The Ethnographic Revue 4/2006 pays its attention to toys and playing. Zdeňka Poláková (About Toys, Games and Playing) gives her opinion on that theme within more general context. Alena Křížová (From a Toy to a Souvenir) deals with a toy as an artistic artefact. Two essays have their roots in the ethnographic region of Valašsko: Michal Roček (The Tradition of the Smudgy Toys ́ Manufacture) prepared an article concerning the phenomenon of the smudgy toys, Václav Michalička (The Children’s Whip – a Toy and an Implement of Work) wrote the text about children’s whips. Jana Poláková (How Do the Romany Children Play? – Notes from a terrain research at Rudňany) pays her attention to Romany children.
The section “The Transformation of Traditions” brings an article “Christmas as an Invented Tradition or Ambivalent Ritual?” by Eva Jirková and Marta Ulrychová. The social chronicle remembers the anniversaries of the musicologist Jan Trojan (born 1926), the ethnologist Miloslava Hošková (born 1946) and the choreologist Eva Kröschlová (born 1926). The obituary articles are devoted to the musician Otakar Pokorný (1926-2006) and the ethnologist Richard Jeřábek (1931- 2006). Into other regular sections, the reports of conferences, exhibitions, festivals and ethnographic activities and reviews of new editions have been involved.
The history of playing reaches back to the primeval times – the oldest maintained toys of the provable origin come from the primeval civilizations. Since the Classical times, the attention was paid to the meaning of playing and the possibilities of its didactic mission. Those tendencies were developed by medieval and modern philosophers and pedagogues. The 18th century brought an important positive change in views of the importance of toys and their affection with upbringing and education, which is reflected in the production of many new types. In the 19th and especially in the 20th century, these questions were observed within a lot of scientific branches systematically – both its positive and negative trends and affects.
The tradition of home fabrication of the so-called folk toy is quite short in the Czech Republic. Their beginnings go back to the 1830s. The toy designs resulting from the folk models became subjects at professional schools and even a subject of interest of the artists, who tried to create a so-called artistic toy, which should become a part of child’s esthetical upbringing. That artistic toy, however, did often not comply with the demands made on a children’s toy. Its criterion was mainly the artistic quality, so it moved to the roll of a gift or souvenir subject. Small workshops or home artisans who were affected retroactively realized the artistic designs – they took part in lessons and presented their products at exhibitions. Therefore, it is difficult or even impossible to earmark the category of a “folk toy” from the category of a “craft” or “artistic” toy.
The so-called smudgy toys were made only in some villages in Moravia. Valašská Bystřice was the most importance centre of this manufacture, which was supported by the considerably wooded location with suitable wood. The typical way of manufacture was a feature of the “smudgy” toy. The manufacturers smoked the toys in a furnace. The wood surface turned brown to black. This basic act was done for aesthetic reasons. After that, different patterns were cut in the wood surface by tools. In this way, the natural color was laid bare and the decorative contrast came out. Nowadays, the knowledge of this technology wastes away and only a few persons know the manufacture sequence.
In the past, children’s whip was an indispensable toy to the most country boys. The whip fulfilled also the function of a work implement used for keeping poultry and cattle out at grass. The boys ́ play with a whip meant especially development of skill needful for farming. Besides the whips made by the children themselves, also manufactured whips used to be sell. The village of Metylovice (District of Frýdek-Místek) took an essential position in the manufacture of whips. Many people dealt with leather manufacture. Here were made children’s whips with a leather strap decorated with a tassel, and with a wooden handle, which used to have a coloured décor with impressive patterns. The manufacture of children’s whips in Metylovice ceased to exist in the 1950s.
The essay results the terrain research in the village of Rudňany, which was done by the workers of the Museum of Roma Culture. It was found out that the Romany children have fewer opportunities for they games, than the children of majority society have. It is caused mainly by the social conditions of their families and division of housework among individual family members. The children up to the age of about 9 years play together; later, the groups according to sex develop. The Romany children like playing at being “mothers and fathers” and they love motion games. For most amusements, they utilize modest means of their environment, which forces them to involve their imagination more extensively, than the Romany children from town agglomerations do.
The Ethnographic Revue 3/2006 touches clubs, club life and grouping of inhabitants in town and in the country. Yvona Činčová brings nearer the research of that phenomenon in Zlín (Club Life in Zlín in the course of the Bata company expansion). Two contributions by Václav Michalička (The Participation of a Metylovice Strapmaker's Section in the Professional and Village Life) and Karel Altman (The Picture of National Development in Brno within the Activity of Typographers' Clubs) deal with concrete life of strapmakers and typographers. Marta Ulrychová describes the life of the city society in Pilsen (The Promenade of Pilsen). The grouping of folklore fans in Bratislava is the theme by Barbora Skraková (“Folklorists” in Bratislava – a view of the life of an interest group).
