Saturday, February 6, 2010

Nádudvar Update #1

According to Huba, the Head of the Hungarian Fulbright Commission, the Nádudvar story isn't so cut and dry. Apparently, they haven't actually been making the black pottery for hundreds of years – instead, it is a more recent development, and thanks to Huba's very own aunt! The nádudvari potters supposedly once made painted Hungarian pottery just like everyone else, until the 1960s, when they went to Huba's aunt to ask what they could do to improve their business. She told them to alter their product from the Magyar mold. Instead of colorful paint, why not use the old-fashioned technique from Karcag, another small town about 15 kilometers away, to make black pottery. The tourists, who were just beginning to pour into the geothermic spas of nearby Hájduszóbószló from Budapest, would be more interested in a unique product. Ference Fazekas' grandparents obviously thought this was a good idea, and the rest is history. Nonetheless, the 1960s capitalistic specialization that brought Nádudvar its famous black pottery could not be a bigger contrast to the other development in the village during the 1960s. Nádudvar, with its prime location in the middle of the puszta (Hungary's extraordinarily fertile steppe), was developed into a highly successful farming cooperative. So successful, in fact, that communist party bosses tapped the leader of the farm cooperative to become a 'representative' in 'parliament.' Since 'the people' always love a man of the earth who knows how to work with his hands, he quickly became the type of folk hero depicted in Soviet realist murals: shirtless strapping man carrying a bushel of wheat on his back while three kerchiefed barefoot women nearby toil with their hoes.

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