Ethnographic veranda pole

Ethnographic veranda pole, early 1930s Neo-Romanian style house, Dorobanti area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

There was a certain trend within the Neo-Romanian architecture for using ethnographic motifs, which unfurled at its highest intensity between the late 1920s and the late 1930s, transcending its mature and late phase of development, expressed especially in wood carvings decorating structures such as verandas, stair balusters, balconies, doorways, etc.  The wooden veranda pole in images presented above and bellow is such an example, of exquisite quality, inspired from the peasant art of regions of southern Romania (Wallachia).

Ethnographic veranda pole, early 1930s Neo-Romanian style house, Dorobanti area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

Neo-Romanian style ethnographic roof finials

Neo-Romanian style ethnographic roof finials, late 1920s house house, Mantuleasa area, Bucharest (©Valentin Mandache)

There is high diversity of Neo-Romanian style roof finials ranging from simple round shapes to those encompassing Byzantine and Ottoman motifs or highly abstract appearances, or even, in some cases, suggesting fearsome medieval weaponry (spiky maces). The ones inspired from ethnographic motifs and artefacts are represented in a quite small proportion among that multitude; the photographs above presents two such rarer interesting examples. They resemble the carved wooden poles (the upper half image is an abstraction of a haystack or wheatsheaf formed around a carved wooden pole), an element very peculiar to the Romanian peasant art and other ancestral communities from the Carpathian Mountains region.

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I endeavor through this daily series of daily articles to inspire appreciation of the historic houses of Romania, a virtually undiscovered, but fascinating chapter of European architectural history and heritage.

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If you plan acquiring a historic property in Romania or start a renovation project, I would be delighted to advice you in sourcing the property, specialist research, planning permissions, restoration project management, etc. To discuss your particular plan please see my contact details in the Contact page of this weblog.

Town House with Peasant Style Veranda

The veranda of a late 1890s house from Targoviste, southern Romania, inspired from similar structures adorning local peasant dwellings. (©Valentin Mandache)

I very much like the balanced proportions of the wooden veranda presented above, where the most interesting feature is represented by the three identical ornaments carved with ethnographic motifs that come together at right angles within upper centre level of the structure. Their shape has a vague Art Nouveau slant, which is probably in tone with the increasing popularity of that style in Romania of that period. The house featuring the veranda, shown in the photograph bellow, is mainly a Little Paris style edifice (what I call the French c19th historicist styles provincially interpreted in Romania), with this unusual peasant inspired component grafted on it. The whole assembly dates from a period of “battle of the styles”, if I can put it that way, when the national romantic architecture embodied by the then nascent Neo-Romanian style developed within the Art Nouveau current, started to make important forays all over the country. This particular house is a timid, but delightful provincial experiment with those  new trends and ideas.

1890s town house with peasant style veranda, Targoviste (©Valentin Mandache)

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I endeavor through this series of daily articles to inspire appreciation of the historic houses of Romania, a virtually undiscovered, but fascinating chapter of European architectural history and heritage.

***********************************************

If you plan acquiring a historic property in Romania or start a renovation project, I would be delighted to advice you in sourcing the property, specialist research, planning permissions, restoration project management, etc. To discuss your particular plan please see my contact details in the Contact page of this weblog.