The Transforming Tradition column deals with wickerwork as a handicraft (Jarmila Pechová). The social chronicle remembers anniversaries the pedagogue Alena Schauerová (born 1936) and ethnographer Ludmila Tarcalová (born 1946) and publishes the obituary articles devoted to Helena Johnová (1926-2006) and Jindřich Hovorka (1937 – 2006). Into other regular sections, the reports of conferences, festivals and reviews of new books have been involved.
The study deals with the club life in the town of Zlín thoroughly, especially with its greatest development in the 1920s and 1930s within the context of the development of the local Bata Company. Tomáš Baťa, its founder, and later his brother Jan Antonín Baťa granted the foundation and activity of a lot of clubs, especially those with sports orientation. Their assistance to the associations that ensured the health care of the town’s inhabitants was no less important. Unique was the Baťa Supporting Found that financed the hospital operation as well as the social and cultural needs of the employees. The Bata Company covered not only the social and economical but also the cultural and civil development of the town of Zlín.
In the past, the village of Metylovice was connected with leather industry inherently. In the second half of the 19th century, the hitherto mainly rural village turned into the artisan and rural one gradually. The reason was the manufacture of quality whips that were distributed into whole Europe. At the beginning of the 20th century, a strapmakers ́ section was formed here. It fell within the mixed guild in Frýdlant until 1932 and then within the professional Guild of Saddlers and Strapmakers in Místek. The section as an economical and social unit influenced the village events significantly. The strapmakers became an organized group with an exceptional position and they were allowed to develop other club activities. They took an essential part in the social transformation of their village.
The fate of Czech typographers ́ grouping in Brno is a typical example of a process, during which the originally Utraquist association was divided in the second half of the 19th century. Those clubs were founded together by Czech and German members at a time when the national differences between those two groups did not come into prominence. Therefore, both languages, Czech and German, were spoken there. The consequences of gradual increase in national tends on the German side, as well as spreading of national awareness among the Czech inhabitants came to light even in the life of Brno printers. The Utraquist association division resulted in two clubs – the Czech and the German ones – with similar polarization and activities. The Veleslavín Czech Typographic Education Organization was involved among the principal national clubs in Brno, which developed rich social and entertainment activities.
The text about the promenade in Pilsen is based on the study of archives, period press responses, memoirs, imaginative literature and quantitative investigation by means of which the author tried to reconstruct the interwar appearance of the promenade in Pilsen. In Pilsen, the promenade development was similar to other Czech towns. The specificity of Pilsen was caused by the terrain (people promenaded in the square, along new roads and especially in the orchards of the Town Centre) and by the way of life in which mostly the middle classes took part over the period of Austria-Hungary. After the World War I, the secondary-school youth entered the promenade and later on, it gained its prevalence over the middle classes there. The promenade functioned as a “marriage bureau” of young people, controlled by the public, and a place where the young people got familiar with good manners and taste. The Nazi terror following the assassination of the Reichsprotektor Heydrich and the changes within the hierarchy of shared values after the World War II contributed to the extinction of the promenade.
The contribution deals with a city social group formed pursuant to the group awareness, which has been based on the natural and fostered relation to and interest in traditional culture. The group consists of both the active and former members of folklore ensembles as well as of other fans of folk culture, who take an active part in the social life of those first mentioned. The matter of interest and the rate of understanding regarding the traditional art within the Bratislava environment are especially connected with the rich activity and production of ensembles that use different stages of the traditional art’s conventionalization. Recently, we can follow the opinion and creative orientation of authors, interprets and consumers to tend to understanding and high evaluation of “authentic” expressions (or expressions which are conventionalized minimally). In a large extent, a quiete new phenomenon of personal self-realization – the so-called Dancing-House – has merit in it.
Journal of Ethnography 2/2006 is focused upon musical folklore, especially folk songs. Petr Kalina has paid his attention to Ukrainian collections of folk songs (The first notations of Ukrainian musical folklore). Hana Urbancová compares the night watchmen’s songs in Moravia and Slovakia ("The Night- watchmen’s songs" in Moravia and their relation to the Slovakian repertoire). The contribution of Tomáš Šenkyřík deals with Romani songs (Some notes concerning the motifs of Romani songs). Marta Toncrová presents the research of folk songs by children (Folk songs and the youngest generation). Bernard Garaj publishes the text about the entry of the Slovak musical instrument – a shepherds ́ long pipe called fujara – in the UNESCO list of Masterpieces of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity (The past and the present of fujara in the Slovak folk culture).
