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December 17, 2018

Romania - Piatra Neamț - The Neolithic Cucuteni Art Museum

Long time ago, the part of Romania where I come from was occupied by a civilisation we now call Cucuteni. Little is known about this civilisation, except maybe that they were worshippers of the Goddess and they were skilled in pottery.

Wikipedia offers an extended page telling you a lot about this civilisation, including their diet, but I am here to tell you about a special museum located in Piatra Neamț, in northern part of Romania. To my knowledge this is the most extended museum dedicated to Cucuteni Culture and if you have the time or curiosity to visit it, I can almost guarantee You will be impressed.

As it happened I went there with my friends, a group of women shaping the image of Romania today, by discovering its ancient traditions and bringing them to life. They are making the incredible blouses which I've exhibited at the beginning of this year in Luxembourg.

What I found amazing about this museum and about Cucuteni in general is that the more they discover about this civilisation, the more it is hidden. They could very well have been using metals before the metals were even discovered, they made their own cloth and had looms before the whole Europe knew what looms were, the symbols on their pottery are almost impossible to trace without tools which we only now possess, they worshipped this Goddess which we now discover and contest, as patriarchal as we are, so even after I've visited the museum in Cucuteni, Iași and this one in Neamț, I'm no wiser about this civilisation, but more intrigued.
I was impressed by the Goddess though. At the museum in Neamț there is a whole room dedicated to her, there is an ensemble of 21 goddesses which were hidden for 6900 years underground until they were discovered in 1981. 15 of them are painted with red and 6 are unpainted, one is the leader as she is the only one with her hand raised, they are sitting. Is it a rituallic gathering? We don't know. Why 21? We again don't know, but similar formations were discovered in three other places so it must mean something. Why 15 and 6? What are the markings they bear? We don't know.
And then there is her. The symbol on her belly we now translate as something with seeds and pointing out that it must mean fertility, of the woman, of the land, we again only speculate. 
To me, from a distance, these looked like spindles, but they are again the representation of this goddess. 
The ram horns and the W, symbols or masculine power, or are they?
People painted on a vessel 


Those spindles as I've called them were found inside a vessel in a similar formation. Why were they hidden?



At some point you have to stop wondering and accept.
They are a civilisation unknown, named after the first place where we discovered their artefacts. They might as well be called in another way, but we will never know. What they left us, though, is valuable and we have to cherish and teach our children and they in their turn will ask questions and then accept. We have to accept that some time, long ago, we were a flourishing civilisation governed by women, we produced these amazing pottery and we worked the land and made cloth and blouses and that all is a round circle.
I know most of my friends here will spend the Winter Holidays in Romania, so why not make a trip to this amazing museum and see these objects by yourself? Piatra Neamț is a lovely little place tucked around the mountains. Have a go, see if you like it!
I hope you loved reading this post as much as I loved putting it together! Also, if you fancy keeping in contact with me, drop a line at Dichisuri.ro on Facebook. 
Raluca

December 14, 2018

Austria - 24 hours in Vienna around Christmas

For me Vienna will always be the home of Hundertwasser no matter how many times I would visit that city and no matter now many artists my husband points out to me in museums. Vienna holds a special meaning, because it was one of the first cities I've visited outside Romania and from the whole that is Vienna I chose the colourful part.

So my 24 hours have to start at Kunst Haus Wien a museum I only discovered during this visit, as I previously known it as just a coffee house. I've looked through their website and it seems they only opened the extended museum in 2015 or something similar, otherwise I think I would have visited it before.  
The front of the museum looks like that and it is only 500 metres away from Hundertwasser's House 
As it was not that crowded I took the opportunity to pose in front of the museum...
...and match my outfit with the columns 
Next stop had to be the Hundertwasser's House, an apartment complex. It is exactly as I've remembered it, colourful and playful and mostly Eco.  
Another picture with a column, this time at Hundertwasser House
A short metro trip later and we were in front of St. Stephen Cathedral, with its own Christmas Market and with a lot of small restaurants serving Wiener Schnitzels.
As the sun started to set we took to the streets to discover hidden corners of the city. This one looked particularly nice
And then there were the Christmas shops 
And the Christmas Markets 
This one, next to Karl's Church is dedicated to little creators and everything sold there is hand made. You can have a chat with the artists and buy unique gifts for your loved ones
But the biggest Christmas Market has to be the one in front of the Rathaus (City Hall) 
There you can find classic Christmas ornaments
or the not so classic ones 
or my favourite, the ceramic ones. 

