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"Manneken Pis"

Costume for Manneken Pis: How the Museum participated in an original tradition.

        In the summer 2007 the European Association of Ukrainians had proposed to organize festivities in Brussels, the capital of the European Union, on the occasion of the Independence Day of Ukraine, 24 August. The hot spot of the event would become dressing a famous Brussels landmark, the Manneken Pis, in the Ukrainian national costume of the Cossack age (V V centuries). The tradition of dressing up the Manneken Pis in different costumes on various occasions, such as public holidays, has a three-centuries history, but it was for the first time he happened to try on the Cossacks outfit.

Manneken Pis is a 61 cm bronze fountain sculpture depicting a naked little boy urinating into the fountain's basin. It is mounted in a stone nishe on the corner of Stoofstraat/Rue de lEtuve and the Eikstraat/Rue du Shene close to the historical center of Brussels.
        The sculpture was created by Franco-Flemish Baroque sculptor Jerome Duquesnoy in 1619. The first person to donate him clothing was the Prince-Elector of Bavaria Maximilian II Emmanuel who clothed the statue in a suit in 1698 and ever since then the statue has been dressed up. Some 800 outfits from Santa Clause to various national costumes - are now housed in the Musee de la Ville in the Maison du Roi on the Grand Place/Grote Markt. The costumes are changed according to a schedule managed by the non-profit association The Friends of Manneken-Pis.

        The Ukrainian Folk Decorative Art Museum backed up this initiative and provided comprehensive information about Cossacks garments of that epoch.

Valentina Tyszhenko, a graduate art designer, the head of the embroidery sector of the Museum, have created the reconstruction of the costume that consisted of the embroidered linen shirt, the silk baggy trousers, the belt, the sheepskin cap, the leather morocco boots, and the traditional leather purse kalitka. The traditional sewing and embroidery techniques were used. The cutting out was specially adapted for the shape of the sculpture.

After the dressing ceremony the costume had been handed over to the municipal officials of Brussels. Now Manneken Pis will wear the Cossak's costume every year on August, 24 - the Independence Day of Ukraine.

The Chairman of the Executive Committee of European Association of Ukrainians mr. Alexey Tolkachev, the echevin of Brussels mr. Mohamed Ouriaghli, the President of the Order of Friends of Manneken Pis mr. Edmond Vandenhaute, and the counsellor of the Ukrainian Embassy in Brussels mr. Vsevolod Sobko participated in the ceremony.

At the official reception at the city hall the Ukrainian delegation had been presented with the honorable diploma from the Order of Friends of Manneken Pis "in recognition of services delivered to traditions and folklore of Bruxelles", with the record: "Costume 791". The European Association of Ukrainians had tendered thanks to Valentina Tyschenko "for considerable contribution to carrying out the cultural event".

"In petra exaltavit me..." - A little bit of history (in Ukrainian). >>


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