Folk Art and Ethnography
In all the towns along the River Dráva rich folk art and ethnographic memorabilia may be found. In numerous settlements cottage museums guard the indispensable objects typical to the region and days gone by. The vernacular architecture of these peasant houses (Harkány, Istvándi, Kémes, Lakócsa, Porrogszentkirály, Somogyszob, Szulok) provides in itself a message from the past. We may learn what kind of materials were used in the foundations of the so-called 'Heel house' (a wooden-framed house), what was used to cover the dwelling and farm buildings, and with what equipment the land was tilled. In the extant buildings we can find the ovens, clothes cupboards, weft-covered tables, the raised carved beds and the corner benches.
The clothes were sewn by the women; indeed they wove the basic cloth, from hemp and flax which they had themselves produced and processed. The clothes thus produced, they then decorated with embroidery and lace work. The women of the Ormánság were particularly renowned for their weaving. Their fame even spread over the national borders. Originally the basic white cloth was only decorated with red, but we may also find saffron-dyed examples and striped canvases using the natural colours of the raw flax and cotton. From these, table cloths, bed covers, and clothes for feasts and mourning were sewn.
In the Croatian villages the short skirt and bonnet were typical. The woven cloths were decorated in red. The women paid particular attention to the bonnet which often gave clues as to the marital status of the wearer, and its colour would became darker as the owner matured in age. Its form and binding varies from area to area, and ethnical group to ethnical group. Particularly in the region of the Dráva Triangle black bonnets decorated with white embroidery were worn until the end of the 19th century. The motifs employed were aquatic flora, the rose, tulip, apple, fish, crab and stylised snake designs.
The peasant men wore baggy trousers reaching to the middle of the shin. These were accompanied by canvas shirts. In most places a pinafore, thin waistcoat, and a broadcloth jacket were worn.
The village men living alongside the Dráva were skilled in woodwork. They had to be, for much of the equipment essential to their husbandry was produced with knife, chisel and axe. The peasant population could neither survive without crafts. The most sought after craftsmen in the countryside were the boot and slipper makers, but in larger settlements the crafts of broadcloth weaving, fabric dyeing, hat making, cloak tailoring, comb making and pottery were handed down from father to son. Especially the latter craftsmen travelled around from market to fair, plying their jug and plate-ware.
We must make a special mention of the most famous treasures of the Ormánság, namely the painted wood-panelled ceilings of the Protestant churches. The decorative motifs, painted with tempera on the small wood panels, derive from ancient Hungarian symbolism. The most splendid examples may be found in the villages of Drávaiványi, Kórós, Adorjás, Kovácshida and Zaláta.