This heritage collection bearing ethnology and history features was set up at the initiative of the population living in Bački Jarak, colonists from Bosanska Krajina. The idea to establish such a collection was initiated in 1946. It was motivated by the wish to preserve the memory on the old homeland.
Brvnara (Log Cabin) ethno house was built in 1978, with the financial support of the local self-government from Bački Jarak and Temerin, Drvar, Banja Luka and Bosanski Petrovac municipalities. The implementation was carried out by the experts coming from the Museum of Vojvodina, City Museum of Novi Sad, the Museum in Bosanska Krajina and Banja Luka and the Provincial Institute for the protection of cultural monuments.
Beside Brvnara, three other buildings had been bought: a cottage with a window, for young married couples, one for storing and processing milk and dairy products, called “ajat” or “mlečar” and a barn for storing maize.
The new permanent exhibition in Brvnara ethno house was created by the Museum of Vojvodina from Novi Sad, back in 1999. Original museum items, historical documents and photographs are displayed, which are distinctive as far as folk culture and the past of the population coming from Krajina is concerned.
The whole family used to gather in the main dwelling house. Most often, it used to be a building with two parts, one of which contained an open hearth called “kuća” or “kućar”, the other part contained a room. The part with the open hearth was usually larger than the room.
The hearth was in the middle of the house or a little bit closer to the partition wall. Above the hearth, there was no ceiling called “pod”, therefore the smoke was rising up as high as the roof and was coming out through a “komin” or “badža”. The hearth was either rectangular or oval (180 x 100 cm), elected from the floor about 10 cm. It used to be made of rammed earth, just as the floor. Above the hearth, on the joint called “verižnjača”, “verige” there was a chain with pothook for a copper kettle “bakra” to be hung, for cooking food. By the hearth, there was a wood rack “preklad”, and utensils “maša”, “sadžak”, “grnjača”. On the hearth, food was cooked in clay pots or fried in copper casseroles (ispod “sača”). Clay pots had names, such as: “okrugljaš”, “ruja”, “rukatka”, “dagara”.
Dishes were mostly made of wood and would be put along the walls, so the space around the hearth was left free. There were dishes for serving food, water and drinks: “zdjele” – bowls, “tanjiri” – plates, “kašike” – spoons, “slanici” – salt cellars, “vučije”, “breme”, “ploske”, “bukare”. Bread used to be baked in “naćve”, while milk and dairy products were stored in “kačice”, “karlice”, “kablovi”.
A table with a round board “sofra”, “sofrica”, from which people ate food, used to be in the middle of the house or near the hearth. After it had been used for serving or preparing food, it was hung up on the wall.
Extended families, making family cooperatives, were made up of several families, whose members were all relatives. The head of such an extended family was someone who bore moral and intellectual qualities and was respected by everyone. He delegated work to others in accordance with the capabilities, abilities and age of the family members. Those younger and stronger worked in cattle breeding and agriculture, the elderly and children were involved in less hard work around the house, while women and young girls were preparing food and doing cottage production, which meant weaving, embroidering, making clothes and preparing girls’ dowry.
The fabrics used were made of wool, hemp or flax, sometimes silk. The clothes were made either for everyday use or for special occasions.
The plaid patterning technique was used. Depending on the way of laying the woof, weaving was shuttled, by manual inserting into the plain weave and kneeling with board and sticks as auxiliary tools.
Making folk dresses in the cottage production required from a woman good skills and imagination, along with sensibility and respect for traditional colours and ornaments, but also some financial background. Folk dresses not only protect from cold, but also adorn and indicate a woman’s position in society (wether she is a young girl, a married one or an elderly woman).
Folk costumes for both men and women are made either of flax or hemp (shirt, bošča and pants), coarse woollen fabric (attire of various length – vests, ječerma), woollen fibres (aprons, belts and socks) and leather (peasant footwear). Both folk costumes have one element in common, a red cap with shallow brim, adorned with black embroidery for men and with coins for girls, whereas married women had a white embroidered scarf over their cap.
The Dinar-style folk garment was considered incomplete without any jewelry, therefore jewelry was manufactured and chosen with great care. Jewelry was of silver or its alloys, and was decorating one’s head, hair or breasts. Shoulder pieces were men’s jewelry attached to the vest being part of the festive outfit. Women’s jewelry is richer and can be: all kinds of needles for headware, ear-rings, bracelets, rings. Special role and importance bears the necklace with coins (a long piece of canvas reaching below the knee), which was part of a girl’s dowry that she got from her parents.
(Bogdan Šekarić, senior curator, ethnologist)