Maria şi Iulian Mihalachi Traditional decorative mask - model 1

55,79 EUR
When winter holidays come, Romanians all over the country practice complex rituals involving traditional masks. Most rituals and customs take place between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, with small variations in the practice and timing depending on each area. Iulian Mihalachi crafts such masks from pure sheep wool and skin, white and dark beans and pieces of fabrics such as silk and cotton. 
This type of mask is used by young men in a cleansing and purifying ritual meant to drive evil spirits away - as an old saying goes to scare away The Ugly one must be uglier than it. And so, before the New Year comes, masked young people gather around a fire and mimic fights with each other using long wooden sticks. It is believed this practice banishes away evil spirits and keeps the village protected, so the New Year comes all locals are purified. 
In some areas it is said the demons stick to the masks and after the ritual the used masks are burnt in the fire. The general belief says the masks bring good luck if kept inside the house. 
All masks are assembled by manually stitching and gluing every component, so they are one of a kind. We recommend you to use the mask for decorative purposes only (don’t forget it is meant to be worn). Keep it away from moisture and water. Due to the nature of the fabrics used, the mask might have a specific odour. We recommend you to keep it in an open or highly ventilated space for a few days and the odour will fade. 
Approximate dimensions: height 45 cm; width 40 cm; weight 500 grams.
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Product Code: 8389.01 Do you need help? 0770.260.340
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Maria and Iulian Mihalachi are living in Băltățești, a village from Neamț county in the north-eastern part of Romania. The two spouses are artisans whose work is recognized and appreciated all over the country. The home-made decorative fabrics and traditional masks made by the couple are the most admired objects. Maria Mihalachi, ex engineer and teacher, has taught herself to use the horizontal loom inherited from her grandmother. Maria studied about weaving techniques and ancient Romanian symbols in museums and also directly, by observing women workers who already knew the craft. In time, with her husband’s help and support, the artist built a workshop where she currently creates carpets, tapestries and pouches. On the horizontal loom Maria uses cotton warp and wool weft in creating the fabrics; the wool can be either natural or dyed with natural pigments (obtained by boiling in water different types of leaves, roots or flowers, tree barks or even minerals). The motifs incorporated by Maria in her art are inspired from Neamț, an area in north-eastern Romania; some motifs are reproduced, others are stylized and all of them bear their maker’s personal touch.
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