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Paweł Lechowski’s Collection of Romani Artefacts

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Despite the difficult situation caused by the pandemic, the Polish team is continuing the work on the musical culture by the Roma. We are focusing on music- related objects to be found in Paweł Lechowski’s private collection of Romani artefacts.

It is by the way one of the best collections of that type in Poland and has already been the subject of scholarly investigation (e.g. by Magdalena Kwiecińska from the Historical Museum of the City of Kraków who authored an article ‘Paweł Lechowski’s Collection. Roma Heritage in Kraków’, 2016).
The beginnings of the collection date back to the year 1978 when Paweł Lechowski found a small icon on the abandoned premises of the Romani camp in his native Krakow.
11. Anna2Today the collection comprises not only paintings by the Roma, but also other artistic works both produced by amateurs and, especially in the recent years, by professional Romani artists. Another important part of the collection are products of Romani craftsmen (e.g. blacksmiths, coppersmiths, basket makers, etc.) and clothes. Additionally, the collection includes iconographic materials such as original engravings and their reproductions, postcards, photographs as well as stills and posters from films with Romani motifs. In the BESTROM project we are particularly interested in the authentic aural materials with music by the Roma i.e. cassettes, CDs, and DVDs but also vinyl records. In the collection there are also some musical instruments typically used by the Roma (e.g. cymbalom).11. Anna3

Among hundreds of books on the Roma gathered by Paweł Lechowski – mainly scholarly, but also novels we were able to identity some “Gypsy songbooks” from the interwar period. We are going to research them more in more details in the nearest future.

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