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Ukrainian folk art has centuries-old traditions. Ukrainian weavers,
painters, wood-carvers, potters, carpet-makers and embroideresses are
well-known all over the Ukraine and abroad. Polk art in Ukraine is rich
in forms and design and varies from region to region. In Ukraine there
are a number of districts where folk arte and handicrafts have a
distinctly local character. The works of the craftsmen of the Dnieper
Basin, of Chernigiv Polissia and of the Hutsul folk masters are quite
different, beautiful in their own way and popular.

Folk art is closely connected with the customs of the people. The
endurance of tradition is illustrated by customs and rituals which are
still alive though their original meaning may be forgotten. The pisanka
Easter egg is still painted and the wedding loaf is still baked, but not
everybody knows that they are parts of ancient pagan cults.

There are many permanent forms and motifs, connected with these ancient
cults, in Ukrainian folk art. A moat common ornamental motif is the sun
sign which may be a simple circle, one may come across it in
wood-carving, in pisanka (Easter egg), in Hutsul metalware, on
embroidered towels (rushniks). The representations of horses and birds
are also very popular in Ukrainian traditional folk arts and
handicrafts. The old-time belief was that the bird served as a symbol of
peace and prosperity. The horse symbol was used to protect from the evil

Various kinds of artistic wood-carving have been known in Ukrainian
wood-lands since ancient times, especially in the foothills of the
Carpathians. Here, in many families the working of wood is a craft
handed down from generation to generation, the Shkribliaks and the
Korpaniuke from the village of Yavoriv, Ivano-Frankivsk Region are
especially well-known. Hundreds of master carvers have participated in
the decoration of various modern buildings. Thus, Hutsul wood-carvers
decorated several restaurants in Ivano-Frankivsk and Yaremcha.

In Ukraine the art of metal-working reached its highwater mark as early
as the tenth-twelfth centuries. But at that time it was located in
towns. Only at the end of the eighteenth century the craft spread to the
countryside. There appeared many craftsmen in the left-Bank regions,
Podillia and the Eastern Carpathians producing jewellery: rings,
earrings, ornamental buttons and dukachi necklets of gold and silver
coins. Hutsul folk craftsmen living in the Carpathian foothills continue
to use the traditional metal-working techniques that were used in the
18-th century to make such things as knives, forester1s axes, pin and
needle cases, tobacco pipes, timberboxes, chains, buttons, crosses and
so on.

The Ukrainians’ top popular arts and handicrafts have long been
embroidery, weaving and making of rugs and carpets. In olden days every
peasant woman knew how to embroider and do needlework. In fact she was
taught that from childhood. In Ukraine embroidery was used to ornament
clothes, table-linen and bed-linen and especially the rushnik towels.
Each place had its own particular methods for embroidering this or that
thing and its own colour scheme.

The rushnik towels were used to decorate the interior of the house, to
drape windows and the corner where the holy pictures were hung. They
were also used at different rituals. The weaving of rugs and hangings
was also a most popular craft in Ukraine. The traditional national kilim
was an element of interior decoration in every peasant house. It served
as wall hanging and table-cloth; the runner-type was spread over
benches, while smaller rugs carpeted seats. The main appeal of the kilim
lies in its exciting colour scheme. How kilims are mostly made at
carpet-making establishments, though in many villages in the Carpathians
peasant women still weave kilims at home. Kosiv and Kolomiya are famous
for their kilims all over Ukraine.

Nowadays there are changes in the way folk craftsmen are trained. There
are special art schools and enterprises in such traditional folk art
centres as Kosiv, Yavoriv, Vizhnitsya.

Various expositions and the permanent collections of the Kiev Museum of
Polk Decorative Art, the Lviv Museum of Ethnography and Handicrafts, the
Kolomiya Museum of Hutsul Art display treasures created by the people in
the course of many centuries.