You can visit the ice-skating ring or take a picture with the decorated trees
The Christmas Market at the Rathaus in Vienna is one of the most beautiful in Europe 
Then slowly, but surely your 24 hours in Vienna are coming to an end.
Taking one last look at the decorated city, 
having one last zip of mulled wine 
and buying the one last decoration you have to have, you pack your bags and head home.
From Luxembourg this time of year you have three flights to Vienna a day and no excuse to spent at least 24 hours there.
I hope you loved reading this post as much as I loved putting it together! Also, if you fancy keeping in contact with me, drop a line at Dichisuri.ro on Facebook. 
Raluca

December 4, 2018

Austria - Hello Vienna, my old friend!

Living in Romania, Vienna was the closest "real European capital". Sure Budapest was nice, too, but for me Vienna meant elegance, luxury without the flashiness, well behaved people, things that somehow I believed belonged in the west. See, I was raised in the communist part of Europe and was somehow inoculated with the dream of jumping the fence, of being free. I was 10 when the communist regime fell and let's be honest I did not suffer as much, because I was little and everything was a game to me, hiding to listen to the radio, queuing for hours for oranges, wearing the same clothes as everyone (maybe that's why I rebel now?), having little and hardly obtained consistent food.
My first country visited was the Republic of Moldova and to me it looked similar to Romania, then Hungary, it was different, but still the same, but then again Austria...Vienna was from a dream, everything was tidy and clean, the statues, the cathedral, people were well dressed, I don't know, I can't explain it. I only had that feeling with Luxembourg when I first passed by here more than 10 years ago, when you could still see Luxembourgish people on the streets, now Luxembourg is common, to me.

And as impressed I was with Vienna in the summer, coming Christmas time it simply looked from a fairy tale. Now we have gorgeous Christmas markets in Bucharest or the major cities as well, but back then to book a trip to Vienna during Christmas was the dream. Christmas after Christmas passed, I moved to Dublin and then to this part of Europe and I got used with Christmas Markets. Now the Trier one or the whole Alsace region during Christmas are more lovely than anything I could experience in Vienna, but Vienna is that childhood memory, that you cherish no matter how many memories you have.

So this year, after I think more than 10 years I will be in Vienna during Christmas market. Will I find it different? We shall see.

Stay close to my Instagram as I tend to post there more often and also check my InstaStories. There will be three days in Vienna and I've packed them with a lot of nice things to do, see and experience.

Hello Vienna, my old friend!

December 3, 2018

România - Piatra Neamț - Expoziția și albumul ”IA Neamțului”

It's been three months since my last post in Romanian and as it happens it was also about a exhibition of Romanian Blouses. This time I went to a town in Moldova region of Romania to see a special exhibition. It is called "IA Neamtului" and it hosts blouses made this year, replicas of old blouses from villages in Neamț region. The exhibition is special because it is the only one, to my knowledge, that goes so deep in analysing a certain region. The blouses exhibited are from villages in Neamț and a village is the smallest territorial division in Romania. Just by looking at the pictures you could see the variety of patterns used, of shapes of the blouses and of colours. I would have been very sad to miss this exhibition and the album related to the exhibition, but planets aligned and at the end of November I went to Romania. The rest would be in my native tongue, but I hope you will like my post.