The Transforming Tradition column brings the source material on folk singers in the region of Chodsko (author Vladimír Baier). The social chronicle remembers anniversaries of some ethnologists: Alexandra Navrátilová (born 1946), Karel Pavlištík (born 1931), Jiří Langer (born 1936), Richard Jeřábek (born 1931) and Josef Jančář (born 1931). Into other sections, the reports of conferences, festivals and reviews of new books have been involved.
The essay surveys the first hundred years of collecting the Ukrainian musical folklore in a critical way. Within the results of the path-breaking collector’s attempts we find a lot of imprecision in the folk-song notations. The most collections of that time followed, however, mainly the practical musical aims and they had not any ethnographical ambitions; for all that, one can discover valuable witness of the contemporary musicality therein. The pre-scientific period of collector’s activities is limited by two milestones: the year 1774 on one hand, when the first notated Ukrainian folk songs were printed, and the year 1868 on the other hand, when the musical and folkloristic activity of Mykola Lysenko started. With his methods of folk-song collecting and arrangement, Lysenko broke new ground for the scientific ethnographic approach to Ukrainian musical folklore.
The Moravian sources relating to night watchmen’s singing from the published and archive funds that originate previously in the second half of the 19th and the first half of the 20th century, are not very numerous; they enabled, however, to create the basic picture about the Moravian song cycle of a night watchman. The tunes of the songs corresponded both to the informative and protective functions of the guards’ service and to the historical relations to Central European early sacred songs. During reconstruction of this picture, there helped the knowledge gained from a large funds of guards’ songs in Slovakia. Those funds came into being thanks to a questionnaire survey on the initiative of a Czech musicologist D. Orel in the 1930s. The comparison of both repertoire funds confirms the extension of guards’ service along with the songs from the west to the east within Central Europe whereby the cities as centres of larger administrative units became centres of that extension in the past. Whereas those city centres gained recognition for unification of the night watchmen’s repertoire, the traditional rural environment converted that repertoire into many local variations.
The music represents an important element of the Roma identity. In the territory of the Czech Republic, we can see two basic musical expressions: musical folklore of so-called settled Slovak Roma and musical folklore of Vlax Roma. The Romani music is mentioned quiet often, but the text character is described less frequently. The essay brings the attention to the themes, motifs and poetry that are typical for traditional Romany musical production. The following themes have been identified most frequently: 1. poverty, hungry, penury; 2. desolation, loneliness; 3. loss of a family member (most often the mother); 4. mother as dominancy; 5. family, children; 6. love-themes. When studying the texts, we cannot omit a frequency of certain words that we meet in the Romany production. There are especially God (o Del), children, (mire čhave, čhavore), mother (e Daj), furthermore also heart (o jilo), tears (o apsa, apsora) etc. It is interesting that we cannot observe a more conspicuous line between the traditional and present production, as to the texts.
The essay publishes the results of a research on folk-song knowledge at the youngest generation. The research was done by means of questionnaires in Brno, with the pupils of a primary school and the students of the Masaryk's University. Altogether, there were completed 286 questionnaires. Among 140 songs, the informants should tick off those songs that they knew. The songs were chosen in the textbooks for musical teaching. From the questionnaire, high knowledge of carols and children’s songs resulted; the children meet those songs always in their families or in the nursery schools. At the end of the 1940s, the children sang the same songs, as they mentioned in a questionnaire that was a part of a sociological research in the elementary and secondary schools. It concerns e.g. the songs Holka modrooká, Jede, jede poštovský panáček, Pásla ovečky, Travička zelená etc. The group of this age showed little knowledge of the songs from Slovácko (Moravian Slovakia), in contrary to the common repertoire of folk songs by the adults. Here we have summarized the results of the first probe, the research will continue.
Today for the Slovak folk music there is no other instrument with such a big significance as fujara is. As an originally three- -hole flute of shepherds in central parts of Slovakia since the half of the 19th century it has became a symbol of all the Slovak folk musical instruments. In the 20th century fujara has been known, accepted and presented as an important attribute of the Slovak identity and a symbol of the Slovak nation as well. On the other hand fujara has found its reflection in specific processes and changes concerning the morphology, decoration, social status of fujara makers and players as well as its spreading and new ways of its musical usage.
