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Bulgarian Folk Arts and Crafts

Creating art
from every kind of material

The aesthetic principle of the Bulgarian masters, inherited the traditions of ancient Thracians, stems from the admiration of nature and is expressed in the attempt to resemble it. They create art out of any material - wood and clay, wool and copper, silk and silver. The desire for beauty that has let them through the millenia first grew up at home. Applied crafts have gradually increased and emerged from the narrow domestic frame and become an art which breeds art. At the end of the 14th century arts and crafts in Bulgaria amounted to about 50.

The unfading beauty of Bulgarian arts and crafts has to be felt:

Bulgarian embroidery with its intricate geometrical figures, is used exclusively for dress decoration. It is geographically differentiated depending on decoration, execution, colour and composition. Typical features of embroidery, however, are plant and geometric patterns and their skilful technical fashioning. The red always prevails.

Bulgarian textile art includes the weaving of covers, rugs and carpets. There is evidence of carpet making in Bulgaria as early as in the 9th century, but large carpet industry were established in 18th-19th centuries in Kotel, Chiprovtsi, etc. The decorative diversity is different in the regions, but on the whole the Kotel carpets feature large and orderly patterns while Chiprovo carpets tend to have small patterns. The Rhodope rugs have white, brown and yellow long woolen fringes. The smaller textiles are variety and the most numerous - aprons, waist-brands, towels, pillow-cases, bags, belts.

Bulgarian pottery (painted ceramics). Etching, colour painting and applications are the usual methods. Etching, or the circular drawing-out of straight lines continued up to the 19th century in the old pottery centres of Troyan, Teteven and Gabrovo, has been replaced later by painting with colour. The most typical shape is the jug, with an elongated, delicate neck, its top glazed in yellow and green.

Bulgarian wood-carving - a craft, considered purely male. Since immemorial times the Bulgarians have carved wood, depicting nature on shepherd's pipes and crooks, on chest and cradles, on weaving looms - in fact, wherever possible. Wood was part of the house furniture, skilful hands brought it to life and gradualy became part and parcel of the interior.
Magnificent compositions may be seen in the National Renaissance houses in Tryavna, Kotel, Koprivshtitza, etc.
We are also famous with small wood-carved products: spoons, spoon cases, shepherds cups, prosfory (bread seals), distaffs, nooses, crooks, stools, chandeliers, nut-crackers, etc. To this collection also belong the musical instruments kavals, gudoulki, bagpipes.

Bulgarian coppersmithery - an artistic craft, which had its heyday during the 18th-19th centuries when methods of decoration became more numerous. The fashioning of the form itself is an art - depending on the size and destiny of the indentations, the decoration of coffee-pots, cauldrons, trays and dishes resembles a string of tiny beads or scattered stars. Copper vessels have their romantic place in today's modern interior.

Bulgarian goldsmithery - an art, whose works are purely decorative.inherited the rich traditions of the ancient Thracians, we attained a perfection of the form and an executive finish. Although this art was most susceptible to outside influence - particularly that of West-European Baroque - the plant and geometric ornaments, as well as the composition, retained their National characteristics.

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