Kalocsa Embroidery

Many foreigners who visit the Central Market Hall in Budapest and go up to the first floor, looking for Hungary’s world famous Kalocsa patterned clothes and accessories. The typical Kalocsa patterns are recognized all around the world as celebrities like Nicole Kidman, Emma Watson, Jenson Button or Lewis Hamilton have it, but only a few know their origin. Therefore, we would like to introduce you this “Hungaricum” in a few words.

The art of Kalocsa Embroidery was born in the second half of the 19th century. Originally the needlework was only white and the embroidery patterns were merely made up by holes. The development of Kalocsa needlework was due to the appearance of printing at Kalocsa in 1860. The so-called “hole-embroidery” became very popular. The women at Kalocsa and in its area could get ready-made Kalocsa embroidery patterns but they liked creating their own designs as well. Few women could draw embroidery designs but there were many who were skilled in embroidering. The compositions were very simple and clearly arranged. The motifs were borrowed from nature: clusters of grapes, lilacs, lilies of the valley, roses, forget-me-nots and violets delighted the eyes. The art of Kalocsa embroidery became quite fashionable. At the end of the 19th century, the art of Kalocsa embroidery went through creative innovations. The holes of the pattern designs were filled but there were also many artists who liked to combine the two needlework styles. As the artists got more and more creative, the treasury of motifs kept growing. The motifs of tulip, lily, paprika and corn in the ear appeared at that time. The traditional white embroidery – which is so popular now – was succeeded by black, blue-black, blue-red style. Each of the color can appear individually and combined as well. At the beginning of the 20th century the colors of green, pink and yellow gained ground. They used these colors moderately. However, the “holed embroidery” remained white.

Here are some photos of famous people with Kalocsa style clothes.

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