Krolevets woven towels created in the technology of handpicked weaving are artistic products of traditional folk Ukrainian craft of North – Eastern Polissia. Rich geometric ornament of Krolevets towels consists of symbols that are fully consistent with Ukrainian worldview. Classic elements were and still are rhombus, triangles, "sucharyky" (rectangles), eight-pointed rosettes, four- and eight-petal flowers, and symbolic images of birds. The central part of the towel is filled with a typical anthropomorphic symbol, which resembles a woman with her hands raised or the shape of a candlestick, which in time was replaced by a "flower pot". Stylized patterns, alternated with horizontal stripes of different widths, create unique compositional rhythm inherent in Krolevets festive towels.

Technology of manual handpicked weaving involves using a drawloom: such towels are weaved with red and white cotton threads in complex technique of manual handpicking. Krolevets towel is a ceremonial festive attribute, which plays a special role in a wedding ceremony. These towels are given to headmen; they are tied on wedding maids of honour. There is a special kind of woven towel made to put under a wedding loaf, so called "under the loaf" towel.  A wedding towel, on which a bride and a groom stand during the ceremony, is hung on a prominent place after. Special towels are weaved for icons – “bozhnyky”.

Weaving in Krolevets has developed since the foundation of the town (1601). According to the studies, the first weaving workshop was opened not later than in 1765, it included 34 yards, which had almost 100 souls. The greatest development of weaving was during the period of flourishing of Holy Cross fair in Krolevets and Illinsky fair in Romny (XIXth – the beginning of XXth centuries). First records of the Krolevets weavers’ surnames date back to the 80's of the XVIIIth century - Avdiikha Obolonska with her sons. In the XIXth century representatives of Ryndiny (or Ryndi) weavers' family began their activities. Ivan Rynda (?-1915) contributed to the construction of the building for weaving workshops for a zemstvo primary school (later - a factory of artistic weaving in Krolevets).

The main historic area of the element – Krolevets and villages of Krolevets district in Sumy oblast, as well as Nizhyn, Kozelets and village Rychly in Chernihiv oblast. Sales of red Krolevets towels were well established at the annual fairs, as they are an obligatory element of wedding ceremonies in Sumy, Poltava and Chernihiv oblasts. Today, the production of woven Krolevets towels is concentrated only in Krolevets.

Nowadays the bearers of the element are 13 craftswomen, 11 of them are members of Sumy Regional centre of the National Union of Folk Art Masters of Ukraine. Craftswomen, who work at Krolevets State Professional College and in the municipal enterprise "Krolevets Towels", transfer their skills to younger generation. Masters of handpicked weaving make woven products at home too. Traditions of Krolevets handpicked weaving are transferred from a master to a student, from generation to generation (the families of Soloviov, Hetsevych, Petrov).

For the purpose of protecting and exploring the element “Krolevets handpicked weaving” a district community establishment “the Museum of Krolevets weaving” is opened. Since 1994 for promotion of the element an international literary and artistic festival “Krolevets towels” has been held. During the festival different exhibitions of old and modern towels, made on the Krolevets factory of artistic weaving, in Krolevets College and in the municipal enterprise "Krolevets Towels", are organized. Weaving craftsmen do training for a wide range of fans - participants of the festival.


In order to strengthen the role of the element in the life of society, scientific and practical conference “Krolevets district from ancient time to the present” (Krolevets Weaving Museum, 2013); regional seminar – workshop for directors of museums in Sumy oblast (Krolevets Weaving Museum, Krolevets Regional History Museum, 2013); a round-table meeting “Krolevets woven towel in the folk costume of Eastern Polissya” (Krolevets Weaving Museum, 2015); a round-table meeting “Preservation and Promotion of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Sumy region” (Sumy Regional Scientific and Methodological Centre of Culture and Art, 2015); a session "Restoration and popularization of the unique artistic image of Krolevets, the centre of handpicked weaving" (Krolevets weaving museum, 2016).

Under the programme “Preservation and Promotion of the Intangible Cultural Heritage “Krolevets woven towels” during 2016-2017”, approved by the decision of Krolevets district council, popularization and preservation of Krolevets handpicked weaving, as an element of cultural identification of Krolevets local community, is taken place.


Krolevets - center of Krolevets district in Sumy oblast

Area – 31.53 sq km

Population – 23227

Population density – 756/sq km

Driving distance from Kiev to Krolevets – 264km

Distance from Kiev to Krolevets by train – 262km

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