***

Dragilor, vă povestesc astăzi despre o expoziție eveniment al cărei vernisaj a avut loc pe 23 noiembrie la Muzeul de Artă din Piatra Neamț. Mă consider super norocoasă că am putut ajunge, pentru că până cu vreo săptămână înainte nu știam dacă voi reuși. De ce am făcut acest efort? Pentru că mi se pare esențial pentru cineva care (la fel ca mine) se declară pasionat de cămășile românești să bifeze cele 4-5 evenimente cu această temă ce au loc în fiecare an.
Acum dacă știți bine, dacă nu, vă spun eu, deși pare că iile de Moldova sunt deja cunoscute, de fapt când vorbim de Moldova vorbim în general de Suceava și de Bucovina care acum e la ucrainieni și mai vorbim de Vrancea. Și dacă ați avut curiozitatea sa ajungeți la Muzeul Etnografic al Moldovei de la Palatul Culturii din Iași, ați văzut, probabil că astea sunt regiunile cel mai bine reprezentate.

Vorbim în schimb mai puțin de Neamț, Iași, Bacău, fiecare din diferite motive. Iașul de exemplu a fost târg, o zonă influențabilă de către vecini, o zonă de schimburi culturale și economice, o zonă mai săracă din punct de vedere etnografic. Însă, Neamțul...ei bine de la Neamț eu am pretenții. În Neamț există motivul meu preferat, Cucuteniul, în Neamț sunt romburile, culorile pământii, coloanele, zeițele, cheițele între altiță și încreț. Neamțul a influențat poate cel mai mult Iașul, așa că înțelegeți acum de ce eu țineam musai sa ajung la expoziție?

Pe lângă valoarea ei în timpul prezent, pe lângă munca depusă pentru a aduce aceste cămăși la lumină, pe lângă efortul organizatorilor de a ne simți ca în puf, interesul meu personal pentru expoziție a fost cel care m-a făcut să plec de acasă.

Două vorbe se cer spuse. Expoziția a fost posibilă datorită efortului comun al Complexului Muzeal Neamț și al doamnelor din Șezătoare de Piatra Neamț, grup desprins din Semne Cusute. Expoziția a fost o Aidoma la scară mai mică, pentru că principiul a fost similar. Au fost scoase din depozitele Muzeului de Etnografie mai multe cămăși vechi, iar doamnele din șezătoare le-au studiat și le-au cusut replici actuale, folosindu-se de o riguroasă documentare și de materialele din prezent. Au ieșit astfel 20 de cămăși, replici ale celor vechi, dar la fel de valoroase.

După părerea mea, valoarea expoziției a fost dată de specificitatea ei. Practic cele 20 de cămăși provin din 14 sate aflate pe teritoriul județului Neamț. Astfel, în momentul în care expoziția este vizitată, pe lângă paralela dintre vechi și nou (cămășile sunt expuse într-o sală mare, de o parte cele vechi, în oglindă cele noi), se nasc întrebările. Eu am avut norocul de a vizita expoziția ghidată de prietena mea, Antoanela Iordache, cea care a cusut o cămașă de Bicaz din 1900, și care mi-a explicat de ce în anume sate au existat anume influențe, ce sate sunt apropiate și acea apropiere se vede în culorile similare folosite, de ce unele cămăși au anume croiuri, însă toate astea trebuie să le descoperiți singuri când veți vizita (sper) expoziția din Piatra Neamț.

Nemțișor din 2018
Eu una cred că îmi lipsește ceva sau poate sunt eu atrasă de lucrurile ieșite din tipare, nu știu. Dacă la IA Aevea la Sibiu eu am fost atrasă de cămașa de lucru, din cânepă a Ioanei Corduneanu (deși venisem chitită să văd cămașa de Neamț a Danielei Ivu), aici am fost atrasă de o cămașă albă din Nemțișor cusută de Luminița Ghilea, deși venisem să văd cămașa Antonelei de Bicaz. Cămașa de Nemțișor te atrage. Intrigată de lipsa culorilor m-am apropiat și m-a prins ca într-o vrajă. Aș fi vrut să o ating, să o privesc în detaliu, bogăția ei este dată de bogăția cusăturilor și mai puțin de bogăția culorilor, nici măcar nu e o cămașă de tip carpatic, e o cămașă cu platcă, sincer nu știu ce m-a apucat.

