Anuarul Muzeului Etnografic al Moldovei – II / 2002


Without equalizing the ampleness of wood, clay or fibre processing crafts, the traditional stonecutting represented an important activity in Moldavian villages.

Used both in the modest foundations of peasant cottages and in building up of grandious fortifications, stone has been intensely exploited throughout the centuries, from quarries, abrupt banks or out of river beds. In time, the stonecutting centres evolved by means of improvement of techniques and tools. Although in the beginning stone was little cut and shaped, subsequently remarkable artworks were accomplished.

The carved shapes suggest a gradual transition from woodcarving to stonecutting, maintaining the ancestral decorative motifs. In other cases, the influence of foreign craftsmen on the autochthonous stonecutters is obvious.

A special place within our study is held by the activity of stonecutters who made millstones and grinding mills. The stone mills had the supremacy over the grinding techniques during the entire mediaeval and modern age. The stonecutters from Deleni – Hirlau cut these handicraft wares from generation to generation that fulfilled the needs of the provence and even became export goods.

Nowadays, the stonecutters’ activity diminished as a result of the competition with other construction materials, of rarity of stone mills and of difficulties in extracting stone from quarries.