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Traditional Textiles Collection

The museum’s Traditional Textiles Collection comprises all types of handloom woven textiles, knitwear, as well as a comparatively small group of industrially made textiles.
The collection contains approximately two thousand items. The different types of textiles are classified by purpose: household and furnishing textiles, textiles for various indoor and outdoor agricultural activities, textiles for clothes making, etc.
 
Furnishing textiles are subdivided into several smaller collections:
 
Coverings. This collection includes hempen and woolen rugs and mats, carpet rugs, carpets, goat’s hair rugs, fleecy and felted rugs, and others.
 
The collection of rugs includes hempen and woolen multicoloured  rugs, that are typical of all the country. 
 
Carpet rugs from the area of Teteven are the most numerous ones. The carpet rug from the house of Pobornikovs in the town of Teteven (inventory No. 9586) from the middle of the 19th century is the oldest.
 
At the end of the 1970s in connection with the preparation of the exposition of the National Museum of History in the Palace of Justice Building, the museum placed an order for replicas of Teteven carpet rugs and pillows. The idea of their exhibiting was not realized but they entered the main fund of the museum.
 
The carpets of kilim type come from the major Bulgarian carpet – making centres: Kotel, Chiprovtsi, Pirot, Samokov. Especially valuable are the Kotel carpets with interwoven dates, and the names and initials of the weavers. The earliest is from 1865 and the latest from 1915.
 
The collection gives a good idea of the great local diversity of rug types and names: woolen rug pokrovi from the Pirin area, fleecy kiteni and goat’s hair kozinyavi rugs and blankets (called halishta) from the Rhodope Mountains, thick woolen covering kebeta from the areas of  Sliven and Kotel Mountains, and others.
 
The two rare kinds of felted coverings plasti from Koprivshtitsa, produced in the early 19th century, belong to the group of non – woven textiles.
 
Small mats and swaddling clothes, which were usually woven of woolen yarn, are in a separate collection. Typically, they are decorated with multi – coloured stripes.
 
The collection of pillows is diverse, incorporating items from almost all regions of Bulgaria. They have mainly woolen weft woven across woolen or cotton threads that go from top to bottom and are entirely cotton ones on rare occasions. They come from the areas of Silistra, Ruse, Haskovo, the Rhodopes, Kyustendil, Blagoevgrad, etc. Their ornamentation consists of geometrical and stylized floral patterns mainly. Very rare cases, mainly from Northern Bulgaria, are pillows with zoomorphic patterns in the collection. One of the latest pillows which joined the museum collection – from the village of Kichevo, Varna Region – is of that type. Its inventory number is 44324. The figure of a horse and the year of 1926 are embroidered on its right side. The collection preserves the so–called suvreni pillows that are related to the wedding traditions of the so – called kapansko population from the Razgrad area.
 
Household textiles are subdivided in several collections too.
 
The bags are about fifty in number, most of them – woolen ones. There are few entirely cotton bags but the most numerous are those having woolen weft woven across cotton threads that go from top to bottom. They come from most areas of the country, with their characteristic patterns are the most impressive deverska   ( brother – in – law’s ) bag from the area of Smolyan, small dark coloured children’s bags with bright geometrical and stylized floral ornaments for children of the kapansko population in the area of Razgrad.
 
This group includes a comparatively small number of saddlebags.
 
Carrying – cloths and baby slings make up a pretty small group of textiles designed for carrying objects and children on the back. They are mostly from Southwestern Bulgaria.
 
Bundle wraps and table cloths are classified in a separate group that is directly related to food and eating. The majority of them are loosely woven pieces of cotton cloth that vary in length and are decorated in manner typical of the respective region.
 
There is a large collection of cloth for drying and draping. It comprises about one hundred items ranging from small cotton cloths with simple decoration to large silk cloths for draping over mirrors and home iconostases, with ornaments executed in openwork and the so – called kasane technique (the ornaments were made by hand and the coloured thread is broken off after each pattern has been completed in the desired shade). Exceptionally beautiful is the silk cloth, the so – called klanyachka. In the area of Kyustendil the bridle bowed with it before the father – in – law and mother – in –law, before the sponsors and other participants during the marriage ceremony.
 
The cloth decoration is located most often on the two narrow cloth ends and consists mainly of geometrical and stylized floral patterns. The diversity of ornaments is exceptionally great and it is determined by the specific character of the area they come from.
 
The collection comprises cloths from almost all areas of the country.
 
There is a collection of cloths with very specific decoration. They differ from the other cloths due to their embroidery: golden and silvery silk and entirely metal fine band, the so – called klabodan are used together with multi – coloured cotton and silk threads.
 
The collection includes materials that were typical for the town house furnishing at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century. These are bed covers, crocheted using a crochet – hook and cotton threads; sets of window – curtains and hangings, consisting of three parts ( two side parts and one cross part ) imported from the Western Europe; table cloths with great variety of materials and production technique: sheeting with white embroidery, table linen with handmade coloured embroidery, plush and woolen ones, etc. The collection includes a table cloth with inventory No. 30846 that was a class – work of a Bulgarian girl at an Applied Art School in Paris as well as a table cloth (a product of craft industry) that was presented to Stefan Stambolov by Abdul – Hamid II in 1892, and table cloths from the Karavelovs’ house, etc. 
 
A collection of textiles famous as textiles from the Tsar’s (King’s) fund are worth mentioning. They were delivered to the museum by the Movie Centre. Taking into consideration the way of entering the Movie Centre fund and the type of these textiles, presumably, they were taken away from the Palace after the departure of the Royal family from Bulgaria in 1946. These are Oriental souvenir covers, textiles from a Jewish Synagogue, Turkish cloths with exquisite embroidery ornamentation, covers, etc. A small textile with an embroidered inscription ПОДАРОКЪ НА НЕГОВО ЦАРСКО ВИСОЧЕСТВО ФЕРДИНАНТ КНЯЗЪ НА БЪЛГАРИЯ 1889 (A GIFT TO HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS FERDINANT PRINCE OF BULGARIA 1889) is of interest to us.