Carpet-making in the Ukraine
Carpet-making has developed in the Ukraine in ancient times. In the course of centuries the national style of Ukrainian carpet was formed and elaborated. The most typical Ukrainian carpets are napless with floral or geometrical ornamentation, woven by hand on vertical or horizontal wooden looms.
In early carpets the warp and the woof were wool. In the XIX century flax or hemp yarn were used for the warp of the carpet, and wool yarn for the woof. Such carpets were frequently woven by means of “combing” technique employing frequent alteration of threads of different colours. The pleasing shades of different colours were obtained by dying the wool with vegetable dyes, owing to which the carpets are distinguished by exceptional harmony of colouring.
The museum possesses a collection of Ukrainian carpets which is unexcelled as to completeness and artistic worth.
The finest carpets of the XVIII — XIX centuries are on show in the halls of the pre-Soviet period. Here one can see Kiev carpets of the beginning of the XIX century, Poltava carpets, expressive and exceptionally rich in colour, Podilian picture carpets, among them a particularly interesting carpet of the beginning of the XIX century entitled “Human Tears”, as well as Volynian and Hutsul carpets.
Ukrainian carpets, despite common stylistic features, show considerable local distinctions. Thus, Podilian carpets are distinguished by a floral and geometrical pattern: Poltava carpets by sumptuous floral design and Hutsul carpets by geometrical patterns.
In the ornamentation of the carpets there arose an intrinsic pattern of stars, rossettes, increasing rhomboid figures and other geometrical motifs, with patterns of floral ornaments — stylized flowers, trees, legendary birds — all of which make up beautiful ornamental compositions.
Unfortunately, the names of the folk craftsmen, the creators of this wonderful art, are unknown to us, as in general, are unknown the names of the masters of folk art of the pre-Soviet times.
At the beginning of the XX century the art of traditional carpet-weaving fell into decay in the Ukraine. It was supplanted by factory-made carpets, cheaper but much more inferior in their artistic value.
In Soviet times the art of Ukrainian carpet-making was not only revived, but considerably extended and perfected. The production of carpets has assumed state importance.
In close creative cooperation with artists the folk craftsmen produce new carpets, using themes which reflect our beautiful socialist reality. A particularly representative thematic carpet is the one entitled “Soviet Ukraine”, designed by the artists Maria and Ivan Lytovchenko and executed by craftsmen of “The 8th of March” Factory in the village Dihtyari Chernigiv Region.
The buoyant colours, the optimistic subject of the carpet show the flourishing of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic.
The museum exposition of the Soviet period opens with monumental carpet portraits of Karl Marks and Vladimir Ilyich Lenin. These carpets are creations of the talented folk weavers from the village Dihtyari in Chernigiv Region.
Soviet carpet weavers have dedicated many of their works to V. I. Lenin. They strive to recreate the beloved image of Lenin such as it lives in the hearts of our countrymen and all progressive people. The sublime image of the great leader and our magnificent present-day life are lovingly depicted in diversified materials and art forms by our folk craftsmen.In modern carpets the traditional forms of ornamental floral composition are frequently associated with Soviet emblems. Instances of this are the carpets “Sickle and Hammer”, “Ukrainian State Emblem”, the carpet with a star and others produced by Poltava carpct weavers of the Clara Zetkin Factory.
The artists Maria and Ivan Litovchenko and the Dihtyari folk craftsmen have also created a monumental carpct dedicated to Taras Shevchenko. In this work of art the subject of the carpet blends very aptly writh the ornament.
The Soviet craftsmen, being familiar with the ornamentation and weaving technique of the old Ukrainian carpet, have produced excellent specimens of new ornamental carpets distinguished by a wrealth of colour combinations and faultless technical execution.
A light floral ornament, delicate soft colours, skilfully proportioned designs are typical features of the Poltava carpets executed from the sketches by artists Nadiya Babenko and Leonid Tovstukha. The carpets, produced by the craftsmen of “The 8th of March” Factory in Chernigiv Region are in no way inferior to the Poltava carpets in artistry. Of laconic composition and pleasing colours, the Chernigiv carpets are works of superior craftsmanship.
An interesting and original group in the exposition of the Museum are the works of the craftsmen of the village Glinyani, Lviv Region, and the town of Kosiv, Ivano-Frankivsk Region. They consist of napless carpets, bench covers, fluffy bed-covers, as wrell as napped carpets decorated with an ornament of geometrical pattern. They are distinguished by rhythmically arranged expressive designs and gay colours.
Definite ethnographic districts have been formed in the Ukraine, in which carpet weaving has been practiced from ancient times — e. g. in Reshetilivka, Opishnya and Sanzhari, Poltava Region; in Klembivka, Vinnitsa Region; in Kosiv, Ivano-Frankivsk Region, and in Glinyani, Lviv Region. The carpets are named for the regions in wrhich they are rnade-Poltava, Podilian, Hutsul and other carpets.
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