The Croatian diaspora folk costume collection was created in 2004 under a new systematisation of the museum collections, drawn from the existing collections, and now has over seven hundred physical exhibits and has been entirely digitalised. It brings together the apparel of members of the Croatian ethnic communities in various parts of central and eastern European countries: Austria, Czechia, Kosovo, Hungary, Romania and Serbia.
On 5 February Zagreb’s Ethnographic Museum showcased Katarina Bušić’s Collection of Croatian Diaspora Folk Costumes. This is the sixth catalogue in a series in which the museum is presenting the complete analysis of its collections and the first in which the topic is the bulk of the museum holding: folk costumes. With the publication of the catalogue of the collection of Croatian diaspora folk costumes, following a specialist analysis and digitalisation, the Ethnographic Museum has for the first time made available to the broader public, in printed form, a collection of folk costumes, unifying a complete analysis of the attendant material as catalogue entries with basic data, descriptions and photographic illustrations of the museum exhibits. Author and collection curator Katarina Bušić notes that “The collection of Croatian diaspora folk costumes brings together the apparel of members of the Croatian ethnic communities in various parts of central and eastern European countries: Austria, Czechia, Kosovo, Hungary, Romania and Serbia.”
The collection was created in 2004 under a new systematisation of the museum collections, drawn from the existing collections, and now has over seven hundred physical exhibits and has been entirely digitalised.
“The included integral costumes, individual parts of costumes, various ornamental accessories and textile fragments, which were adapted under the cultural influence of neighbouring nations, with more or less recognisable characteristics pointing to an affiliation with the broader ethnic Croatian complex, were created and used for the most part in the period of the second half of the nineteenth and first half of the twentieth centuries, with older and newer layers of apparel and a small number of newly produced artefacts,” Bušić said. She also noted that the catalogue and collection was targeted primarily to emigrant and diaspora Croatians, members of folklore groups in Croatia and abroad, and to all people who wish to see and learn more about these costumes.
The book offers an overview of the history of collecting artefacts for the Croatian diaspora folk costume collection. It also speaks of the emergence, value and presentation of the costumes, presents costumes associated with geographic regions in the diaspora and provides a detailed catalogue. The specialist analysis is supplemented with documentary photography from the ethnographic museum’s archival documentation, and that of similar institutions and private collections, while the catalogue offers photographic illustrations of some seven hundred museum exhibits.
According to Goranka Horjan, the director of the Ethnographic Museum, the catalogue also shows the movements of ethnic Croatian populations in central and eastern European countries, offering insight into cultural traditions of the broader region on the one hand and the preservation of national identity on the other. “Through the collected artefacts we create a picture of the awareness of members of Croatian ethnic minorities and their creation of a shared image of the land of their origin and the lands in which they live,” notes Ms Horjan in the introduction to the catalogue. With this catalogue the Ethnographic Museum is fulfilling its core mandate of preserving, protecting and promoting tangible and intangible cultural heritage and especially of contributing to the preservation of the national and cultural identity of Croatians in nearby European countries. (Hina)