National costume, Czechoslavakia

Contributed by: Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences

Olga Kupkova wearing a traditional Czech costume Olga Kupkova wearing a traditional Czech costume Olga Kupkova and her daughter Olga Slezacek wearing  traditional Czech costumes Women and child's national costume, Czechoslovakia.
  • Australian dress register ID:

    311
  • Owner:

    Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences
  • Owner registration number:

    P.1402/1
  • Date range:

    1940
  • Place of origin:

    Prostejov, Olomouc region, Czechoslovakia
  • Gender:

    Female, Child
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Object information

Significance statement

This women's Hanacky Kroj dating from 1940 is a well provenenced example of traditional dress from the Hana region of Moravia in Czechoslavakia. Worn and partly made by Olga Kupkova the dress includes twelve components, intricately constructed and embroidered by specialist seamstresses and needleworkers, reflecting the time, expense and variety of skills that go into creating Hanacky Kroj. The style and design reflect the importance placed on communicating and celebrating regional identity through dress. In addition its elaborate composition and embellishment are meant to remind the viewer that it originates from one of the most prosperous areas of Moravia, Hana, which was renowned for producing the richest and most complicated designs.

The related Hanacky Kroj book explains the social significance of the Hanacky Kroj and the very specific conventions for manufacture and wear. This is reinforced through the inclusion of patterns for components of the outfit and embroidery, step by step instructions on how to make it and information on the fabric, threads, starches and the costs involved as well as the names and addresses of specialist makers including shoe makers, embroiderers, lace makers and seamstresses who can assist with making components of the outfit. The social and cultural importance of Kroj is explained in the introduction by Dr Jan Kuhndel 'Kroj is an expensive, precious and sacred symbol of national and tribal tradition. It is a child of the Baroque era and its style, in which Czech soul found its festive days, cultural base and unique folk art. Every Kroj is a mirror and an expression of its era, its region, and its people.'

Furthermore, as records of Czechoslovakian immigration in New South Wales, the garments form part of an important historical narrative concerning the experience of refugee escape and settlement in Australia.

The significance of the costume collection is further increased by its well provenanced history associated with the Skacelova/Kupkova/Slezacek family and the accompanying photographs of Olga Kupkova wearing the Hanacky Kroj and Olga Slezacek wearing the child's traditional dress.

Glynis Jones, Curator and Sarah Crowe, intern, May 2011.

References

Ciakova, M. and V, Prostejove. 1940. Hanacky Kroj. Czechoslovakia.

Hargreaves, B. n.d. Migrants of the Nepean Valley. NSW.

Snowden, J. 1979. The Folk Dress of Europe. Mills and Boon: London, Sydney, Toronto.

Author: Glynis Jones, May 2011.

Description

Women's traditional folk dress including a lipsky satek, petticoat, opleci, kosile, kordulka, fertoch, fertusek and obojek and white Leon Worth pantihose (a later addition to replace the white stockings worn at the time).

The kerchief or lipsky satek, is a turban shaped cotton headdress with red, green, cream and black flowers. There are also two additional printed cotton squares for making the lipsky satek.

The fine linen white blouse (kosile) has a centre front opening, which ties with a red ribbon. Large elbow length puff sleeves are pleated into the shoulder and the cuffs embroidered with floral and heart motifs. Worn beneath this, the cream linen fitted opleci under-blouse has a centre front opening, which fastens with loops tied with red ribbon. The back is embroidered with hearts and flowers in cream thread. A half peplum is gathered into the waist. The kordulka sleeveless waist length vest, worn over the kosile, is made from floral silk brocade trimmed with multicoloured braid and silver lace braid. A centre front opening fastens with a single hook and eye and is trimmed with six filigree metal buttons. A solid scalloped trim embellished with sequins is at the back.

A plain cream petticoat, made from one 100m width of fabric, finishes at mid-calf and the hem is trimmed with a narrow band of lace.  A fertoch (long heavily starched white linen skirt) is worn over the petticoat. The skirt is fully pleated into the waistband trimmed with yellow embroidery, apart from small sections at each edge, which cross over and tie at the front.  Worn over the fertoch, the fertusek (apron like long skirt) is made from fabric widths joined with fagotting.  It secures from front to back with long tab ties. Finely pleated and smocked into an embroidered waistband, the skirt features a wide band of yellow embroidery, drawn thread work of daisies and foliage and floral motifs scattered across the body. A loop is attached to the centre front waistband and the hem and sides are trimmed with bobbin lace. A length of floral ribbon is tucked into the waist, drapes to the floor with a long red cotton band.

