Studio: international art — 51.1911

Page: 30
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The Revival of Lace-Making in Hungary

The revival of lace-

To many it will come as a surprise that there
really is such a thing as Hungarian lace, for it has
been generally ignored by writers on the subject.
How the art of lace-making found its way to the
land of the Magyars is a debatable point, but
certain it is that bobbin lace has been made in
some districts of Hungary for centuries, for how
else could a law have been passed some three
hundred years ago forbidding the making of lace
by Hungarian maidens lest “ easy work should
unfit them for the heavy ” ? What that heavy work
was that was expected of them and rendered with
a fervour which only those deep in the history of
the country can fully realise, we can surmise on
remembering that among the countries of Europe
Hungary for many centuries served as a buffer
against the inroads of the Turks, who overran the
land and devastated it times without number. In
those perilous times the women of all ranks played
their part in defending their castles and home-
steads, in training their sons for battle, besides
fulfilling their household duties, including spin-
ning, weaving, ploughing the fields and performing
other arduous tasks which in peaceful times are
usually discharged by the men. This was the
heavy work which the law-givers of those days feared
might be neglected if the women indulged in such
an easy and pleasant task as lace-making. In such
times as these, when it was necessary to be ever

on guard against the inroads of the terrible Turk,
there was indeed little opportunity for aesthetic
pursuits, and for the same reason the changes of
fashion in ladies’ attire, the powdered hair, the
hoops and furbelows, the lace cravats and the lace
frills ornamenting the sleeves of both men and
women, either remained unknown to the Hun-
garians or were despised or ignored as unfit for
a people engaged in continuous warfare.

All things considered, however, it is remarkable
what headway was made in these bygone days of
storm and stress. Take for instance the art of
embroidery. This was introduced into Hungary
by Gisela, the Queen of Saint Stephen, who lived
in the very beginning of the nth century. She
taught her maidens to make what is known as


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