Desigur toate cămășile sunt speciale, toate sunt foarte bine lucrate, toate pictează tabloul femeilor de Neamț care își cos cămăși în anul 2018, iar expoziția ca un tot este o realizare fără precedent, însă inima mea a rămas la cămașa de Nemțișor.

Expoziția până la urmă este despre doamnele care au cusut aceste cămăși. Fără poveștile lor cămășile ar fi de fapt niște cârpe, așa că mi-a plăcut teribil prezentarea. Mi-au plăcut pozele, fiecare dintre ele sugerând personalitatea celei care a cusut cămașa. Mi-a plăcut poza doamnei cu cămașa de Borca, în picioarele goale printre frunzele toamnei râzând, m-a impresionat doamna cu cămașa de Bistra, mi s-a părut de o bunătate fără seamăn, Antoanela, nu că e prietena mea, dar poza este exact așa cum o văd eu, delicată, dar puternică în același timp. Acum, evident, vorbesc de pozele ce însoțesc exponatele și care se regăsesc în albumul expoziției.

Că vine vorba de album, eu vă sugerez să îl cumpărați pentru că mi se pare un manual a ceea ce înseamnă cămașa de Neamț în 2018. Este subțirel și de format mic, numai bun de avut la îndemână. Eu l-am ținut în geantă, l-am citit și răsfoit, i-am pus semne de carte, l-am scos de câte ori am avut de așteptat prin aeroporturi sau gări și arată impecabil. Unde mai pui că fără el, expoziția este incompletă. În album aveți toate detaliile despre fiecare cămașă, ce ațe s-au folosit, ce croi, ce pânze, ce simboluri. Tot acolo găsiți explicația varietății tipurilor de cămăși, a culorilor folosite, a simbolurilor. Este o carte pe care pur și simplu trebuie sa o aveți în bibliotecă, fie că sunteți pasionat de cămășile românești sau nu.

Cu ce am rămas eu după expoziție? Am învățat că nu trebuie să mai caut cămașa de Iași. Dacă în Neamț există atâta varietate, cămașă de Iași ar putea fi orice. Acum vreau iarăși să merg la Palatul Culturii să mai cercetez ce au expus ei acolo și musai vreau să merg într-o bibliotecă să citesc tot ce e scris despre zona etnografica Iași.

Am ilustrat acest articol cu mai puține poze decât aș fi dorit, nu pentru că nu am făcut poze, ci pentru că voi trebuie să vedeți expoziția pe viu.
Bicaz și Valea Bistriței, cămăși cusute în 2018
Bicaz 1900 
Valea Bistriței din 1940 
Nemțișor din 1910 
Deși am făcut multe poze, niciodată nu sunt suficiente
Cămașa care mi-a născut cele mai multe întrebări. Mai este și cămașa de Borca din 1920, la fel plină de mistere. Aceasta însă este copia cămășii de Bistra din 1930, dar e cămașa de tip carpatic, dar cu nasturi în față și guler ca o cămașă din zilele noastre, apoi are fodori și cusătură peste cot. Ok am înțeles influențe de peste Carpați, da gulerul și nasturii în față? Sincer dacă aș purta vreodată la serviciu cămăși actuale, mi-aș face una fix așa. De asta am ales să o postez că poate dă idei bune cuiva din prezent.
Vechi și nou într-o poză. Îmi pare rău că nu a încăput toată expoziția într-o singură fotografie. Totul a fost demn de luat în seamă, și cămășile vechi și replicile noi și fotografiile de pe pereți, tot evenimentul, și Piatra Neamț mi s-a părut specială, tot. M-am încărcat pentru un an întreg.

