Karderárs of the Eastern Carpathians
Photographs by Ferenc Tobak
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Near the village of
The picture was made in
the late afternoon; the women had come home after collecting food in
Rekecsin, a nearby village. In the camp it is the woman’s job to care
for the children; you can see how proud they are of them.
The child on the right was a little scared of the camera –
notice the finger of the other girl!
girls were hitch-hiking on the dirt road and I stopped to give them a ride
to the next village. During
the trip I found out they are from the Gypsy tribe by the river where I
had visited the day before. They
are not wearing regular Gypsy clothing, maybe they wanted to blend in
better. They are between 14
and 16 years old and all married. Gypsies
who live the traditional life style marry their children young – girls
when they are as young as 12, boys when they are around 14.
They live with their families; they don’t have separate
households. As we were
driving, we passed through a forest of beech trees with beautiful autumn
colors and mellow light. I
asked the girls if it was ok for me to photograph them there.
They agreed; you can see the result.
I was driving on a dusty,
bumpy road, traveling to a remote village for my bagpipe research.
I saw this young Gypsy girl in her colorful clothing just smiling
at me with her hammer, which I think was from her father.
She was so natural and picturesque, I was compelled to stop the
car to take a few shots. I
did not even talk with her and what you see here I took while I was
still sitting in the car. It was a magical moment for me. After I had
taken three shots I got out of the car and she lead me to the two tents
by a stream where her family was living at the time.
Daughters of the
The two sisters, the
younger girl still holding her father’s hammer with which she lured me
to the camp. Their hair is
braided, the style traditional for Gypsy women; the younger one has red
ribbon braided in to protect her from curses.
This old Karderár Gypsy
is proudly showing his work. In
the distance you can see his tent and dog.
The pots are made out of scrap metal collected in the villages
– no two pots have the same shape or color!
They use every piece of metal they can find to make their pots;
nothing goes to waste.
Six Girls From the
I had been heading to
Ploszkucén to visit two old bagpipers when I located a Gypsy camp on a
hilltop. I went to the camp
to meet the people there and arrange for a later video taping.
It was around noon when the girls came up from the river
where they had been playing all morning. As
they approached me they saw the camera pointing toward them.
Spontaneously they stopped walking and lined up.
You can see so many emotions on their faces!
Family by the Szeret
This family is part of a
larger Gypsy camp of 10 tents; you can see all the generations together.
The kids don’t attend
school regularly, and there is no ‘retirement pension’ for them when
they get old. They take care
of each other. If the men
don’t have enough smith work, they collect scrap metal in the villages
which they later sell in the city recycling facility, earning them a
little extra money. The
women collect walnuts from roadside trees to have for the winter.
A Gypsy woman sitting
inside her tent. She is in
full color – the lemon color in her skirt is a newer fashion than the
more traditional red-based patterns.