Friday, 26 July 2013

Bucharest exhibition: The untold story of the romanian blouse

Where: at the Galateca exhibition space, on the side of the University Library in Revolution square
check their website for more details here -

When: until the 25th of August 2013

How much: it's free!

You might be familiar with my previous article about the history of the Romanian blouse -here- and so you'll know some things about this important part of my heritage.
Well, the lovely and proactive people from La Blouse Roumaine have teamed up with the Horniman Museum in London, the Romanian Village Museum in Bucharest and the Mircea Dinescu Cultural Foundation to create this temporary exhibition, meant to raise awareness and educate on one simple matter : the Romanian blouse.
Actually, it's more than that. Through the showing of traditional patterns, century old photographs and exquisite old blouses, it makes you understand not only its origins but also how it influenced our society and came to play such a significant role in my nation's history.

I'm literally going to quote some of the information on display because it's so clearly explained I need not do anything to it.
'On the Night of the Fairies (traditional celebration where the Romanian blouse played a vital part), single girls dressed in their blouses, reiterating an ancient cult as part of a ritual, commence the Dragaicei dance. This dance which was considered magic dictates order in a world dominated by chaos. The entering of this circle means an imminent initiation.
In Romania as in many other etno-cultural places, the 'hora' (round dance) has been performed for at least 5000 years as was testified by the discovery of such a ritual in the Cucuteni culture. The six women dancing are meant to represent the link between the cult of the mother goddess and the cult of the sun. This is where the Night of the Fairies originated from as the single celebration to bring tribute to both the Sun and the Moon.'

'The Romanian blouse isn't a mere item of clothing, but a way of living. It's geometric embellishments tell of the making of the world.'

'The Romanian blouse is all the more important for the elderly, who carefully prepare the one they will be buried in, saying that only by wearing their blouse they'll be recognised by their family and accepted into the afterlife.'

'The tribal motifs painted on vases, tattooed on the neolithic woman's body or inscribed on cult statuettes have found their way into the weaving of the Romanian blouse where they have resided for eternity.'

'Protection from evil, magic, communication. Nothing is without meaning and nothing is purely decorative. The movement from the metaphysical plane to the aesthetic one is based on coding. The geometric compositions therefore represent a language of their own, awaiting for their message to be unchained: ram horns stand for protection of the household, rosettes for the sun, wolf fangs for the sheltering of life, the diamond for unity in the family and the list goes on.'

I'm not sure if this exhibition is meant to have the same effect on everyone but the soft traditional music playing in the background and the blouses entwined as if they were doing the dance itself gave me chills. I'd want to say I'd love to be able to wear so much poetry everyday but it's also a lot of hard work. A Romanian blouse is for life and it records, much as our passports do nowadays, all the important information about us : societal status, relationship status, age, area or provenance and gender. Quite honestly, exhibitions like these make you more aware of your heritage and I really think Romanians in general should reconnect with the customs that made us who we are today.

P.S : the rest of the exhibition space is arranged as a store where you can find cool items made by Romanian designers and contributors, from art to hang on your walls to mugs, books and t-shirts.


  1. I'm trully inlove with the prints and the detail, so beautiful!


    1. Thank you so much! Always ready to share some of my heritage ;)


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