Dowry Chest story II

Having changed the social sphere of “higher” to “lower” has increased its rank – with an accessory interior fittings, this wooden chest became the subject of a full reference. It meets the practical function of cubby equipment for storing woman’s wardrobe. Accumulating over the years dowry for marriage, she was socially important role, testifying about family wealth and the girl economy. During the wedding ceremony chest was an element of “performance”. Dowry chest got a magnificent setting. They were taking effort to make the chest heavier , and those who were not able to properly equip it they were loading the box with stones. At the wedding chest wedding she appeared in przyśpiewkach as a female companion, taken away from the family home. Also during wedding ceremony typical songs, the chest was taken as a female companion, taken away from the family home.

The dowry chest it is part of a woman’s story. Each conceals the memory of a particular woman. Each of them is personalized, although today nameless. Boxes received their potential meanings at the beginning of their journey, but only unbreakable bound with a specific person,  their personalization has been sanctioned at the material  and metaphysical level. Each chest box was inextricably linked with one woman, accompanying her from youth, till the grave. Therefore, in the same house was as many chest boxes as many women . The most important was chest of house hostess. Boxes were closed by key, and each owner has their own key and that was the only person with acces to it.

Chest boxes are one of the most filled with content thing,even if  empty and abandoned. They ended their life in barns, attics, in the composition of unnecessary things, were used to store junk or grains,  often ended up as dog kennels. With a Leading Role fell into the background.

Today, they hit the flea markets and online auctions without a trace of history. No one questions the owner, no one remembers to whom they belonged. Looking at them, we can only imagine women, their owner. In most cases, without knowing anything about them,not knowing who they were and what fate they led.We can only try to read fragments of their history. Small chest boxes indicate poverty, while a huge need to have painted huge box, about raising money for the service, in order to possess the mandatory social requirement indicator of a woman’s fate. Owners of stately, richly painted chests didn’t complain about poverty. Boxes were they bought, or specially ordered. We can analyze even what capacity could particular girl collect, how much weave canvas, how many costumes hold, and how much valuable jewelry hidden. We can also analyze  rich or not so rich polychrome, formal solutions, stylistic, used colors, used motives. We can also admire the beauty of the chest boxes, because they no longer their trustee. But let’s look at the boxes as those that store – not colorful costumes, but the memory of women, in their size and individual and collective…

ref>www.ethnomuseum.pl

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