Embroideries of Rétköz

The exhibition shows a rich collection of the folk weaves and embroideries of Rétköz and the items for producing thread and canvas from flax.
 The division of labour has been evolved over the centuries, and women were responsible for the clothing of the family and for the canvas used in the household. Before marriage, maidens had to know all the phases of processing flax into thread, as well as the process of weaving and the complex workflows of making weaves. Wintertime, the processing of flax into thread and than into canvas was a continuous occupation for women. According to researchers 25 to 30 hours was needed to produce one meter of canvas.
They used the finished canvases variously, they made women’s petticoats and shirts and men’s shirts and drawers, as well as table cloths used on feast-days and on weekdays, towels, azyme bread clothes, clothes for cleaning and covering dough-baskets, table clothes for commodes and sideboards, paillasse mattress, bed-sheets, sacks for flour and grain as well as tarpaulins. The most beautiful textiles were used on holidays (Easter, Christmas, christenings and weddings). They have red or blue waves or embroideries. Frequent ornaments were flowers and other plant motifs. According the motif, they used a variety of special names, such as: rosemary, peony, tuberose, pearl, pansy, acorn, plum core, mushroom, basket and flower.
 Flax requires carefully prepared rich soil, and it was sown in best quality soil. The blossoming flax was threshed 15 weeks after sowing and then taken on a wagon immediately to be ret. The place of the retting was determined by the local conditions. Retting was made in still water, because it was prohibited in rivers.
 After retting, women get the fibre by fracture of the dried flax.
 The fracture was carried out in two phases and both phases needed the same tool, the beater. After beating and scutching, the fibre was softened further. This workflow was the rubbing, which was carried out without the device (by foot) in our county. The time of rubbing was in August, in hot and dry weather. It was also a social gathering for young people.
The last phase was the heckling. In this process, the separation of the fibre qualities was carried out. The tool for this step was the hackle. There are four types of fibre qualities in heckling. Three from them were further processed into thread, and the worst fibre quality wasn’t even spun.
There are two kinds of spinning devices used in the county: the distaffs (with chair or on pedestal) and the spinning wheels (these are mechanical spinning tools). Maidens received decorated distaffs from their swain as a love gift. The spinning was a kind of social work as well, carried out mostly cooperatively, which provided a good opportunity for the young people to meet.
The final stage of processing flax was weaving. Before the start, the thread yet had to be rolled up and wind up to the loom.
Balls were made from the washed thread and put on the loom, creating the longitudinal threads, the warp. Thread was rolled on a sedge tube. After thread got on the loom, the hard work of weaving began.
Rammer was used for washing the linen canvas and mangle for flattening it. Rammer is a squared tool with short handle and smooth surface on both sides. The cloth was hit with it.
Mangles belong to the most beautiful works of Hungarian popular art. The high number of decorated mangles is related to the fact that these tools were given as a love gift. One side of the squared mangles with handles was ribbed and the other side had a smooth surface. On this side, love symbols were carved or engraved: tulip, rosemary, daisy, rose, rosebud, plum seed, stylized flowers and heart.