There is a long tradition in Maramures and all of Romania in the weaving of blankets. They provided needed warmth in the winter as well as being an important source of income for the weavers. Many villages still specialize in the traditional weaving of these blankets. The blanket or "cerga" is woven of thick wool and was traditionally used to cover the bed, but today they are also made to cover chairs, couches and even floors.
The carpets of Maramures are one of the most important art forms found in the region. The strength of materials, quality of the weaving, the local, natural dyes and particularly the fantastic decoration all make these rugs prized works of art. Woven on the same looms are also table cloths, bed sheets, dish towels and duffel bags of many colors, shapes and sizes.
The ceramics of the area have ancient Dacian roots that continue even today. The ceramic forms of Maramures include the red, unenameled ceramics of Sacel decorated with simple archaic symbols in black; the enameled ceramics of Vama decorated using a hollow animal's horn filled with pigment; the ceramics of Vama and Lapus decorated with both horn and brush; the ceramics of Vama and Valea Izei using a wooden knife to cut designs into the soft clay; and the ceramics of Baia Sprie and Baia Mare where only a brush is used.
The Ceramics of Sacel: Situated in the easternmost part of Maramures, Sacel is the oldest area to continuously produce ceramics in the region. Pots, pitchers, decanters, cups, bowls and plates are all still made in the ancient Dacian method. All are created with simple unenamled, red clay and painted with basic black symbols from an ancient time.
The Ceramics of the Iza Valley: The ceramics are noted for their designs in many brilliant colors. There is no exact geographic center nor any known ethnic origin to this type of pottery. It first appeared at the beginning of the nineteenth century in the area between Tara Oasului to northern Bucovina. By the early twentieth century it had become common along the Iza Valley. These ceramics are very similar to the Byzantine influenced ceramics of Moldova and the Slovak ceramics brought to Maramures by the Carpatho-Russians. The pottery of Cuty (in the Ukraine) also share a close resemblance.
Other materials were also used in the construction of artistic containers. Stone, metal, bone, horn and natural fibers like reeds were used to produce a variety of articles, but only in small quantities in comparison to ceramics.
The icons from Maramures have a long and rich tradition. The wooden icons of Maramures are known for their beautiful depiction of religious figures and events in a more human and realistic manner.
Icons were first painted on glass at the St. Nicholas Monastery in Cluj and in Maramures. The appearance of glass casting workshops, in the middle of the eighteenth century, was the catalyst for this art form. Many of the creators of these icons were simple peasants who had a minimum of technical knowledge. Despite this limited knowledge or because of it, they breathed life into some very special creations. Some of these master works can be seen in museums and churches in Romania and abroad.
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