Cultural Corridors of South East Europe

Heritage by Country / Bosnia and Herzegovina

Zmijanjski folk embroidery

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Zmijanjski folk embroidery

About the site

Corridor: Diagonal Road
Country: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Zmijanje
Type: Intangible Heritage
Theme: Intangible Heritage
World Heritage:
Intangible HeritageIntangible Heritage

Zmijanje is an area of northwest Bosnia. The main characteristic of the traditional folk dress or costume and folk textile furniture in Bosnia and Herzegovina is the frequent use of colourful embroidery. Various embroidery techniques such as backstitch and cross-stitch and half-cross are used in order to produce different motifs. However, what sets traditional zmijanski embroidery apart from others in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the wider region is the use of thread in one colour – black or dark blue. The only other instances of decorating garments with a single colour in the region are the traditional dress of Slavonija, Macva and as practiced by the Vlachs of eastern Serbia, Skopska Crna Gora and the north of Macedonia. The origin of decorating textile with a single colour is not known. On the subject of folk dress in Zmijanje, same authors ascribe the dark embroidery to everlasting sorrow remaining among the people following the Battle of Kosovo, and others to the innate style of the Zmijanje population. Either way, the zmijanje folk dress is one of the most elegant, not only in Krajina, but also in the wider region. Zmijanjski embroidery is characterised by geometrical and geometrical-floral ornaments. The dominant ornamental composition are variations of the cross or quadrangle or polygon. The embroidery was arranged on the fronts of shirts, the top and bottom of sleeves and around the collar.

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