The obojek (large starched white collar) is made from layers of box pleated linen attached to an embroidered black band trimmed with lace and tied with red ribbon at the back.

A bonnet is also included in the ensemble.

History and Provenance

Do you have any stories or community information associated with this?

Hanacky Kroj means a Traditional Folk Dress from the geographical region of Hana, located in Moravia, Czech Republic.

In his introduction in the book called Hanacky Kroj, written by Marta Cizkova in 1940, Dr Jan Kuhndel states: "Kroj is an expensive, precious and sacred symbol of national and tribal tradition.  It is a child of the baroque era and its style, in which Czech soul found its festive days, cultural base and unique folk art.  Every Kroj is a mirror and an expression of its era, its region, and its people".

D Stranska in her Sunday addition to newspaper "Narodni Listy" in 1939 states: "Hana is a heart of Moravia and a crown of the Kroj’s of Moravia is Hanacky Kroj".

Olga Kupkova’s Hanacky Kroj was intended for special occasions only.  A lot of money, time, material and expertise were put into this traditional dress.  Part of the embroidery was done by Olga Kupkova and part by professional people.  Seamstresses were employed to finish this traditional garment. 

How does this garment relate to the wider historical context?

Hanacky Kroj (traditional folk dress) have been worn by women of the Hana region in Moravia since the 1700s.  Over time regional styles have evolved and two forms of costume were developed, one for everyday use and the other for special occasions like national festivals.

The donor's mother, Olga Kupkova (nee Skacelova) who was born in Prostejov, in the Olomouc region of Czechoslovakia wore this outfit on special occasions throughout her life in former Czechoslovakia and the CzechRepublic.  It was expected that young women would assist in the embroidery or making of a traditional dress and Olga commenced work on her Hanacky Kroj in 1940 at the age of 18. Olga Kupkova's daughter explained 'My mother's parents were quite prominent in the community and it was expected that she owned and participated in the development of this beautiful traditional dress.'

Olga Kupkova's daughter Olga Slezacek donated the Hanacky Kroj to the Museum. Olga and her husband Ivo Slezacek were born in Czechoslovakia, married in the early 1960s and arrived in Australia on 18 November, 1968 as refugees fleeing the Russian and Allied army occupation of Czechoslovakia. A few days after Russia occupied the country on 21 August, 1968, Ivo, who had graduated as a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine in 1959, commenced a scholarship tour in West Germany. Olga stayed in Brno with their three year old daughter, Yvette, before travelling to Austria where she met Sylvia Segenreich, cousin of her brother in law, Paul, who lived in Australia. Ivo joined his family the following day and they later immigrated to Australia, settling in Castle Hill.

Three years later the Slezacek family became Australian citizens in November 1971. Ivo registered as a Veterinary Surgeon in NSW, becoming a partner in a Veterinary Surgery in Penrith, before obtaining a position as a Veterinary Officer at the College of Advanced Education, and opening a private practice in Penrith in 1977. Before arriving in Australia, Olga had completed a degree in Agricultural Economy.  In Australia she initially ran a home beauty salon, then worked as a Technical Officer Scientific in Animal Sciences at the HawkesburyAgriculturalCollege, Richmond, and later completed a Masters Thesis on the Growth Rate and Composition in Lambs.

In 1994 Olga Kupkova sent her Hanacky Kroj to her daughter, Olga Slezacek, to keep and pass down through the female members of the family line. 

Where did this information come from?

Notes were supplied to Glynis Jones by the donor Olga Slezacek via email on 26/3/2009.  The notes are from Olga’s memory of conversations with her mother and the book her mother used in 1940 when she commenced work on her Kroj.

The notes have been used to develop the wider historical context for the garment.  The remainder of the notes regarding the recommended progression for putting the garment on are featured below.

1. Hand knitted white stockings are put on first. They may be knee stockings.

2. Black chamois shoes. The heel should not be higher than five cm. Shoes with black shoe polish should never be used.

3. Kerchief (Lipsky satek) in red or dark colours became fashionable after 1840. Hair under the kerchief should be tied back and completely covered by kerchief. Kerchief usually laced up by an experienced person and kept on the ball of paper when not in use. Usually one of five different methods of lacing up are used and step-by-step instruction of one type is described in the book Hanacky Kroj. 

