20 November 2016

ȘANŢ, Bistrița-Năsăud County, 1896

The Village of Șanț, positioned on the Someșul Mare (English: „Greater Someș”) River valley, is part of the 44 borderline villages from the region of Năsăud designed to safeguard the boundaries of the old Austro-Hungarian Empire. Principal occupations among the villagers were breeding cattle, agriculture and lumberjacking. Most of the constructions in the village have been built out of wood. The house transferred to the Village Museum in the year 1936 (dated to the year 1896) is built using beam girders set atop a tall stone scaffold with a veranda (Romanian: „prispă”) on three sides. The hipped-roof is covered in thatch (Romanian: „draniță”).

The house plan features a middle hallway with no ceiling, flanked by two large rooms, each serviced with a hind room pantry. The vestibule area housed many of household activities, is fitted with an open hearth used for cooking food during summertime. An assembly of tools and kitchen utensils exhibits clues to domestic practices. The living room is host to a complex heating system composed of an open fireplace with a chimney and a cooker next to a small bedding space and a stove with a hotpan. The scant furnishings (bed, table, bench, cupboard for vessels) are laid around the walls for optimum space efficiency, lucrative activities were the prime of the house: the weaving loom occupies the area to the window, a Weaver’s Comb (Romanian: „urzoi”) sits by the top beam. A functional room such as the vestibule is showcase to the domestic warmth of fabrics woven in-house: bedspreads (Romanian: „țoluri”), tapestry, tablespreads, towels, textiles hanging on a perch.

The guest room (the show room) features furniture such as two beds laid symmetrically, a middle table, a bench with backrest, cupboards for vessels, chests and painted hangers. The numerous cotton and wool decorative textiles, as the ornaments on the enameled ceramic plates and clay pots are festive in nature. Of distinct observation, the chests shuffled about lay claim to the family’s endowment and daughter marital status. Wool and cotton fabrics are designed with sequential geometric patterns. Colour dominance is red and white. Floral elements abound.