UNESCO România
UNESCO România Muntenia Culture Oltenia


Horezu Pottery


Romanian ceramics compiles an experience that dates back to Neolithic times. The “Cucuteni” culture of this period is recognized as having one of the most refined and stylish potteries in all of Europe. Nowadays, the most famous Romanian pottery is made in and around the town of Horezu, in northern Wallachia. An age-old craft, modeling clay has become a real art in the hands of old masters, the inhabitants of this heavenly region.
Horezu pottery – unique to Romania due to the chromatics and floral motives – is emblematic for the region and is known worldwide. Preserving the local tradition and displaying Byzantine influences that have turned the craft into a brand for the Horezu valley, the Horezu pottery is shaped only on the traditional kick-wheel, with simple finishing tools. Its burning is usually made in horizontal stoves using the oxidation technique, thus resulting in red earthenware. Most of the ceramic objects are decorated in delicate, yet powerful geometric and vegetal patterns, artfully painted by the masters’ wives, using 100% natural colors and ancient age old tools such as cow horns and goose feathers.
The traditional glazed ceramic objects are: plates, mugs, pitchers, bowls and even toys and flutes. The most frequently used colors in Horezu are brown, orange-red, green and lately even blue. Light colors are preferred for the background. The colors are natural and the tools used are conventional too: cow horns and the quill (goose feather). The color of the pottery is given by special clays brought from hills in the village (white earth) and from hills in the neighbor villages (red and brown).The clay is prepared through a traditional technique and not used immediately, and needs to yeast for a while – big clay balls are broken into small particles through a wetting-drying process. After decoration the pottery is burned in traditional kilns made of clay bricks and twigs. At last, the pots are covered with a special enamel material and backed for the second time.
The motifs are varied and many of them were preserved through time, even if they suffered changes in their representation. The most popular motif for the region is the Horezu Rooster, but there are other symbolic drawings: the spiral, the star, the snake of the house, the tree of life, the wavy line (the lost way), concentric circles, and the wheat ears. The pottery is shaped using the traditional kick-wheel. Usually men form the objects and women give the finishing touch, decorating them. The traditional painting method called “jirăvirea” is a special technique used for adornment. This is made by joining the edges of a spiral with its center, while the paint is still wet. This technique allows the making of an infinite number of models that result from the combination of the colors that appear in a spiral and through the different styles through which this traditional painting method is done.
The town of Horezu houses the largest ceramics fair in the country, “The Hurez Rooster – Cocosul de Hurez”, an event that takes place every year on the first Saturday and Sunday of June. The fair is attended by craftsmen from all the pottery centres across the country ( Horezu – Vâlcea, Oboga – Olt, Vlădesti – Vâlcea, Corund – Harghita, Baia Mare, Hunedoara, Timis, Marginea – Suceava, Lungeşti – Vâlcea, Slătioara – Vâlcea, Miercurea Nirajului, Odorheiul Secuiesc, and so on).
The Horezu Pottery – included in UNESCO Patrimony on December 6, 2012
UNESCO decided on Thursday, December 6 2012 in Paris, during the 7th session of the Intergovernmental Commitee for the Protection of the Cultural Imaterial Patrimony, to include the Romanian Horezu ceramics in the list of the UNESCO Cultural Imaterial Patrimony. România has also included in this list the ritual of the Căluşari, in 2008, and the song of Doina, in 2009.
According to UNESCO, the preparation of the Horezu ceramics is “a unique traditional work”, practiced both by men and women in northern Wallachia. So “the men are extracting the clay, that is cleaned, cut, wetted, and mixed, to become the best material for the preparation of the famous Horezu vessels. Women are decorating the objects using specific traditional techniques and instruments for drawing traditional models”.
UNESCO said also that, “the techniques, the art and the knowledge associated to the Horezu ceramics are symbolic markers for the identity of the community from Horezu and Olari and the inclusion of the Horezu ceramics in the UNESCO list can contribute to the cooperation with other artisans from other areas to promote the respect for cultural diversity and human creativity”.

The UNESCO list has today more than 170 masterpieces from 75 countries. The Cultural Immaterial Patrimony refers to traditions and oral expressions including language as vector of the cultural immaterial patrimony, the art performances, social practices, rituals and events, knowledge and practices related to the nature and Universe, techniques related to traditional works.


