Until the 13th century Spiš County of north central Hungary (today in east central Slovakia) was sparsely populated and was a part of the territory known as “No Man’s Land.” In the late 1200s and 1300s, the Hungarian government invited populations from the West – Germans and Slovaks — and those from the East – Carpatho-Rusyns — to settle this rocky, mountainous region. These three populations were joined by Roma (Gypsies), Jews and Poles known as “Gorale” to make Spiš one of the most ethnically diverse regions of old Austria-Hungary.
The folk costumes of the Rusyns in Spiš are influenced by cloth making and decorative techniques refined by and brought by the Germans to this region. Germans brought with them advanced dyeing techniques, which made brilliantly colored cloth possible. They also brought with them lace making styles that added lace to many of the costumes of this region.
Two costume components distinct to Spiš county among Rusyns are the use of batiked cloth – placing beeswax on white cloth and then dying it blue, removing the wax to reveal the pattern underneath; and the use of red threads stitched very closely to one another to create large areas of vibrant red color in embroidery.
|Torysky / Торискы - on loan from the collection of Walter and Anna Orange|
|Kojšov / Койшов - on loan from the collection of Ann and Joe Lesko|
|Sleeve detail from Kojšov kroj|
|Jakubany / Якубяны - on loan from the collection of Maryann Sivak|
|Skirt and apron detail from Jakubany kroj|
|Litmanová / Лiтманова (left) and Jarabina / Орябина (right) - Litmanova kroj C-RS Collection donated by Stephanie Salony, Orjabyna kroj on loan from the collection of Rita Benya|
|Cuff detail from Litmanová kroj|
View Spiš Regional Folk Costume in a larger map
Special thanks to Barbara Perlstein for her help in completing this display, and to everyone who was so generous to loan their kroj.