20 November 2016

BERBEŞTI, Maramureş County, 1775

Originated from a beautiful Romanian setting on Marei Valley, this household from the village of Berbești is comprised as follows: the living rooms, a barn with a shed, corn basket, a wood-stead (Romanian: „colejna”) used for storing tools and sheep during the wintertime, as well as a grange with a coop – an ingenious construction used for keeping hay. The household, rebuilt in The Village Museum in the year 1962 is representative for the spiritual and material culture of Maramureș, an area rich in most valuable architectonic wooden monuments, built by highly skilled workmen such as “Pașco of The Sălaje” the one who, in 1775, has etched his signature on the house’s „master beam” presented at the Museum.

Impressive considering its overall proportions, the constructions that make up the household from Berbești are erected from massive boards, chiseled in oak wood. All the compounds of the household are surrounded by a fence braided with walnut rods, sheltered under a rooftop of shingles. A tall double gate craftfully carved from oak wood and dated – 1903 – completes the ensemble. The house is ornamented with regional decorative motifs such as: the (twisted) „torsada”, the wolf tooth, the rosette, also sophisticated symbols like the Sun or the Moon, anthropomorphic motifs featured of the gates’ constituents, the frames and the window panes.

The grange in Berbești, as emphasized by its constructions, the inventory of tools and objects, exhibits evidence regarding the occupations its inhabitants used to delve into, such as cattle breeding, agriculture and lumberjacking.

The house plan of the dwelling features the following: the living quarters (Romanian: „casa”), the cold vestibule and the food pantry, aligned alongside of an open porch, fitted on carved poles united by archways.

The living quarters are equipped with a hearth, an oven and a ledge (a „prichici” – a specially designed place next to the fireplace, close to a wall, on a platform used by kids or the elderly to rest during cold winter days). The interior is characterized by simple and functional furniture: bed on a side, benches set in a straight angle, a table in the middle of the room, surrounded by comfy chairs. The specifics regarding to a decorative system are comprised of colored fabrics hung above the bed on a perch: plates, pots and jars from the Vama center, wrought in vivid colours and hung up on knobs, as well as woolen fabrics with vegetal colours set on top of the beds.