. The journal relied on UNESCO’s list of intangible cultural heritage nominated from the 178 member countries.
UNESCO designates not only historically important sites but also historically significant crafts, and Hungarian embroidery made the list.
According to the chief of the organisation’s intangible heritage program, Tim Curtis, UNESCO’s goal is
“to safeguard the social context, the meaning, the living heritage of established traditions that remain dynamic and are evolving, and to pass on the skills and practical knowledge to future generations . . . The focus is on the process around the product, not the product.”
Hungary’s world-famous embroidery has a history of more than two hundred years. The Matyo type became popular in 1886. Matyo embroidery gained such a success that 400 women were sewing in a workshop in Mezőkövesd by 1911 to satisfy customer demands. By 1950, the manufacture was producing masses of blouses, textiles, and dolls. The most known motif of the clothing is the red rose.
According to the old myth, one time, the Devil kidnapped a Matyo bride’s groom and demanded a heap of roses as ransom. Unfortunately, it was in the middle of winter, so no flowers were blooming at the time. The clever maiden, however, sewed a bulk of red roses on her huge apron. The Devil liked the bride’s handiwork so much that he had no choice but to set the groom free, so they held the wedding without any problem.
To know more about the world-famous Hungarian embroidery, read our other articles on this topic:
- Matyo embroidery, a ransom to the Devil
- The art of sewn flowers – Kalocsa embroidery
- Embroidery — an underrated part of Hungarian culture
- Everything you should know about the UNESCO World Heritage Hungarian blueprint technique “kékfestés”
Fun fact: Hungary’s pottery-making tradition was nominated to UNESCO this year. It will be assessed in 2020.
Featured image: www.bokik.hu