Moldova Folk Art


If you come to Moldavia and visit one of its villages, let us say on the Dniester River, your first and probably most memorable encounter with Moldavian folk art will take place in the street. Moldavian house fronts have a festive and hospitable appearance. The paintings on the stucco walls, the carved pediments, cornices, and porches, the woodwork of gates, cellars, and wells, the pierced designs decorating the tin roofs and chimneys, and the lacework of window surrounds, speak volumes for this land's folk art traditions. A vast variety of elements is included in their decorations, such as sun symbols sometimes combined in the same composition with life-like representations of animals and birds, or geometric ornaments turning into complicated anthropomorphic forms, or winding plant designs stretching in a row along the fence and eaves of the house.

Not only wood, but stone and stucco as well are obedient and rewarding materials in the skilled hands of Moldavian decorators. Wooden posts and planks, which were formerly used to build the galleries of Moldavian houses, have been supplanted by stone pillars, with square, round, or octagonal bases. Their spiral shafts are decorated with colored carved ornaments, the reds and greens of which echo the color of tiled roofs and luxuriant verdure. This kind of column with a tall plinth, a spiral shaft, and an ornate capital belongs to no conventional order and is characteristic only of Moldavian rural houses.

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