20 November 2016

CURTIŞOARA, Gorj County, the XIXth Century

Curtișoara is an old settlement whose emplacement was relocated at a certain time as a result of constant floods coming from the river Jiu. It is now positioned along the road that leads from Târgu-Jiu to Petroșani. The geographic location of this village, situated in a depression region rich in pastures and orchards has determined the residents’ occupations – livestock breeding (goats and sheep), pomiculture, agriculture and forest activities. The unit transferred on Museum premises in 1936 is dated back to the beginning of the XIXth century.

Although of small proportions, the house is representative for the type of tall houses found in the sub-Carpathian regions and illustrates a vernacular version of fortified dwellings called – cula houses – largely spread out across Oltenia in the XVIIIth and XIXth centuries.

The gateway entrance is monumental – a genuine rustic „arc of triumph” – decorated with geometric patterns: spirals, rossettes, stars etc. The house is built from beams set atop a rock foundation, the rooftop is covered in fir wood shingles. The basement which represents the first storey of the house is used as a food and tools storage unit. An interior stairway leads up to the living quarters, also to a wide gazebo overlooking the scenery. The porch (Romanian: „târnaț) is set along 3 sides of the house. The porch posts are artistically wrought with oblique grooves, rings and diversely shaped capitellums.

The household plans feature two rooms: the cooking stove room, called – the fire room – and the sleeping room with a fireplace fueled from inside the first room which is simply called – the hearth room. The beech wood furniture – cabinets, chests – alongside other domestic objects are richly engraved with sculptured ornaments. Woolen rugs decorated with geometric patterns (lines and rhombuses), drapes with stylized anthropomorphic motifs, finely decorated folk costumes, and long delicate silk veils are testaments to the artistry of local creators in this ethnographic region.