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December 17, 2008 – March 1, 2009
The Art Gallery
ul. Koziniec 8, Zakopane

The exhibition All in Blue: Linen Folk Prints in the Tatra Region is on at the Art Gallery in Koziniec between December 17, 2008 and March 1, 2009. On display are hand-dyed pieces of cloth, wooden printing blocks and historical information about local dyers from the 19th century.


In the second half of the 19th century, dyeworks operated in the Podhale region; in Nowy Targ and the villages of Poronin and Chochołów , where homespun linen was manually dyed and printed. Blue textiles with white patterns were created by applying the batik technique and indigo dyeing. Highlander women used it for making skirts, aprons, scarves, shawls, as well as duvet and pillow covers. At the end of the 19th century, dyeworks across the Podhale region were unable to compete with factory-produced textiles and they fell into rapid decline and had entirely disappeared by the beginning of the 20th century. The aim of this exhibition is to remind us of this once-vibrant traditional folk craft.

Highlanders from the Podhale region also purchased printed textiles at markets and church fairs in Slovakia, hence the featured objects come from both, the southern and the northern, sides of the Tatra mountains. The exhibition showcases village dyework equipment, batik printing techniques, textile printing in folk costumes and interiors, as well as the history of the dyers and dyeworks in the Podhale region. Also, one of the oldest Tatra Museum collections is on display - around one hundred wooden printing blocks from the Chochołów village dyeworks owned by Ferdynand Kőnig, the son-in-law of Jan Krzeptowski Sabała, a famous Highlander bard. This collection was donated to the Museum by Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz and Wojciech Brzega in 1903.

The exhibition is accompanied by the publication Folk Prints on Linen at the Foot of The Tatras and an educational programme for schools.

Zofia Rak, exhibition curator

Apart from the exhibits from the Tatra Museum collections, the showpieces are on loan from the collections of the State Archives in Krakow, the Liptov Museum in Ružomberok, the Lubovna Museum in Stara Lubovna, the Ethnographic Museum in Krakow, the Municipal Museum in Żywiec, the National Museum in Krakow, the Museum of the Orava Ethnographic Park in Zubrzyca Górna, the Museum in Kežmarok, the Orava Museum of P.O. Hviezdoslav in Dolny Kubin, the Podtatranske Museum in Poprad and private individuals.

The market in Zakopane, (photo: Walery Eljasz Radzikowski, ca. 1895, from the Tatra Museum's archives)
Decorative motifs on linen printed in batik technique. From the Tatra Museum's collection 
(photo: Paweł Murzyn)
A wooden printing block from Ferdynand Kőnig's dyework in Chochołów, the 19th century. The Tatra Museum's collection 
(photo: Paweł Murzyn)
3. A skirt from Nowe Bystre, hand-printed in batik technique by Ferdynand Kőnig's dyework in Chochołów , the 1870s-1880s. From the Tatra Museum's collection 
(photo: Paweł Murzyn)
A shawl decorated with hand-printing, Szczawnica, the end of the 19th century, from the Tatra Museum's collection 
(photo: Paweł Murzyn)
A hand-printed apron, Ratułów, 2nd half of the 19th century. 
(photo: Paweł Murzyn)

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Translated & edited by: Joanna Holzman, Adrian Smith, Anna Wende-Surmiak