Ceramica de Horezu


Ceramica romaneasca este sinteza unei experiente care dateaza din neolitic. Cultura “Cucuteni” din aceasta perioada este recunoscuta ca fiind una din cele mai rafinate si elegante culturi ceramice din Europa. Azi, cea mai faimoasa ceramica romaneasca este realizata in jurul orasului Horezu, in nordul Valahiei. Un mestesug stravechi, modelarea argilei a devenit o adevarata arta in mainile vechilor maestri, locuitori ai acestei guri de rai.
Ceramica de Horezu – unica in Romania datorita culorilor si elementelor florale – este emblematica pentru regiunea in care se afla si este cunoscuta in toata lumea. Conservand traditiile locale si expunand influente bizantine care au transformat acest mestesug intr-un brand pentru regiunea Horezu, ceramica de Horezu este axata numai pe traditionala roata a olarului, si pe unelte de decorat simple. Arderea este in general realizata in cuptoare orizontale utilizand tehnica oxidarii, rezultand astfel o ceramica rosiatica. Majoritatea obiectelor ceramice sunt decorate cu modele geometrice vegetale delicate, dat totusi puternice, pictate artistic de catre sotiile mesterilor, folosint culori 100% naturale si vechi unelte de pictat cum ar fi coarne de vaca sau pene de gasca.
Obiectele ceramice traditionale lucioase sunt: farfurii, cani, ulcioare, castroane si chiar jucarii sau fluiere. Cele mai frecvent utilizate culori in Horezu sunt maro, portocaliu-rosu, verde si mai recent chiar si albastru. Culorile usoare sunt preferate pentru fundal. Culorile sunt naturale si uneltele folosite sunt conventionale: coarne de vaca si penele (in special de gasca). Culoarea ceramicii este data de argile speciale aduse din dealurile din jurul localitatii (pamant alb) si din dealurile din vecinatatea localitatii (rosu si maro). Argila este preparata printr-o tehnica traditionala si nu este utilizata imediat, avand nevoie sa dospeasca o vreme – bulgari mari de argila sunt sparti in bucati mai mici printr-un procedeu de umezire-uscare. Dupa decorare ceramica este arsa in cuptoare traditionale construite din caramizi din argila si nuiele. La final, obiectele ceramice sunt acoperite cu un material special pentru smaltuit si puse din nou la cuptor.
Decoratiile sunt variate si multe din ele sunt pastrate de generatii, chiar daca unele din ele au suferit modificari in ceea ce priveste modul lor de reprezentare. Cel mai popular element decorativ pentru regiune este Cocosul de Horezu, dar sunt de asemenea si multe alte desene simbolice cum ar fi: spirala, steaua, sarpele casei, copacul vietii, cararea serpuita (ratacita), cercuri concentrice, si spicele de grau. Ceramica este modelata folosind traditionala roata a olarului. De obicei barbatii formeaza obiectele si femeile le finiseaza, decorandu-le. Metoda traditionala de pictare numita “jirăvirea” este o tehnica speciala folosita pentru impodobit. Este realizata unind marginile unei spirale cu centrul ei in timp ce pictura este inca umeda. Aceasta tehnica permite realizaera unui numar infinit de modele care rezulta din combinarea culorilor care apar intr-o spirala si prin diferitele stiluri prin care aceasta metoda traditionala de pictare este folosita.
Orasul Horezu adaposteste cel mai mare targ ceramic din Romania, “Cocosul de Hurez”, un eveniment care are loc anual in prima sambata sau duminica din iunie. La targ participa mesteri populari din toate centrele ceramice din tara (Horezu – Vâlcea, Oboga – Olt, Vlădesti – Vâlcea, Corund – Harghita, Baia Mare, Hunedoara, Timis, Marginea – Suceava, Lungeşti – Vâlcea, Slătioara – Vâlcea, Miercurea Nirajului, Odorheiul Secuiesc, si altele).


Ceramica de Horezu – inclusa in patrimoniul UNESCO pe 6 decembrie, 2012


UNESCO a hotarat Joi, 6 decembrie 2012 la Paris, in timpul celei de-a 7-a sesiuni a Comisiei Interguvernamentale pentru Protectia Patrimoniului Cultural Imaterial, sa includa ceramica romaneasca de Horezu in lista Patrimoniului Cultural Imaterial UNESCO. România a mai fost inclusa in aceasta lista cu dansul ritual Căluşari, în 2008, si cu cantecul popular Doina, în 2009.
Conform UNESCO, pregatirea ceramicii de Horezu este “o creatie unica traditionala”, practicata atat de barbati cat si de femei in nordul Valahiei. Astfel “barbatii extrag argila, care este curatata, taiata, umezita, si amestecata, pentru a deveni cel mai bun material pentru prepararea faimoaselor obiecte ceramice de Horezu. Femeile decoreaza obiecte folosind tehnici specifice traditionale si instrumente pentru desenarea de modele traditionale”.
UNESCO de asemenea mai spune ca, “tehnicile, arta si cunoasterea asociata cu ceramica de Horezu sunt markeri simbolici pentru identitatea comunitatii din Horezu si Olari si includerea ceramicii de Horezu in lista UNESCO poate contribui la cooperarea cu alti mesteri populari din alte zone pentru promovarea respectului pentru diversitate culturala si creativitate umana.

Lista UNESCO are in prezent peste 170 de capodopere din peste 75 de tari. Patrimoniul Cultural Immaterial se refera la traditiile si expresiile orale incluzand limba ca vector al patrimoniului cultural imaterial, actul artistic, practicile sociale, ritualurile si evenimentele, cunoasterea si practicile legate de natura si univers, tehnicile legate de munca traditionala.