Flax circle

The exhibition  «Flax circle” is dedicated to traditional  activities of the Slavs related to flax processing and its place in constant dialogue between the human world  and  the world of material objects created and used by man. The relationship between these worlds is a mysterious mechanism through which natural plant (flax) after the series of transformations becomes fabric, and the fabric covering human body turns into clothing confirming the right of its creator to participate in culture. .

Materials on display demonstrate not only the rich and diverse world of linen items but also the mythological notions, which in major degree determine the character of relationship between man and flax both on the stage of raw material and on the level of ready article.

The exhibition structure is supposed to be oriented to the dominating idea of circle chosen by the authors of the exhibition concept. All the materials are put in two independent but not exclusive thematic circles, the exterior and interior one. The exterior thematic circle is dedicated to various stages of flax cultivation and processing.  In technological respect this process is multifaceted: during a year flax manifested itself as a seed, plant, tow, thread, and linen.  The exhibition represents those stages of flax processing, which demonstrate in the most explicit way the change of its state and the acquiring its new status in culture, and which are accompanied by indispensable ritual activities in Slavic tradition.  The question is of the flax as material and stages of its cutting, braking and combing.  In the context of flax treatment processes the identification of the Cosmic and Human (Cultural), particularly of flax and human hair is regarded as special sub-theme of exhibition.

The interior circle represents one of the main functions of fabric in traditional culture – to cover any kind of objects. The materials in this section are various covers, shown in context of traditional rites and norms. Ability of the fabric to cover content transforming it into the sign necessary and adequate to culture is also visually demonstrated in clothing.  The quality of textile and historically established particularities of the cut as if create over again a human figure changing its proportions and highlighting the key points.

All the sections of the exhibition can be supplemented by folkloric texts such as songs, riddles, proverbs and sayings and ethnographic descriptions of corresponding rites. Such approach gives a chance to see the exhibition themes through the eyes of the bearer of traditional culture.