ASTRA Museum of Traditional Civilization – Collections

The collections of the Museum of Transylvanian Civilization are varied, including: textile holders, embroideries, dolls; religious art objects – icons, decorated eggs, masks, wooden objects, bone, iron and ceramics. Approximately 20% of the total heritage objects, more precisely 9002 pieces, are registered under the “A” logo, certainly coming from the heritage of the Association Museum. The museum also includes the collection belonging to the Dr. Telea Bologa Memorial Cultural Center from Noul Român village, Arpașu de Jos.

The Textile Collection of the ASTRA Museum of Transylvanian Civilization, has gradually enriched, and today includes representative pieces, reflecting all ethnographic areas of the country, giving us the opportunity to have a clear picture of the traditional Romanian costume and how to organize the interior of the peasant household. The Museum in Sibiu has women’s, men’s and children’s folk wear: for the head (black cloth, kerchief, veil, pahiol, wrap, hat, topper, headgear, etc.), clothing that covers the part upper body: women’s shirt: with “lace”, with lace cuff, straight or with a pinch, men’s shirt: with lapels, petticoat, waistcoat, clogged and split waistcoat, coat, mantle, suman), clothing covering the lower part of the body (skirt, apron, drawers, etc), footwear parts for heating the middle (belts), ornaments(necklaces, rings, murano beads).

Embroidery Collection The ASTRA Museum manages one of the richest embroidery collections in the country, about 10.000 goods. Most of them are sewn separately, on canvas, and known in terms of location, technique, ornamentation and the origin of the pieces. Most of the embroideries come from Transylvania (Sibiu Area, more precisely Mărginimea Sibiului, 1.917 models; Ţara Oltului, 2.949 models; Ţara Bârsei, 583 models, etc.) and Banat. Of these, 270 models were collected by Dimitrie Comşa and published in the album: “From Romanian decoration”, Sibiu, 1904. The pieces in the collection represent: stitch patterns, each separately on canvas: motifs placed on women’s shirts (approximately 1800 show motifs found on the shirts from Sibiu area), along the sleeve, on the chest, worked in crosses, in lines, torn in point, sewn on the back, with warp, on wrinkle, threads pulled out, over the needle, after the needle, they also appear combined, such as: in crosses and broken stitches, crosses and over the needle, lines and upside down, patterns of fur stitches embroidered on the machine.

The collection of peasant religious art includes icons painted on wood and glass, crosses, stone seals, woodcuts, church scents. The icons in the museum’s collection, painted on wood or glass, respect the Byzantine iconographic themes, although sometimes the way of interpretation is creative. The main icon centers represented in the museum’s collection are those in Nicula and Gherla – Cluj, Laz and Lancrăm – Alba, Şcheii Braşovului and Făgăraş – Braşov, Mărginimea Sibiului and Sibiu. Among the iconographers are Savu Moga from Arpaş and Matei Purcăriu Ţâmforea from Cârţişoara.

The museum’s heritage also includes important pieces that make up the props of the habits from the life cycle or those from the past year. The most numerous category of objects is the penned eggs, which come to testify about a craft once practiced all over the country. These “little masterpieces” speak of the mastery and faith of those who created them. The most interesting pieces come from the north of Moldova and Vrancea area. In the ASTRA Collection we find eggs decorated by Bran or from the Oltenia area, especially great for the simplicity and nobility of the harmonies of red, yellow, black and white.

Wood Collection. Bone. Iron is representative for the entire Romanian space, having pieces with the most diverse use in the multiple fields of human activity. The collection has a large number of tools for various traditional occupations: tools or components used in agriculture (wooden plows, hone, yokes, saddles), for harvesting (blueberry rakes and hazelnut smashing object), in beekeeping (beehives for hunting bees), hunting (bone horns for gunpowder), weaving and processing of fibers (looms, loom rolls, shuttles, threads, twigs, warpers). Pastoral instruments have a great artistic value due to their shapes, proportions and decoration. The cuffs are very special, made of a single piece of wood and decorated with geometric motifs in relief. The puppet patterns, the round or rectangular gingerbread or butter patterns, are decorated with deep notches in geometric and / or vegetable shapes, strongly stylized. To these are added the shepherd’s cudgels and the various vessels from the sheepfold: milking cups, buckets.

The ASTRA Museum of Transylvanian Civilization is the manager of one of the most representative collections of spinning forks in the country, formed by Octavian Tăslăuanu, a prominent figure of Romanian culture. Also, there are real pieces of furniture, a great importance having the Transylvanian painted furniture: dowry crates, cupboards for dishes or food. Whistle tools also predominate: whistles, bagpipes, panpipes, horns, ocarinas, but also instruments with strings: violins, lutes.

The ceramics collection was gradually enriched, including representative pieces for pottery centers, today disappeared from the ethnographic map of Romania. The existing pieces in the collection are made in different techniques: shaped by hand, shaped by wheel or by pressing into patterns. We find in the collection: ceramics “with a belt” from Biniş, Baia Mare, Oboga or Curtea de Argeş; pre-burned vessels from Bihor and Banat; pottery painted with the horn and brush from Vlădeşti, Horezu, Leheceni, Târgu Lăpuş, Vama, Valea Izei; ceramics printed with the “wheel” from Marginea; ceramics “with seals” from Oboga and Romania; stone-polished vessels from Marginea, Poiana Deleni and Săcel; pottery from Vlădeşti. The ASTRA Museum of Transylvanian Civilization also has the inventory of the potter’s workshop: modeling wheel, trowel, horn, grinder, etc.

Collection of Documentary Graphics and Clichés on Glass In a world always in a hurry, in which everything passes through us and next to us, photography is the only way to capture Time, to suspend it. The Collection of Documentary Graphics and Glass Clichés from the ASTRA Museum Collection, offers us a piece of Time immortalized on photographic paper or on fragile pieces of glass.

Captured in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries photographs and clichés made by famous photographers such as Emil and Josef Fischer, Kamilla Asbóth, Theodor Glatz, Alexander Rosu, Carol Szathmari, Leopold Adler, Rudolf Czeck, Friedrich Kröpfel, Alex. Maierhofer or August Meinhardt, immortalizes the Romanian village, especially the Transylvanian one, in all its aspects. True artists, photographers (re) build in their workshops idyllic landscapes, in which Romanians, Saxons, Hungarians and Roma present their refined folk costumes “posing” in various ways detached from everyday life.

The special documentary value of the collection lies in the diversity of images captured outside the workshops, where the real life of the peasants takes place, on the streets of the villages, at the church gates, on the porch of the houses and at the fountains in the crossroads.

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