Various Moldovan Handcrafts

Central to the house is its casa mare, or drawing room, where guests are entertained and where various solemn occasions in the life of the family's many generations have been celebrated. The room is distinguished by a particularly smart decor echoing the festive appearance of the facade. The floral representations seen on its walls, embroidered towels, and carpets are enhanced by bunches of dried grass tucked between the beam and the ceiling, as well as by bouquets of artificial flowers made from paper, wood shavings, and fabric. Everything here seems to show a joyful respect for nature, a sentiment that is the key to understanding Moldavian folk art.

Some of the wall paintings in Moldavian houses depict fantastic trees with huge leaves, while others are devoted to familiar village landscapes or to scenes with ivied castles from the world of fairy tales. Even in the past, a streak of naive realism was present in the work of Moldavian folk painters. Coupled with a strong leaning toward improvisation, which was characteristic of all Moldavian arts and crafts in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, this naivete resulted in a rich national flavor and artistic originality. Even the fact that small peasant houses should have a special room re-served for festive occasions is a very typical manifestation of the Moldavian peasant's outlook on life.

The most surprising thing about the interior of Moldavian houses is the large number of rugs (mostly flat-woven kilims) used as wall hangings or coverings for the floor, benches, and beds; even saddlebags are made of them. In Moldavian rugs dating from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the center is filled with stylized flowers, and the color scheme consists of blue green, red, and orange tones. The border, contrasting in color with the res of the rag, is adorned with winding floral designs. Sometimes instead of large flowers in the center one can see pots with branching bushes, which form a delicate ornamental pattern. The pots are also covered throughout with brightly colored flowers and grasses.

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