Sper că v-a plăcut să citiți această postare măcar atât de mult cât m-a încântat pe mine să o scriu! Dacă vreți să urmăriți activitatea acestui blog, apreciați pagina Dichisuri.ro pe Facebook.

Raluca

November 23, 2018

Season trends at Lux Green garden centre

Ready or not, Christmas is coming and is coming fast. In less than 40 days the Big Man will visit and by that time we have to decorate the house, decorate the tree, buy presents, do it all. Different from my traditions in Romania, where Santa actually brings the tree and we usually decorate it on Christmas Eve, here I've seen houses and trees decorated as soon as Halloween was over which means the end of October, beginning of November. So, by that schedule the opening of the first Christmas Market at the garden centre came too late, but for everyone else it came just in time.

It was a sunny, but cold Autumn weekend in Arlonia and as Sunday is pretty much a dead day we decided to visit the garden centre, Lux Green in Messancy, which is open all Sundays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.. 

The Christmas Market at Lux Green takes care of all tastes, if you want to decorate your tree with green leafs, or with feathers or you just want a big fake cherry tree in the middle of your living room, or maybe a giant tent, the store has everything you could possibly want for Christmas in all colours and all styles. 

Personally for me Christmas is red. I'm the Coca-Cola generation, so I tend to look towards the red decorations and maybe green and last year I developed an obsession for wooden decorations which I plan to keep this year too, but I also like felt decorations so overall my head is a mess and turns out a trip to the Garden Centre was all I needed to clear it out. 

Of course I could not leave empty-handed, but looking at my queuing buddies, I was the only temperate one. The person in front of me spent 600 euros on Christmas Decorations. 600. Euros. I almost asked if she moved recently from like America or something and did not bother shipping all her stuff from home, but living in Luxembourg for almost 6 years now, I've learned that this is how life goes here for some people. Still. 600. euros. on Christmas decorations? Moving on!
As I could see from previous years, the Christmas Marked is organised on colours, which makes it easy to decide what you want. Still, I went from room to room and looked at everything. Compared to previous years, I could say that this year they were just not into decorating. I remember the first year there were whole rooms decorated, Christmas dinner and everything, then on another year they even brought a car inside, but this year the diversity of the decorations and their abundance makes this market worth visiting.

Starting from the beginning you enter the white room. So if you plan on decorating your house with white objects, here are some examples which I've liked.





Stepping into the green room, there is also a Christmas dinner table decorated really nice. I actually liked the plates enough as to think about buying a fancy set for ourselves. We didn't though, we have enough plates for now.

His name is Pointy and he came home with us. Luna loves it!
The green, nontraditional tree decorated with plates and nailed to the wall.
Maybe you fancy a jungle themed Christmas.
Or green ficus leaves decorated tree
Those candles were actually really big. The red one, costing 110 euros, was as big as an ice bucket.
Stepping into the black and white decorated room we encountered the white tree with black reindeer.
I really liked the socks reindeer, but it did not fit my colour scheme :)

Then we went into the blue/industrial/futuristic room, filled with copper wire decorations which I did not like and so you can't see them in my pictures. Liked the lamp though.

Then the cherry tree decorated with old perfume bottles and a lot of pink, to much for my taste
Then the feather decorated tree and room which I passed in a hurry cause I've seen glimpses of the next room and it was the red one
The red Christmas dinner table,
the red ceramic decorations,
the red everything
and even a red futuristic Christmas tree, a bit unstable, but still interesting.
Loved the girl, did not buy it
So there you have it, the Christmas Market at Lux Green Garden Centre. 
I hope you loved reading this post as much as I loved putting it together! Also, if you fancy keeping in contact with me, drop a line at Dichisuri.ro on Facebook. Raluca