Monday, 5 July 2010
Here's a drawing I did for my father's birthday last week, of a girl listening to her father read her a story. I used to love my father reading Hungarian folktales from a big book we had of them. They were in Hungarian, so he would translate them into English as he read, and I liked the slightly stilted way it came out.
I was trying to stay in the sort of Hungarian folk style that I used for this drawing, but this time I made them Székely, because my father's father came from a Székely family. The Székely (pronounced Say-kay) are a subgroup of Hungarians, who mostly live in Transylvania. One of their most distinctive folk-crafts are their beautiful carved and painted wooden gates
I took this photo in Transylvania a couple of years ago. The gates are set into a wall that runs along the street, and they open into the yard of the house. The gates always have a door in the side for people, and a larger gate for big things like horses and carts, and they have a little shingled roof on the top. Usually the family's name is carved into the gate, and also other decorations, and sometimes the carvings are painted too.
Here's another gate, from a collection at the Mikó Castle in Csíkszereda (Miercurea-Ciuc to give it its Romanian name).. Above the main gate, you can see the sun and moon cut-outs, which are Székely symbols, and originally represented pre-Christian Hungarian gods, although since the 11th century (when Hungary became Christian) they have become purely decorative.