Culture of Mazovia in folk vision of the world
Collector traditions in The Mazovian Museum in Płock (in the field of ethnography) have incidentally defined the thematic scope of the present exhibition in the context of the selection of depicted regions. This range is also further dictated by the desire to meet the expectations of visitors who, for years, have been signing the commemorative books and expressed their need for constant contact with monuments from different parts of The Mazovian region. The exhibition aims to show diverse folk culture of Mazovia through seven ethnographic regions, such as The Old Mazovia, the Primeval Green Forest of Kurpie, The Primeval White Forest of Kurpie, the Łowickie, the Gąbińskie, the Rawskie and the Kołbielskie. This division is universally applicable and the aforementioned regions are generally recognized as major. Their characteristics in each regional art gallery are communicated through selected distinct ethnographic genres, such as clothing, fabric, cutout, ceramics, wickerwork, as well as traits distinctive for the area, such as chests from Gąbin or Kurpian chairs of the Jankowskis. The background for the presented outfits are collages of ambient archival photographs.
Most attention and space (the entire third floor) is, for obvious reasons, devoted to the nearest Płock region—the Old Mazovia. Separate annexes have been arranged to demonstrate parts of clothing and fabrics, as well as examples of folk art (with the representatives of the Sierpc centre—Krajewski, Ruszkowski and Skirzyński, separate artists—Wójcik and Ptaszyńska and the phenomenon of the circus of the Raziki), places famous for miracles, waterman activities associated with the Vistula, wickerwork goods, pottery and smithery. The focal point of this level is the form representing chamber reconstruction with all essential points of mediation, and the contact of the sacred with the profane.
The folk vision of the world is one of the two leading narratives of the exhibition, next to the regional path, and the attitude of people to the world best shows in rituals, both annual and family ones. Their analysis allows us to understand the way in which the people perceived their place and role in the Universe. Common folk thinking created a system of concepts, operated within a certain framework of world knowledge, based on direct observation as well as experimenting with objects and phenomena of nature. That vision seriously determined the lives of people who considered themselves an integral part of the universe.
Out of the crucial moments in the human life, we relate stories about birth, marriage and death. In the circle of the ritual year we present the selected and most significant holidays falling on the crucial moments associated with solstice, but also those the celebration of which is connected with manufacturing items possessing apotropeic, protective and magical properties.
The folk perception of the world, an inherent belief in the heterogeneous space, and evaluating it, has become an inspiration for the analogous division of the exhibition into three main parts corresponding to some extent to the three floors of our building:
1. the heavenly zone—the afterlife, orbis exterior (in the attic)
2. the earthly zone—the world of people, the house and its protection against “evil,” the ethnography of The Old Mazovia (on the third floor); the ethnography of The Primeval Green Forest of Kurpie, The Primeval White Forest of Kurpie, The Gąbińskie, The Łowickie, The Rawskie and The Kołbielskie, orbis interior, yet also exterior with respect to The Old Mazovia (on the second floor)
3. the subterranean zone, demonic—the hell, orbis exterior (on the second floor, in the central part).
The common factor connecting each floor is represented by the tree of life as a universal archetypal symbol of the centre of the world and its cyclical renewal. It used to represent a place of communication between the subterranean zone (roots) and the heavenly one (crown). The associated cult has left numerous traces within folk culture in the form of many plant symbols appearing in annual rituals and adornments.
The helpful form of organizing the knowledge of apotropeions, borderlines and demons is offered through the interactive panel located on the third floor of the aquatic annexe. The knowledge of the regions can be expanded using the application of Map of Mazovia, also situated on the third floor. In the same place we offer to learn more about the places famous for miracles. The bench by the hut invites you to sit down next to the old country man with a hurdy-gurdy and listen to the old men’s country songs about the The Virgin Mary of Studzianna, Lazarus, souls, Saint Anthony and the Last Judgement, performed by Kaja and Janusz Prusinowski.
We invite you on a tour of the ethnographic regions of Mazovia that are immersed in the folk vision of the world. Children are encouraged to use a new form of contact created in our museum—the play area designed especially for the youngest, among other objects, equipped with exhibits permitted to be touched.
Where? Kazimierza Wielkiego Street 11b, Płock
When? The exhibition can be visited from Tuesday to Sunday, in the summer from 10.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m., in winter from 10.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. (last admission – 45 minutes before closing).
For how much? Normal ticket PLN 5, reduced PLN 3