Military motives in folk art

Military motives in folk art

Pavel Habáň

Military motives have assumed stable position in folk art. For several centuries, hussar was a symbol of elite type of a soldier wearing distinctive dress and equipment. Hussar represented a unique social status and role model for men. Fascination by the hussar phenomenon may be the explanation why this hussar-like motif remained alive in folk art for such a long time. For example, ginger-bread forms often have them as motif.

The Museum of folk art production in Stupava displays six ginger-bread military forms of various origin of production, possibly of Hungarian 19th century origin. They are quite similar which may be explained by standardisation of this motif during the respective period.

Ginger-bread forms with a hussar riding a horse have similar centralised composition. Horse with raised front leg is depicted from side. Flower ornaments are under the legs of horse. Horseman is depicted from side, his trunk and head from the front. Hussar´s equipment – clothes, sabre and pistols were depicted in detail. Ginger-bread forms depicted riding boots and sabre – specific attributes of a hussar.