4. Petticoat is put on.  If a woman wanted a bigger look, an additional, short, heavily starched petticoat was worn under the long one.

5. Next three parts are put on together:

Opleci (back panel embroidered with cream-coloured thread and tied up at the front with thin red ribbon.)

Kosile (white shirt with hard starched sleeves is assembled together with Kordulka, before it is put on the person).

Kordulka (very colourful, short, sleeveless vest, is left open at the front at this stage).

6. Fertoch is a long pleated, heavily starched skirt, which is tied from back to front.

7. Fertusek is an apron like long skirt, embroidered with yellow thread and tied up from front to back. Safety pins are used to attach a high waist strip to the Fertuch and Opleci under the colourful Kordulka. Only now is Kordulka closed at the front.

8. Obojek, a large, starched collar is put on last.

The large, yellow embroidered, square piece of cotton is held in ones hand or attached to the waist.

Make up is never used when the Kroj is worn. We have to remember, that the Kroj was originally a dress for village folks and make up was not part of their attire.

  1. Place of origin:

    Prostejov, Olomouc region, Czechoslovakia

  2. Owned by:

    Olga Kupkova (nee Skacelova) who was born in Prostejov, in the Olomouc region of Czechoslovakia, wore this outfit on special occasions, including national festivals, throughout her life in former Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic. It was expected that young women would assist in the embroidery or making of a traditional dress and Olga commenced work on her Hanacky Kroj in 1940 at the age of 18.

  3. Worn by:

    Olga Kupkova

  4. Occasion(s):

    National festivals and special occasions.

  5. Place:

    Czechoslovakia and the Czech Republic.

  6. Made by:

    Olga Kupkova assisted with the embroidery for this Hanacky Kroj whilst living in Czechoslovakia.

  7. Made for:

    Olga Kupkova

Trimmings / Decoration

Ribbon

Ribbon is used to fasten blouse, underblouse, collar and bonnet. It is also used for decoration on the hem of the petticoat.

Lace

Lace is used as a trimming throughout dress.

Embroidery

Embroidered floral, heart motifs throughout entire dress.

Fibre / Weave

  1. Natural dye
  2. Synthetic dye

Manufacture

The 'Hanacky Kroj' book was given to Olga to assist her with making the dress. It includes information on the history and significance of the traditional dress, includes patterns for components of the outfit and embroidery and step by step instructions on how to make it. It provides information on the fabric, threads, starches and the costs involved as well as the names and addresses of specialist makers including shoe makers, embroiderers, lace makers and seamstresses who can assist with components of the outfit.

  1. Hand sewn
  2. Machine sewn
  3. Knitted
  4. Other

Cut

  1. Bias
  2. Straight

Fastenings

  1. Hook and eye
  2. Lacing
  3. Buttons
  4. Zip
  5. Drawstring

Measurements

blouse collar skirt vest
Girth
Neck 462 mm 550 mm
Chest 706 mm 920 mm
Waist 640 mm
Cuff 291 mm
Hem circumference 7344 mm
Vertical
Front waist to hem 924 mm
Sleeve length 320 mm
Horizontal
Neck to sleeve head 144 mm
Cross back 340 mm 440 mm
Underarm to underarm 376 mm 462 mm
Convert to inches

Petticoat:

Waist is 826 mm (at its largest)

Front waist to hem is 813 mm

Hem circumference is 5281 mm

Obojek:

Neck is 373 mm

Hem circumference is 836 mm

Lipsky satek:

Height is 744 mm

Width is 760 mm

Additional material

Other related objects

A bonnet is also included in this ensemble.  Constructed from various braids and metallic and linen laces, the bonnet is embellished with beading and sequins.  Tulle trimmed with sequins forms the back and the floral embroidered ribbons tie around the neck.

Olga Slezacek would also like to donate her little traditional folk costume she wore when she was five years old to the PHM collection. (Photo of her dressed in this costume is also supplied).  It is unknown whether or not there was any contribution by her mother during the production of this garment or if it was commercially produced and purchased for Olga Slezacek.  

Condition

State

  1. Excellent
  2. Good
  3. Fair
  4. Poor

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