The Art of Embroidery

The art of embroidery

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The following document tells more about the folkore clothing that takes a huge place in the bulgarian culture. It ends with a short legend that explains the meaning of the colors. 

The art of embroidery originates from the ancient history of human society. Also known to the Orthodox, the embroidery developed for two millennia. The creative process of Bulgarian embroidery art is a manifestation of the people’s spirit, inextricably linked to our material and spiritual culture. For generations, it is unique to beauty, color and technical performance. In these works, a fruit of labor and patience, the Bulgarian woman shows her love for her home and the Bulgarian nature. She embroiders on homemade fabrics of hemp, flax, wool, cotton and silk, with all sorts of locally produced threads in a wide range, as well as gold and silver sherds, sequins and beads.

In the Bulgarian applied art the traditions for the decoration of aprons, rugs, carpets and other works of folk art have been preserved. The deeper insight into the figures, the ornaments and the shapes depicted on them gives rich information about their symbolic meaning. All peoples retain their spiritual and life experiences through folklore. The Bulgarian is particularly rich in all its directions.

The artistic layout of traditional Bulgarian costumes has a great value. It is a testimony of richness of soul, of high artistic talents and unceasing quest for beauty. The decoration of the apparel, done by the Bulgarian woman, carries the mark of the family – generic traditions, of the world and the customs. Namely, it is characterized by the most complete ethnic workload, with the role of social regulator.

The unique artistic qualities of the costume are achieved through the skillful application of the ornamentation, expressed in the type of fabric, in the embroidery, in the appliqué or knitting.

A major role in the Bulgarian embroidery play the colors. These are the red and green colors on a white background.

The symbolism of the embroidery and its place in the Bulgarian folklore

Red symbolizes mother’s blood and the continuation of life. It keeps from whammy and “evil eyes”. Therefore the bride carries a red veil; the newborn is first woven into a red diaper; with the first red egg, painted Easter, the children are smeared for health; with a red thread clinging to the house, to meet the Baba Marta, which leads to the spring revival.

Green is the reviving life and is associated with the World Tree of Life – a universal symbol of the Universe.

Gold also has its own manifestation and symbolic meaning in the embroidery. It connects with the sun, the fire and the light, with the prosperity of the people. In the golden waters of the magical river, according to the folk tale, the sorceress gilded the virtuous maiden.

White reveals the power of purity, incorruptibility, immaculate youth, and divine light. By stepping over a white wool, the newlyweds are being wed; old ladies use white coin to powwow and heal. 

The colorful folk costumes have the power of the Sun, the colors of the Earth and the richness of the Bulgarian Soul. To merge with the past and enjoy the present moment you need to feel their magic. 

The legend narrates that when St. George cut down lamia’s heads, three rivers started to flow from them – one from white grains, other from red wine and the thirds one from golden honey and butter. They saved the people. This is how the colors in the embroidery came. These colors symbolize the fertility of the earth and the new life.

The bulgarian woman had an eye for the beauty. A product of her fast fingers, mind and heart was the clothing that she wore as on weekdays but also on holidays. The folklore songs tell about her beauty. 

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