Journal of Ethnography 1/2006 deals with the carnival theme. Using examples of customary tradition from the region of Haná, Martin Šimša analyzes individual features of carnival customs and puts them into historical consequences. (The Ostatky Right in Haná, its Position in the Structure of Carnival Customs, and its Relationship to other Ceremonies of the Customary Cycle). In her article, Blanka Petráková summarizes her field research of many years in the area of Luhačovice Zálesí (The Carnival Walk in Luhačovice Zálesí within the Context of the Transformation of Customary Tradition in South Eastern Moravia). Daniela Stavělová focuses on the carnival walk in the area of Doudlebsko in southern Bohemia and the meaning of dance manifestations in its structure (The Doudleby Carnival Carolling: the Dance as a Text). Ilona Vojancová offers a survey of carnival walks at selected locations of the Hlinecko area (The Carnival Walks and Masks in Hlinecko). Katarína Nádaská presents the material from her research in the region of Slovak Nitra (The Carnival in the Community of Kanianka; The Tradition and the Present). The photo gallery of the journal includes the pictures of carnival masks from Šlapanice near Brno of the 1970s.
Josef Oriško presents his notes from the Slovenian countryside in the Transforming Tradition column. The Social Chronicle column is devoted to anniversaries of ethnomusicologist Marta Toncrová (born 1945), ethnologist Eva Večerková (born 1945), and Slovak folklorist Dagmar Klímová (born 1926); it also carries obituary notes to ethnochoreologist Hannah Laudová (1921 – 2005), and the Verbuňk dancer Kliment Navrátil (1925 – 2006). Conference news, exhibition news, book reviews and information from the field of support and preservation of folk culture are presented at the remaining pages of the journal.
„Shrovetide right“– a set of Carnival customs held in the region of Central Moravia – was awaking the interest of amateur observers and experienced experts in the course of the whole 19th century. The study targets to analyse the structure of the customary complex and to emphasize its basic forming elements. The essential part that includes the election of principal master of ceremony, the obtainment of ceremony insignia and the ritual bringing of girls to that insignia, has been taken out of the complex of Whitsun ceremonies. After having been connected with the hitherto rather seldom activities, the prestige of that festivity has grown significantly and the festivity itself has been newly re-interpreted.
The workers of the Museum of South-East Moravia in Zlín have documented the Carnival rounds in the region of Luhačovické Zálesí at the end of the 1960s, and then since 1991 until now. In the aforementioned region, the traditional structure of mascaras within a group has been maintained sporadically. There are especially the mascaras presenting and parodying various occupations or properties, and the animal mascaras (the mascara of bear occurs regularly, even if it has lost its dominating position). Now, the rounds tend to have a unifying theme that is often affected by actual social and political events or cultural news. We consider the change in understanding the rounds in the course of the 20th century from a relict of traditional ceremoniousness to the social and political satire for a model example of the Carnival customs ́ development in South-East Moravia.
The region of South-Bohemian Doudleby has aroused interest of the ethnographers since the end of the 19th century. The fact that the expression of traditional culture, called “Shrove carolling” by local people, survived continually, became attractive. Within different periods, it was recorded repeatedly. The territory of three adjacent villages – Slaveč, Dobrovská Lhotka and Soběnov – became the object of the latest feedback research (1999 – 2005). The aim of the research was to follow the importance of this local phenomenon within the today’s local society; why is it performed just now, by whom and under which circumstances, and what does contribute to its repeated performance? The structure of that custom has been stated by comparison of all available records of Carnival and based on recognition of constitutive units of the phenomenon. Within the custom’s framework, there was observed the role of the dance expression as a cultural text whose symbolic language assisted to identify some important statements regarding states, identity and integration of the relating socio-cultural environment.
In the surroundings of the town of Hlinsko in East Bohemia in Bohemian-Moravian Uplands, the Carnival rounds have been safeguarded in their almost unchanged form in some villages for long decades. At the end of Shrovetide, the rounds with mascaras take place spontaneously in the villages of Hamry, Studnice and Vortová. The appearance of mascaras, their character and functions have been maintained by tradition in active awareness of all inhabitants in the above villages. The course of the rounds, which take place all day long, is given as well: after having obtained the Mayor’s permit, the mascaras go round the village, from house to house, and they get reward (refreshment and money) of their rich-vintage and fortune wishes. The rounds are closed with a custom when one of the mascaras, called Kobylka (mare) is slaughtered solemnly.
The author of the text spares a thought for existing changes of Carnival rounds in the village of Kanianka. The spontaneously organized Carnival rounds with the mascaras of a Bear, Soldier, Gipsy, Grandpa etc. ceased to exist at the end of the 1970s. After the inhabitants from the undermined part of the neighbour village of Koš came in 1987, the folklore ensemble Košovan has been established. That ensemble presents the Carnival rounds in form of folklore performances in the Community Centre. The scenic folklore performance is closed with the midnight “double-bass burying” and the dancing entertainment.