Anuarul Muzeului Etnografic al Moldovei – V / 2005


The paper approaches the tradition of setting boundaries and boundary signs in the area east of Prut River, on the basis of various categories of items (princely books, topographic plans, images of the boundary poles, field records and folkloric works). Within the life of the traditional village, the boundary, limiting the space in the custody of the community, becomes an identity mark of the site and its lands. The village community is responsible also for the life going on within its limits. By setting the boundaries, the community would involve in relations with nature, divinity, neighbouring human communities, and this would suppose that the limited territory would integrate the cosmos, the sacred and the legal aspects of life.

The above analysis allows to point out three phases in setting the boundaries according to the traditional practice. The first phase would be dominated by the relations to the nature, community and divinity. There were no special boundary signs, the separating line established according to the natural signs was taken for granted. The boundaries were under the auspices of the myth, the local tradition and the prince. In the second phase, which took place once the importance of sacredness diminished in the social conscience, apart from the natural signs previously used, the cultural signs elaborated on purpose also started being used: the mounting of boundary poles with marks of property or of defense and the impression on the trees of the aurochs – the coat of arms of Moldavia. Social practices of maintaining the role of the frontiers become the most important, together with the increasing role of princely documents in their confirmation and regulation. During the third phase, written documents have been more and more often as a proof of ownership, and as a result their sacredness is little by little lost, in the case of the juridical regulation of the correctitude of the frontiers, of the division through frontiers of the manses within the bigger land of the village, and of the multiplication of the boundary marks.