I found this adorable chromo on a flea market of Paris. Flat landscape, white kerchiefs, blond kids. This is Poland (according to my cliché). But the little boy is wearing wooden clogs. Question: did people wear clogs in Poland?
I am a museum rat and I have never seen a Polish painting picturing people wearing clogs. The wooden clog continental civilization that geographically begins in Brittany extends eastward to northern Germany. But what about Poland?
Wooden clog in Polish is “chodak” (plural: chodaki) or “drewniak” (plural: drewniaki). These two words resonate with much affection to my ears. Chodak sounds like “chodzić » (to walk) and drewniak sounds like “drewno” (wood).
In the three books Polskie Stroje Ludowie which are my bible for mapping Polish folk costumes, I only found these two pictures of “drewniaki”. This is not exactly the clogs we are used to.
Other references (1) explain that wooden clogs were present in some regions and named with different words: “kurpie” (Mazowie forests), “postołami” (Podlaskie), “kierpcami” (Tatra). Clogs are reportedly still worn in Kashubia, a region of North-West Poland bordering Germany.
Interestingly, poor members of the szlachta in Podlaskie were also wearing wooden clogs to spare their only pair of shoes. Their clogs were made with barks of linden. Therefore, they were derided as “szlachta chodaczkowa” which means “nobility in clogs”.
Podlaskie? Isn’t that the region from where the Książyk are coming?
Marie-Jeanne C.K., Paris
(1) S. Orgelbranda Encyklopedja Powszechna. Warszawa: Wydawnictwo Towarzystwa Akcyjnego Odlewni Czcionek i Drukarni S. Orgelbranda Synów, XIX i pocz. XX wieku (może wymagać uaktualnienia).