The ornamentation of Horezu ceramics
The main characteristics of the geometric ornamentation of Horezu are the use of simple elements and preference for curved lines. The geometric elements used as decorative motifs are: dots, lines, circles, spirals, zig-zag, semicircles and undulating lines. The symbolic motifs of Horezu are inspired by the animal world. The first one is the rooster, which is emblematic for Horezu ceramics. Old potters used to say: to be a good potter, one has to be as quick as the rooster, as adroit as the snake, as patient as the fish.
The rooster has always been a natural clock. For the Romanians, time was divided according to the first, the second and the third song of the rooster. The song of the rooster symbolized the end of the critical moment and announced the victory of the sun and of light over the night and darkness. In the legends and fairy tales of various peoples, ghosts, demons and nocturnal evil elements are afraid of being surprised by the song of the rooster that can be fatal to them. Another zoomorphic symbolic motif is the dove which next to the fish is one of the oldest representations of Christianity. From Romanian papers (2009): The ceramics of Horezu attracts thousands of tourists every year
The town, which is famous for its ceramists, has become more and more popular over the years and it is now a tourist center visited by Romanians coming from all over the country. Once a year, when the authorities organize 'The Rooster of Hurez' festival, the small town is flooded with people. During the year, the businesses of boarding houses flourish and the ceramists have successful sales. Ion Preda opened his craft shop quite recently, but he says business is very good. 'On Easter I managed to sell 7000 lei's worth of objects in only one day. Tourists buy from us because many artifacts are unique.' He also says he hopes that in a couple of months he will get back the investment he made. The ceramics of Horezu are made only with the traditional potter's wheel and with traditional finishing tools. The ceramic objects are burnt in wood-fired ovens by oxidation, acquiring an earth-like color. Most ceramics are decorated with delicate and yet strongly geometrical or vegetal motifs, painted decoratively by the ceramists' wives with purely natural dyes. The richest decoration is the one painted by the potters of Horezu, who made extremely beautiful objects of this kind. The technique, which is specific to Horezu, is called 'jiravit'. The tools used for this technique are the 'corn' (which is a cattle horn) and the 'tipla', a goose feather that is set in the horn. 'Gaita' is a brush made of rabbit whiskers or wild boar hair, which puts forth a diverse and refined range of colours. 'The Rooster of Hurez' at the 39th edition
The ceramics center of Horezu has been a leader of Romanian folk ceramics. It preserves the elements which are defining for the artifacts produced here, but it confers personality and expression to each piece through the infinitely wide range of colours and decorations. The folk fair of Romanian ceramics, 'The Rooster of Hurez', is a leading event in the annual calendar of national culture, and it brings together ceramists from 12 counties of the country. It is a holiday with national and international echoes that reached its 39th
edition this year. Between 29th
of May, Horezu was the main attraction in Vilcea county; the organizers designed this festival to capture the attention of potters from all over the country as well as that of other visitors and personalities. Like always, the fair envisages ways of keeping national identity and cultural heritage intact, as well promoting ancestral traditions within the European space. Translated by Fabiola Popa
by Mihaela Armăşescu