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Bulgarian fabrics - traditions and development, part 1

Българските тъкани - традиции и развитие

"That's how they started making a fight once. The oak bought material, and Korchan forbade his hands to work. " - Elin Pelin, "The Windmill"

The Bulgarian people have interesting observations and practice in the extraction of dyes of plant and organic origin. In some settlements the main dyes and their shades, which are used, exceed 50. This wealth is evidenced by the numerous embroideries and fabrics. The variety is the result not only of the large number of dyes, but also of their different consistency. The Thracians, Slavs and Proto-Bulgarians had their own traditions in the processing of textile raw materials and in weaving techniques. This is proved both by the archeological finds of clay vertebrae (weights for spindles and looms) and by the continuity in the processing of flax and hemp, as well as by the information found in the travelogues of the Arab travelers from the IX - X century (Cherkezova, 1981). , 120 et seq.). The Bulgarian type of fabrics was formed on these three traditions - Slavic, Thracian and Proto-Bulgarian, influenced to some extent by the Greco-Roman culture. They are diverse, but have a common national specificity. During the Renaissance, textile production began to free itself from its domestic character. The Bulgarian turned the mountain settlements, in which he was pushed out during the violence, epidemics and riots in the empire (XVII - XVIII century), into economic centers, where the production of fabrics acquired a commodity character. This rise led to the formation of weaving in a separate craft, on the basis of which later manufactory production was built. In the past, the Bulgarian woman used to prepare the family's clothes and part of the furniture at home. The fabrics are made of linen, hemp, wool, cotton and silk. Herodotus mentions that the Thracians grew flax.

Българските тъкани - традиции и развитие

This is evidenced by the remains of fabrics found near Kadin Bridge, Kyustendil region. The Slavs knew the processing of flax before they settled on the Balkan Peninsula. The proto-Bulgarians entered the houses of prayer with their heads covered. The towels they used for this purpose were linen. That is why after the christening of the Bulgarians in one of the answers that Pope Nicholas gave to Tsar Boris in 866, it is said: “You claim that the Greeks forbid you to enter the church with a linen bandage that you wear on your head. . . ”. The cultivation of flax continued during the Second Bulgarian State, the Ottoman yoke and the Revival, although cotton largely replaced linen fabrics. Hemp cultivation begins later. According to Herodotus, this was done by the Scythians and Thracians, from whom it was distributed among the Slavs and throughout Russia, as well as to Italy and Sicily. In the 5th century BC it was grown on the Black Sea coast. Over time, hemp replaced flax in Bulgaria. Cotton penetrated the Bulgarian lands in the 14th century, brought by the Turks as a new raw material for fabrics, the cultivation of which is concentrated in Haskovo, Plovdiv, Pazardzhik, Sersk, Drama, Skopje and Veles. Initially, it was cleaned of seeds by hand. Subsequently, the Bulgarian constructed the so-called magani - devices consisting of two rollers, which made it easier. The next processing of the cotton is its breaking, denoted as trumpeting, stevasare and respectively the men performing this process - drandari, stevasari. With the help of bows and wooden bats, they smashed, stretched the cotton until it was ready for spinning. In more recent times, cotton is also dragged on mechanized gifts. There is information about silk in the Bulgarian lands from the 12th century. The main raw material for the preparation of Bulgarian home fabrics is wool. The wool is handled exclusively by the woman. Only shearing the sheep and beating the woven fabrics was a man's job, but sometimes it was done by women in Bulgaria. After shearing the wool, it was cleaned of thorns and sticks stuck to the sheep's fleece. It was then soaked in boiling water to dissolve the sulfur, ie the fat. It was then washed in plenty of running water and dried in the sun. In the Sofia, Kyustendil and Samokov regions, washing takes place in baskets called pulpas.

Българските тъкани - традиции и развитие

This is followed by combing with hands and stretching a homemade gift or combing with a comb. The layers that are pulled out are called hair, plasi, and what remains under the daraka is called shtim. The smallest wastes from the stretching of the wool are called small. The spinning of the wool is done with hurka and wooden spindles, which are of two types - with a groove or with a tread, ie with a head. In addition to the ordinary spindle used to spin a hurka, there is a larger spindle called a pendulum. The spinning material, called a bandage, is placed on the hurka. There are three types of hurkas: belts, which are attached to the belt; hand or irons held in the left hand and stands standing on the ground or on stands. The wheel, the ore, penetrated Bulgaria during the Revival and spread initially in the cities.

Българските тъкани - традиции и развитие

The technical processing of hemp and flax is the same. After ripening, they are plucked, tied in small bundles and melted in puddles called melts, or in the river, where they stay for a week. Sheaves are called handfuls, and this name is sometimes used to denote hemp in general. When the sheaves of hemp or flax are dry, they are hammered to make the powder fall (the wood part). The pounding itself is referred to as grinding or grinding, hence the name of the device for performing this process - bill of exchange, mill. This is how the bandage is made. Spinning is done like wool.

The oldest fabrics were made in the natural color of textile raw materials. Fabrics made of wool, fur and hemp in natural colors can still be seen in the settlements of Stara Planina, Strandzha and the Rhodopes. In most cases, the yarn is dyed after spinning. In the newer weaving practice, colored fabrics predominate. There are two ways of painting: with natural and chemical dyes.

Until the end of the 19th century, there are still ancient specimens of dug-in looms or stakes, which in the settlements on the Danube coast are known as cellars. These looms do not have movable frames, but consist of beams driven into the ground. In form and name the dug camp is directly connected with the corresponding type of horizontal camp in all Slavic peoples.

Until the end of the 19th century, some primitive methods of weaving have been preserved, which represent the earliest stage in the historical development of this process or are a transition from knitting to weaving. These are hand-woven apron belts, bag ties, baby swings, bandages and more. In addition to the hand, the narrow ornamented belts are woven with the help of bark or leather - wooden or leather squares with holes in the four ends in which the base is passed. (Cherkezova, 1981, 123). The classic weaving techniques are in two varieties: with two and with four threads (Veleva - Venedikova, 1967, 32 - 38).

Bulgarians know different weaving techniques: tearing, picking, developed on the basis of mainly cast fabric; technique with which carpets, gubernias, kitenitsi and yambolii are made. In some regions of the country, such as Haskovo, Transko and others. the stitching, bending technique is practiced. It is a variety of cast fabric. After weaving the canvas, which is mainly white fabric, in the past it was practiced and its additional bleaching and repeated beating with a bat.

The woolen fabrics were beaten, which resulted in greater compaction and hairiness. For this purpose, tepavits were built along the rivers, driven by the water jet. Coarse woolen and fur fabrics intended for bedding or duvets are rolled into rollers, during which the fabric is compacted and carded. Such rolled fabrics are called blankets and rugs.

Author: Stefan Bonev

Sources: Hr. Vakarelski, "Ethnography of Bulgaria"

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