In the traditional Serbian society, textile handiwork was one of the most important forms of industry in the economically independent and self-sufficient rural household.
The manufacture of furniture and garments served to fulfill basic human needs- protection from cold, heat and filth. In the broader cultural sense, textile objects also had numerous identity meanings: social position, gender, age, status, religion, nationality, etc. Woven handiwork also played an important role in the customs and social communication between people, both among individuals and their communities. For example, they commonly used as gifts as part of the customs connected to the major life situations (for example the gift of towels, blankets, gloves … at baby showers, weddings, funerals …), and this has continued to the present day in somewhat reduced and altered form.
The mainstays of weaving within a household were women.
They made textile objects to meet the needs of individual, family and the wider community, and it was not uncommon to sell surplus goods at the market as well. Women made various objects necessary for furnishing a household: woolen covers of various types of rugs or carpets, towels, curtains, straw beds, cradle covers, wall covers, various objects for beds, as well as clothing items- upper and lower garments of folk costumes… Women spent a significant portion of their lives preparing their wedding outfit and doing the same for their unmarried closely related female cousins.
The manufacture of textile handiwork implied a wide spectrum of know-how amassed through non-institutional channels of traditional transfer from one generation to the next. These “multidisciplinary” pieces of knowledge may be now categorized from the aspects of agronomy, climatology, geology, textile technology, meteorology …
Additionally, when certain textiles items are studied today, the level of aesthetics and artistic expression of these uneducated, anonymous weavers is awe-inspiring.
Through the combination of appropriate weaving techniques and the use of the complementary hues of naturally colored yarn they managed to make objects that have generally simple, yet at times also highly developed matching ornamental compositions of extraordinary artistic visual value, with complex collective and personal meanings that are apparent to us today.