Herdsmen and Horsemen
of the Hungarian Puszta
Western Folklife Center Wiegand Gallery
January 18 - September 15, 2011
Herdsmen and Horsemen of the Hungarian Puszta highlighted the ancient roots and contemporary life of Hungary's herding occupation. Hungary's Hortobágy puszta, a vast area of plains and wetlands in eastern Hungary, has long been shaped by a vital pastoral society, at times supplying greater Europe with agricultural products. In 1999, this region was recognized for its natural and cultural significance by being added to UNESCO's World Heritage site list.
The puszta is home to farmsteads and herders, including the legendary Hungarian horseman, or csikos, who has tended and defended his herds of horses and grey longhorn Hungarian cattle since the Magyars first crossed into the area of the Carpathian Basin over a thousand years ago. This exhibition featured the herders, their work tools, their livestock - among the heritage stock raised on the puszta are cattle, goats, and pigs - and the built and natural environment through imagery, artifacts and videos.
This exhibition was produced with the assistance of David Stanley, Gail Steiger, Agnes Kemecsei, Hortobágy NonProfit Ltd., Hortobágy National Park, American Hungarian Museum, and the Hungarian National Museum of Ethnography.
Presented through the generous support of Larry and Maggie Biehl, and the John and Kelly Hartman Foundation.