Kuršėnai, Land of Potters

KURŠĖNAI, THE CAPITAL OF LITHUANIAN POTTERS KURŠĖNAI, THE CAPITAL OF LITHUANIAN POTTERS KURŠĖNAI, THE CAPITAL OF LITHUANIAN POTTERS

KURŠĖNAI, THE CAPITAL OF LITHUANIAN POTTERS

Since ideal clay for fine ceramics was detected in the vicinity of Kuršėnai, pottery has long been thriving in the city. Since last century, Kuršėnai have been famous for fairs abundant in earthenware at all times. Kuršėnai are called the “Capital of Potters” not only due to the abundance of such handicraftsmen in the city but also because the All-Time Potter’s Crown has been solely won by the folk artists of Kuršėnai such as J. Paulauskas, V. Damkus, B. Radeckas, and J. Vertelis. It clearly is no coincidence that a pitcher is one of the elements of the Coat of Arms of the city of Kuršėnai.

KURŠĖNAI MANOR ESTATE (OF THE GRUZEWSKI). CENTRE OF ETHNIC CULTURE AND TRADITIONAL CRAFTS

Ventos St. 7, Kuršėnai, Šiauliai District

The history of Kuršėnai Manor begins in 1564 when Sigismund Augustus gave the said manor as a fief to George Despot-Zenovich, the Castellan of Polotsk. Soon, a settlement began to grow in the manor lands on the other side of the Venta, and in 1569 the first wooden church was erected. In 1621, the estate went to S. Pac, the Grand Treasurer of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, and a decade later the manor became the property of George Gruzewski and his wife. At the end of the 18th century, Kuršėnai were inherited by Stephen Gruzewski. Having brought in the artist J. Rilke with the apprentice team, he built a new (current) manor house and a chapel and renovated other buildings in 1811. The estate flourished still further under ruling of his younger son Edward who took it over in 1846. The mansion and the park were devastated by the Germans who occupied the manor during the First World War and brought away the most valuable things. The fire of 1915 destroyed the peasant farms, barns, and sheds. The manor belonged to George Gruzewski at that time. Owing to advanced farming, the estate was flourishing during the interwar period. The manor was nationalized in 1940.

Kuršėnai Manor is the sole most valuable heritage of wooden manorial architecture in Šiauliai District. The original staircase, window frames, and wooden front doors have survived.

Currently, the Centre of Ethnic Culture and Traditional Crafts of Šiauliai District Municipality, founded in 2000, operates in the manor. The main task of the Centre is preservation, revival, and succession of local traditions, customs, and traditional crafts. Nowadays, Šiauliai regional permanent folk art expositions and ethnographic displays are organised in the manor house. Over 2,500 exhibits donated by folk artists and Kuršėnai dwellers are presented in the expositions.

An educational ceramics class can be ordered at the Centre of Crafts.

B.RADECKO KERAMIKOS MUZIEJUS

Alėjos St. 9, Kuršėnai

B. Radeckas is the winner of the crown of the King of Potters. He himself has already ceased throwing pottery and now presents his ceramics. He created stoneware together with his wife.

Where possible, a visit to a few more ceramicists in Kuršėnai can be arranged.

 
 
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Photos used in this site were made by Zigmas Ripinskis
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