20 November 2016

DUMITRA, Alba County, the XIXth Century

Dumitra village is situated on the ethnographic region of Târnavelor plateau, part of the Transylvanian plateau. The main occupation practiced by inhabitants, favored by pedoclimatic conditions, is the cultivation of cereal crops. The Dumitra house unit, built at the start of the XIXth century and transferred on Museum premises in 1957, is typical for the region and for a certain social category – the free peasants (free, but with small land properties) – compelled to work on the great land properties owned by feudal noblemen.

The size of the house, the lack of big annexed buildings, the rather small gateway are indicators of this state of servitude. The household from Dumitra village encompasses a house with living quarters, a corn shed and a straw-thatched fencework with eaves featuring two gateways for access.

An emblematic example of traditional architecture from the center of Transylvania, the house is built using the old Neolithic technique of a straw-thatched fencework glued with clay to form the construction framework, underneath a roof covered with sheaves of wheat. The straw-thatched corn shed is supported on a wooden fundament.

The plan of the house features a porch and a living room. The hallway is host to the fireplace fitted with a canopy built from straws and glued with clay to protect the straw-thatched roof against fires. The heating system in the living room consists of a terracotta fireplace with a stove for cooking food. Both the interior and the exterior of the building are decorated with artistic elements – the wooden gate sports ancient motifs like various Sun symbols and see-saw teeth patterns.

The living room is adorned with cotton fabrics fashioned with polychrome ornaments (blue, red and black), ceramic objects (pots, plates, platters) hung on the walls and the beams, also painted religious icons. The principal element inside the room is the high bed in the corner covered with woolen and cotton fabrics. A historical and ethnographic record illustrating the social status and artistic talents of the peasant class, the household from Dumitra is an architectural monument of true class.