Folk culture

The Museum of the Bohemian Paradise in Turnov has got an unusual and eventful folklore fund. This fund established the collection for the Czech Slavic folklore Exhibition in Prague in 1891.

 The folk architecture around Pojizeří is one of the most valuable expressions of folk architecture in Bohemia. The Turnovian attracted many artists around the end of the 19th century. At the height of Romanticism, great attention was paid to the house in the middle part of JizeraRiver around Turnov and Sobotka. The first person who directed attention to that kind of house was an artist and collector Jan Prousek. His preserved oils and most of all his drawings of grafted houses document the real craft skill of local carpenters and cabinet masters.

No less imposing was the interior of house with furniture which was blazed with colours with a treasure of shapes and decoration there. It is one of the best samples of carpentry in our country.  At the time of a great boom in the first half of the 19th century, the workshops in Turnova, Rovensko below Trosky and Sobotka supplied the whole northern and eastern part of Bohemia. Furniture used to be made of oak and lime wood. The influence of Baroque culture is evident by the carved ledges, columns, painted decorations and by many sorts painted classicist decorations inspired by flowers or laurels. Instead of a deep rotted blue-white marbling, there appeared a flower “textile” pattern combined with a rich on consoles and under ledges.


A folk costume which beside a practical use was also worn at functions contained this same feature. It expresses the professional and social appurtenance of its wearer. Turnovian women’s folk costumes are one the types which extended all over northern Bohemia. We can find extended all over northern Bohemia. We can find extraordinary characteristic decorative embroidery on festive scarves, aprons, linen headuraps and small wreathes in addition to usually embroidered clothes there.  There are also numerous bonnets, from the oldest finely embroidered ones over densely knotted white caps, to stiff bonnets or those made of glass. Men’s folk costumes lost their originality during the second third of the 19th century. Embroidered shirts, jackets, leatherettes and fur coats were guaranteed to have perfectly tailored to have perfectly tailored work just like ladies lined cotton coats, shorts jackets with the gathered sleeves and stays.

Weaving was one of the most important sorts of home production in the turnovian area, just us in other foothill areas. Until recently loom used to be ordinary equipment in any building. Till the middle of the 19th century all production was connected with flax growing and its production, or later with the import of cotton yarn. At the turn of the 20th century the tradition of linen production was replaced by the establishment of textile machinery in small factories. The painting of fabric also went hand with home textile production. The most extended technique was blue printing.


Gingerbread production is also one of the oldest types production in our region. The tradition of production and sale of gingerbread goes back to the Middle Ages. The document of gingerbread sale in the town (from 1335) is the first one in Bohemia. Like the production of blue print, that kind of craft been spontaneously connected with carving. There used to be specialists who concentrated on the negative carving of patterns for gingerbread and marzipan. Evidence of their skill and admirable decorative sense goes back to the 17th century. The wooden patterns were ordinarily made in the middle of the last century. Their authors excelled not only due to their imitating and modification of traditional patterns, but also due to interest in contemporary novelties. In addition to figures of Baroque saints, hearts and babies, we can also find shapes with pipes, pocket watches, dancers, coaches, etc.

Folk pottery in the Turnov area was centralised into four centres. Workshops at Rovensko below Trosky, Sobotka, Hrubý Rohozec and in Turnov supplied functional ceramics for whole region till the middle of the 20th century. The majority of goods were soft mugs, valves, plates and earthenware patterns of bread or jugs. In addition to local goods, imported pottery from places such as Žitava, Bleslav and other important centres also appeared.


The need for metal products with different features led to the development of blacksmiths in Turnov. The Turnovian guild of Smiths was founded in 1519. Preserved exhibits are evidence of the continuity of craft production up to the 20th century.

The general countenance of folk art draws up a domain of spiritual culture. It is represented by the production of folk woodcarvers, stonecutters, artists and writers whose work has been mostly anonymous. Other than items for living, handmade wooden plastics – “daráci” for nativity scenes, marionettes, wooden heads under bonnets and other goods were also made. Some carvers made extra money by processing blocks for country printing offices which published folk literature – prayers, trafficker songs and so on. For instance, the Kastránek printing office in Jičín or the Zwiklov offices in Mladá Boleslav were well known. Also a part of the museum collection of folk art are pieces of carving and graphic art and a great amount of drawings, painted wooden boards, paintings on metal sheet and under painting on glass. Folk artist also concentrated on nativity figures of wood or paper which are part of the original units of Bohemian folk culture. - tipy na výlet

Muzeum Českého ráje v Turnově
Skálova 71, 511 01 Turnov