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The History Center blog shares research and findings about local history, excerpts from the History Center Archives, information about upcoming exhibits and other opportunities on how to get involved with The History Center in Tompkins County. To learn more or view the archival materials mentioned, visit us in downtown Ithaca, follow us on social media @TompkinsHistory, or subscribe to our monthly newsletter History Happenings

Textile Tuesday - Hungarian Embroidery - Rabakozi

Sat, March 11, 2023 6:13 PM | Anonymous


The Rabakozi region is located in the western part of Hungary, between the Raba and the Danube Rivers. This Rabakozi folk embroidery style shows strong Renaissance and Ottoman influences. The earliest known examples are from the early 19th century. The designs usually show a bouquet of carnations standing in a so-called “Italian Jug” and flanked by peacocks. The carnations are presumed to be an Ottoman decorative motif, because they were not known in Europe before the Ottoman conquest and the subsequent cultural interaction. The flowers standing in a vase were traditionally part of church paintings depicting the Annunciation. Originally, this style was embroidered in muted colors with vegetable-dyed wool thread and, in some cases, monochrome red. When embroidering became common again in the late 1950s, the use of the red color was encouraged. The original embroideries decorated sheet edges. The rectangular pillowcase is a reinterpretation of the design for a decorative item suitable for a city home.


In 2010 The History Center hosted the exhibit 'Hungarian Embroideries and Folk Art' from the collection of Hungarian-Ithaca Eniko Farkas. This exhibit included #matyo, #kalocsa, #sarkoz, #rabakozi, and #castle style embroideries. The texts developed for this 2010 exhibit are re-shared here as part of our ongoing #TextileTuesday learning series for the Knot Sew Fast: Patchwork of Tompkins County exhibit, on display February-August 2023.

Original text was written by Eniko Farkas in collaboration with History Center staff. 

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