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TRADITIONS - hand-drawn ceramics of Kosiv

Having survived since the end of XVIII century. The traditions of hand-drawn ceramics of Kosiv spread in the town of Kosiv and nearby villages Pistyn, Verbovets, Staryi Kosiv and the urban-type settlement Kutiv.



The role of the main center of the national pottery was first played by the Pistyn village. It had its own ceramic school, its own style and its own tradition.


The plots of paintings of the Pistyn craftsmen are closer to the folk primitive, and the favorite motifs of the ornament are triangles and their combinations that cover the walls of the vessels and edges of the bowls. Since the XIX century the center of pottery moved to Kosiv. It formed the recognizable features of the Kosiv ceramics:


- three-color palette (yellow, green and brown), it is associated with the perception of nature (the sun, mountains and land);

- the reflection of the life of Hutsuls, their beliefs and traditional way of life;

- the application of biblical scenes and images of saints, churches and bell towers.


Koshak P. (1860-1942) Baklaha. Vessel. Early ХХ century. Pistyn village. 23.8x19 cm. Clay, engobe. Formation on a circle, engraving, painting, glazing


What and how was produced


The main feature of pottery is that it is man-made. This is the uniqueness of each ceramic work. Most of the products were made by potters on the potter's wheel and these objects included mainly applied dishes made of local raw materials - clay of dark gray color, which when put into pottery kiln discovered a red tint.


The range of products was wide enough: pots for cooking; milk pots; mugs and pots, flasks, different barrels for liquids; pottery for Easter cakes and supply for baking cakes; makitras for grinding poppy; bowls, jars and mugs.


Verbivska N. (1929 g.) Vase. 1961. Kosiv. Clay, engobe, watering. Formation on a circle, engraving, painting, glazing


The basis for a bright decorative system of Hutsul ceramics in the early nineteenth century was rytuvannia (the engraved painting). With this technique, the product is fully covered with a thin layer of white clay, and the outline of the ornament was painted on the dried white background, its planes were filled with brown engobe and burned for the first time. After that, the object was painted with ceramic paints of yellow and green colors, covered with glaze and burned again. In the decoration of utensils another interesting tool was used– flow mottles: targeted towards the spot of green glaze they added dynamism to a composition.


Besides the tableware forms usual for Ukraine, vessels for wine were made in Subcarpathia region – clay pots of flaky shape, banks for liquid, narrow jars for oil and ring-shaped vases. Large candlestick for one candle is a special, inherent only in the Subcarpathia region ceramic form (postavnyk), which was presented to the Church by parishioners.


Kovbasynnyk, M. Candleholder. 1867. Kosiv. Clay, engobe. Formation on a circle, engraving, painting, glazing


Kahlia (a jug) was also produced on the rectangular space of which the crafters reflected the surrounding events – the work of the peasants, entertainment and holidays, the lordly retreats, riders, musicians and dancers, hunting scenes and various animals (deer, lion, bear, rooster, fish, etc.). Thus the Chronicles of local life were created.


The plots of religious content were common on the tiles: church buildings, crosses and images of saints.


Carriers of tradition. Outstanding craftsmen of Pistyn and Kosiv


The development of ceramics of Pistyn is associated with the works of Zintiuk dynasty, in particular of Dmytro, whose years of intensive work included 1840-1865. Petro Koshak (1860-1942) is a well-known representative of the late generation of Pistyn craftsmen.


The feature of creativity of the outstanding craftsman of the Kosiv ceramics Mykhaylo Baraniuk (1834-1902) from Moskalivka which is near Kosiv was the central arrangement of drawing, symmetric and balanced composition. Slender ornamental motifs are adherent to the works of Yosyp Baraniuk (1863-1942), the last of the great craftsmen of Moskalivka.


Baraniuk Y. (1863-1942) A bowl. Early ХХ century. Kosiv. Clay, engobe. Formation on a circle, engraving, painting, glazing


The craftsman of Kosiv ceramics of the third quarter of the XIX century Oleksa Bakhmatiuk (1820-1882) enriched the tradition of Kosiv hand-drawn ceramics with a new element - the so-called Bakhmatiuk flower: its middle is an ellipse filled with partial letters and surrounded by dots. Around the flower, there is a halo which is a yellow stripe, bounded by a toothed line. Bakhmatiuk’s works were exhibited in Vienna in 1873 and Lviv in 1877. Visiting the exhibition in Coloma in 1880, the Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph bought a whole furnace made by the craftsman.


Craftsmen of the second half of the XX century, Pavlyna Tsvilyk (1891-1964), Viktoria Voloshchuk (1932) and Nadiia Verbivska (1929) continued developing traditions of Kosiv ceramics. Their works are rich both in form and painting.


Tsvilyk P. (1891-1964). Flower Pot in the shape of a ram. Kosiv, 1959. 24.8x26.4x15 cm. Bottle for beverages. 1950s. Kosiv. Clay, engobe. Formation on a circle, engraving, painting, glazing

Now the tradition is developing in two directions: as a small shop production and private creative workshops. Its well-known carriers include: Oksana Beisiuk, Khrystyna Balahurak, Bohdan Burmych, Ivanna Kozak-Dileta, Valentyna Dzhuraniuk, Uliana Shkromiuk, Mariia Hryniuk, Vasyl Strypko, Mykhailo Susak, the creative family of Ihor, Khrystyna and Tereza Trots, and many other interesting artists.


In 2016, the traditions of Kosiv hand-drawn ceramics were included in the national list of elements of the intangible cultural heritage of Ukraine.


The article based on the Iryna Beketova materials.

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