Firstly, since experienced The Iron Gate Museums` Textiles, I remember the museological fascinations, from the mid-1970s to the present day, like pictures from yesterday. Such is the Roman fort Drobeta in Turn Severin and The Iron Gate Museum, founded in 1912. Recently, last summer (2022) I encountered the splendor of this millennial heritage. I placed the huge Turn Severin in the experience of The Heritage Site.

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After the frontal part of the double building, the ethnography and folk art display brings a precious heritage of high documentary value. Presents all aspects of the rural civilization in the region of Mehedinci from collections of customs, economic utensils, instruments, accessories, and folk art objects. Many of the exhibits of Iron Gate Museums` Textiles are on the National Cultural Heritage list.

Scenes 1970s from the Permanent exhibition: woodcarving, tools, folk costumes, pottery

From the beach on the Danube (Kladovo) I looked at the Turn Severins` ugly industrial zone. But having long known about a special attraction for me. And came with my husband to the Museum. After a warm welcome, we went straight to the restored settings of the famous place.

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Variety of folk costumes at the Permanent exhibition hall

Iron Gate Museums` Textiles – a couple of special examples

Analogies usually characterize the clothing of the border areas. In this case, some features of each part of the set. The clothing type is among Romanians in Vojvodina, the Vlachs of Eastern Serbia; but also other ethnicities.

At the detail is the typical warp-faced woven belt, a part of most Balkan costumes. The wrinkled skirt was worn by Serbian women, especially in costumes in the Šumadija region. While the ceremonial veil is typical in very few local Pannonian communities.

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Left: Costume of a Romanian woman, Mehedinci area: embroidered blouse, belt, wrinkled skirt, and ceremonial veil;

Right: detail of a previous photo.


Then, here I am looking at a systematic selection of Iron Gate Museums` Textiles, at the display cases. Those are former luxuries of dressing in blouses and silk veils. The shine penetrates through the glass, which is the goal of museology, along with microclimatic balance… The culture of domestic silk production arrived “via the Silk Road”. Archaeological evidence confirms silk here (10th to 13th century). That is surprising. Then, in the thematic explanation, I noticed the name for the veil, the same in Romanian and English “borangic”.

Analogies mark the development and spreading of a cultural phenomena

Dimitrie Kantemir, as early as 1792 in the “Description of Moldavia”, writes about expensive silk scarves, as a prestigious gift at weddings. The ceremonial headdress and name is a tradition that has survived throughout the Turkish era, in rural culture until today, under Iron Gate Museums` Textiles care.

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This scarf is of thin silk fabric, by the local name Borangic. And a blouse with embroidery from the same, both from the Mehedinci area.

Obviously, the veil is in a weaving technique with decorative warps of “golden” threads, plus silk stripes in the weft; And on the blouse, refined embroidery with “golden” threads and sequins with glass beads.

What a luxury of the village women of the old days!

Then, I connect such appearance with traditions of Serbia and Vojvodina, headdresses for newly married women among Serbs, called “burundžuk” or “ubrađaj”. I described that in an earlier post on this blog.

Carpet Weaves at geometrized patterns and free figural ornamentation

In the hall with carpets, we get to know the imagination of Romanian weavers. Also, we can distinguish two branches of the development of the technique or ornamentation of folk carpet making: 1. Carpet Weaves at geometrized patterns; 2. Free figural ornamentation.

Basically, the first type (left), the endless pattern, validates as primary aesthetics in carpet making. This example with rhombuses spreads everywhere at carpet making. A composition spreads across the whole Byzantine world, among the Copts, in Europe, and in Southwest Asia. It is also popular among Serbs, meaning “quadrilateral”.


In the second example (right), motifs of universal symbolism or intimate meanings, weaver freely composed. This is a “naive” symmetrical composition in relation to the horizontal stripe of triple groups of mallow flowers; then processions of poultry and the tree of life in the horizontal.

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The carpet weaving technique with slits at the points of color change is equally applied to the geometric ornamentation. Minimal slits line up diagonally, and the ornamentation characterizes low-slanting lines.


But comparatively, the execution of free figural ornamentation is completely subordinated to the lines of the polychrome content of the composition. The weft of one color returns in the pattern, around the back base of the thread, and the next color continues around the adjacent one and creates a vertical slit. Lines are straight, diagonal, slant, or shaped according to the figure.

Iron Gate Museums` Textiles – A loom, the most complicated traditional device for hand weaving

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Moreover, people, don’t you find strange on the display of Iron Gate Museums` Textiles, such an archaic wooden device? Because weavers wove all presented textiles as technically and aesthetically superior works.

The weaver at the loom, with her bent back as a Sisyphean patient, with her hands, counted and picked inserting multicolored threads into magnificent Textiles. Earlier, women alone wove everything needed for the household.

We spent several hours of rain at the Museum. After leaving, it became clear, so we walked through the Roman Castrum wet after the rain, enjoying a view across the Danube with a view over the Danube towards the Southern Carpathians of Serbia.


The Iron Gate Museum in Turn Severin is a special cultural-historical complex, that will interest everyone from 7 to 77+. That’s why I wholeheartedly recommend it as truly worthy of your attention. As well as a similar case I hope to be with my next note from Thessaloniki’s Folk Art Museum, soon!

Sincerely, Branka on Textiles

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