EVERLASTING TRADITIONAL ART IN TWO PROVINCES ON THE BORDER OF GREATER ROMANIA

The ethnographic pieces cover the areas of Bessarabia and Crisana that were provinces of Greater Romania a while ago. History has chosen a short life for this territorial belonging. Even so, history or maps drawn by political interests are not always taken into account by territorial identity. Furthermore, political borders never turn into spiritual boundaries. Today’s Europe can no longer be one of distracting nostalgia or stuck in an imaginary past asymmetrically placed with the political and cultural realities of today. Being Romanian now, at the anniversary, means above all – for the people beyond the Prut as well – to be realistic. And we can be realistic by avoiding the sentimentalism, but not without remembering that we share a common spiritual language – that we belong to the same spiritual area, the same area of civilization and culture.
Two distant provinces, two “edges”, which share many things. The ceramics (household items), traditional furniture, items of daily use, huckback towels, tablecloths, as well as the traditiona costumes (blouses, skirts, sheepskin coats, coarse-stuff coats) are valuable items for the peasant households in Crişana and Bessarabia, but also bearing an intrinsic artistic value, an aesthetic dimension. The almost unitary symbolism of the two areas is self-evident. The cosmic, phytomorphic, zoomorphic or anthropomorphic motifs, as well as the abstract ornamental motifs (points, lines, geometric figures), have specific differences but the western part of Romania and the present Republic of Moldova are still brought together by a certain unity. Romanian soul stays the same wherever it may live, beyond the hardships of time. The art of the Romanian traditional ornaments demonstrate the truth in Ernest Bernea’s writings even since 1941: “The artistic element is always present, without being required by the function of the object. The house, the gate, the spoon or the embroidered blouse are adorned with motifs chosen from an inner need that is no other than the need for beauty. The Romanian peasant lives deeply the need for beauty”.
The exhibition shows objects coming from two border provinces that have been constantly under the tensions and incongruities of history, they are like two brackets that do not enclose something but include the whole range of Romanian spirituality and feeling. If we accept to see this interval as the foundation of the past we must also build the future accordingly. That is why such an exhibition expresses a hermeneutical harshness as well as a nobleness of our unity. Nicolae Iorga’s statement is famous: “A nation that does not know of its tradition is like a child who does not know of his parents”. But bringing together all these pieces, we do more than know of our tradition and of our parents: we re-know ourselves, we find each other in every corner of the country. In shifting and troubled times, it is a duty that we have taken over from past generations, that of constant rediscovery, which places us in that range of spirituality and feeling we were talking about. And this is, to the end, the second, hidden, symbolism of the exhibition – not just to remember where we come from, but also where we should go.