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From the sheepfold to the hora!


Astra Museum





From the sheepfold to the hora!

Nine types of handicraft workshops will be organised in eight locations in the Open Air Museum in Dumbrava Sibiului, from 22 to 27 September, from 11:00 to 17:00. Among the workshops organised here are music and dance, pottery, pottery burning, making wooden agricultural tools, making furniture for food preservation, archaeology and cultural animations (Jandarmul Rural). All this will be under the aegis of the cultural project Animă ASTRA!

 "The Animate ASTRA! project sends a constructive message in the context of The European Year of Skills 2023, promoting craftsmen with indisputable practical and theoretical skills. Craftsmen and traditional crafts specific to each area are directions for the development of sustainable cultural tourism", said Lucian Robu, Director of the Open Air Museum in Dumbrava Sibiului.

"Autumn is coming on, the days are getting cooler, and the shepherds are preparing their packs with the tools from the sheepfold and putting them on the donkeys and horses ready to go down with the herd to the valley. They are left without groats, meadows without sheep, streams without woodpeckers, and they go and come no more until St. Constantine. Arriving with the flock in the village, the shepherds are reunited with their loved ones and the boys meet their sweethearts at the place of game and horde, for a drink and a chat where they conclude their accounts with the villagers who have had the sheep given to the sheepfold, the sheep raking. The villagers celebrate the shepherds who have grazed their sheep, receiving from them the sheep and cheese due to them during the 4 months of grazing in the mountains. The event dedicated to the descent of the sheep from the mountain also marks the relationship between rural and urban in traditional society. Autumn was the season of the urban fairs, when shepherds could sell the products of the sheep's milk prepared during the summer by bringing them to the fairs of Sibiu. The tools used to store and process milk in the sheepfolds of yesteryear also have their own history. It was made from doage, by the Moorish cowherds, who sold their wares in the villages and rural fairs on their wagon-loaded wanderings. There they found hosts for the periods when they were selling their products or repairing the vessels that were indispensable to the work of the herdsmen. Thus, visitors will be able to discover the story of these objects, participating in the workshops of making the tools of the shepherd, but they will also become familiar with the traditional practices of making other models of household objects that are still sustainable today in the household and in the contemporary kitchen", said Raluca Iliuț, ASTRA Museum museographer.

The re-enactment of the custom of bringing down the sheep from the mountain area, held in the Open Air Museum on 24 September from 12 noon, is accompanied by music and good cheer. The show will be presented by Traian Stoiță, supported by the Traditional Romanian Music Group "Junii", the Folk Ensemble "Purtata Secașelor", Daniela Carmen Popa, Sebastian Stan, Murdășan Codrin, Popescu Gabriel, Răulea Adrian Vasile, Folk Group "Doruri sibiene", Izabela Tomița, Folk Ensemble "Ceata Junilor", Traian Stoiță, Fanfare Neppendorfer Blaskapelle, Folk Group Nunta Ciobănească Rășinari and Fluierașii din Boița.

From 22 to 27 September 2023, from 11.00 to 17.00, the following workshops will take place:
- music and dance, 24 September, Rășinari stable at 12.00, Country Fair from 13.00.00
- pottery and the making of utilitarian objects from ceramics / clay firing methods at the potters' farms in Obârșa (Hunedoara county) 22 - 23 September and Găleșoaia (Gorj county), 22 - 24 September.
- making household and agricultural tools used in the urban garden in Crângul in the Apuseni, 23 September.
- making of archaic furniture for food preservation, 24 September, Country Fair.
- animations/cultural scenes illustrating important characters in the rural world during the 19th-20th centuries, the rural jandarmul, 24 September, Jina pavilion (Sibiu county)
- experimental archaeology in the Metalworking sector, 22 - 23 September (textile thread processing, 22 - 27 September pottery, leatherwork, woodworking).

Vadu Crișului (Bihor county) is a ceramic centre with a multi-secular tradition, with a legendary reputation over the ages for the unique clay vessels made here. The uniqueness is represented by the specific properties of the clay in the vicinity of the locality, which, when fired, produces a white ceramic unique in Europe. Among those who carry on the tradition of pottery here is Petru Hașaș, descendant of a long line of potters, with a rich and sustained activity in working the potter's wheel. Alongside him, the young Emanuel Poli continues the tradition of pottery in Vadu Crișului, carrying on its story. The two potters will make known the history of the legendary pottery centre, for the first time to the public of the ASTRA Museum, by means of demonstrative workshops, held on Friday (22 September) and Saturday (23 September) in the vicinity of the pottery farm in Obârșia (Hunedoara county) within the pottery sector.

Marcel Tănăsie is already well known to visitors of the ASTRA Museum promoting the rich heritage of the art of clay modelling in Mehedinți, illustrated by the ceramic centres of Șisești and Noapteșa in numerous events organised in the museum. The potter will return here, where he will also carry out the process of firing clay pots in a traditional pot-burning kiln. The potter can be seen at work from Friday to Sunday (22-24 September) at the pottery farm in Găleșoaia (Gorj county). 

Sunday 24 September 2023, starting at 12.00 noon, in the Jina play pavilion area, the rural policeman, the head of the post at the beginning of the 20th century, in a replica of a period uniform, will reappear to restore order among the shepherds who recently descended from the mountains with their sheep. The shepherds,started talking and drinking in the village at the hora, happy to see their family and their lovers. The postmaster must have been well acquainted with the village and its inhabitants.

Experimental archaeology workshops supported by the Castra Barbarorum Association is a programme dedicated to the communication of archaeological heritage, through the illustration of workshops of historical re-enactments of ancient crafts: pottery, processing of textile irons, leather crafting, woodworking.

The cultural project Animate ASTRA is co-funded by the Municipality of Sibiu through the Cultural Agenda 2023. Thus, Sibiu City Hall supports programmes dedicated to communicating the communities' heritage and craft values.

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