Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Folk art - Wood

Crosses and chapels
Crosses and chapels are religious folk art that stands at roadsides in homesteads and graveyards.  The crosses were built for the remembrance of the dead or in places where accidents had occurred.  They were also erected near villages and in the fields in the expectation that God would grant a good harvest and keep away disease.

Crosses began to appear in Lithuania with the spread of Christianity in the 14 - 15th centuries.  The crosses and chapels were often topped with iron heads incorporating smaller crosses, trumpeting angels, sunbeams, arrows, firs, lilies and tulips.

Folk art sculpture is mainly carvings from wood.  They are commonly of religious figures, Christ, the Virgin Mary and popular saints.  The most popular figure is the Rūpintojėlis (The Pensive Christ).  The sculptures are of primitive form and lack anatomical proportion.

Wood sculpture is one of the most popular folk art mediums in Lithuania. Figures were often made with simple expressions and having an unproportional body. Very typical of the surviving Lithuanian  sculptural tradition are the images of the following three saints - the Suffering Christ, St Isidore and St George.  Sculptures of work, life, holidays and folklore were also made.

Household items
Many wooden household items were carved, spinning and weaving implements being most common.  They were carved  in shallow grooves in geometric shapes and plant life.  More simple ornamentation was found on kitchen utensils, pestles, bowls, jugs, goblets, cups, ladles, spoons etc.  Instruments such as Kankles, reed pipes and whistles were also carved as was furniture, carts and sledges.  Glory boxes and other chests were specially decorated with botanical designs in various colours.

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