ткач; wood-carver — різьбяр по дереву

potter – гончар; carpet-maker — килимар; handicraft — ремесло;

craftsman — ремісник; endurance of tradition — послідовність традиції;

custom – звичай; ritual — ритуал, обряд; Easter egg — писанка;

wedding loaf — весільний коровай;

ancient pagant cult — древній язичеський культ;

metalware — вироби з металу; representation — зображення;

highwater mark — найвище досягнення; finger ring — перстень;

earrings — сережки; dukachi necklet of gold and silver coins — намисто
із золотих та срібних монет; pin and needle case — коробка для голок;

timberbox — шкатулка; chain — ланцюг; top popular — найбільш популярний;
embroidery — вишивання; to decorate the interior of the house —
прикрашати інтер’єр будинку; holy picture — образ; wall hanging —
настінний килим; runner – доріжка; the main appeal of — головна

rural — сільський; ethnographic area — етнографічна зона;

present-day — сучасний; hut — хата; store-house — стодола;

workshop — майстерня.

Answer the following questions:

1. What handicrafts are the Ukrainians famous for? 2. What is folk art
closely connected with? 3. What are the most common ornamental motifs in
Ukrainian folk art? 4. What does the main appeal of the Ukrainian kilim
carpet lie in? 5. Where are special art schools and enterprises? 6.
Where can one find expositions and permanent collections of pieces of
Ukrainian folk art? 7. What kind of museum lives an idea of Ukrainian
folk architecture and rural life? 8. What ethnographic areas were formed
at the beginning of the 20-th century in the present-day western part of


The Hutsuls are a small ethnic sub-group of the Ukrainians who live in
the Eastern Carpathians. They lived isolated in the mountains and
developed quite distinctive crafts and forms of their own. Thick forest
gave them logs for buildings and for wood-carving, sheep gave them wool
for clothes and leather for their boots, bags and belts and they made
colourful hand-painted pottery of local clays. Some of the peasant
craftsmen achieved a high level of artistry.

The wooden buildings are perhaps among the Hutsuls greatest
achievements. Here we find a craftsman’s deep understanding of the
qualities of his material and a keen sense of proportion. ‘The log house
with its long verandah under one side of a wide overhanging roof is
typical for the Hutsuls. In olden times there was also a log fence
enclosing the front yard.

The Hutsul1s churches have always been planned like a cross and have a
tent-roofed tower. There are many remarkable variations, but this is the
typical Hutsul church.

The fame of the Carpathian wood-carvers since long has spread well
beyond their mountains. This craft grew out of the peasant’s natural
desire to decorate the things he used. Simple at first the carvings
became gradually more artistic and Hutsul carvers started using
different inlays — wood, horn, metal, mother-of-pearl.

Jewellery was, however, one of their most ancient crafts. Metal, mostly
brass, was important for decorating their traditional dress,
leatherwear, weapons, tobacco pipes and other things.

Their decorative towels, table-cloths , rugs and coverlets with the
characteristic pattern and embroidery are done in warm colours.

етнічна підгрупа; isolated — ізольований;

distinctive — особливий; colourful, hand-painted pottery — яскрава

розмальована вручну; local clay — місцева глина;

to achieve a high level of artistry — досягнути високого рівня

виконання; deep understanding of the qualities of his material – глибоке

розуміння якості матеріалу; a keen sense of proportion — гостре чуття

пропорцій; log house — зруб; overhanging roof — звислий дах;

to spread well beyond — поширитися далекo від …; since long – здавна;

inlay — мозаїчне вкраплення; mother-of-pearl — перламутр;

leatherwear — одяг із шкіри; coverlet — покривало, коц;

fluffy lizhnik rug — пухнастий ліжник.

Answer the following questions:

1. Where do the Hutsuls live? 2. What material do they use for their
crafts? 3. What are the Hutsuls’ top popular arts and handicrafts?
4. What kind of house may be considered typical for the Hutsuls? 5. What
inlays do Hutsul carvers use? 6. Is metal used by the Hutsuls to
decorate dress and leatherwear? 7. What do the Hutsuls decorate with

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