Museum of Ethnography
H-1146, Budapest, Dózsa György út 35.
Phone: +36 1 474 2100
The Museum of Ethnography's collection of 20,467 drawings (inventory code "R") is of highly varied composition in terms of subject material, artist, and technique alike. Items in the collection were produced using methods ranging from pencil rubbing to oil painting, and in sizes from that of a postage stamp to several metres in length and width.
Over 60% of the collection is composed of the drawings, graphics, and paintings of ethnographers, scholars, and artists seeking to document objects associated with peasant culture (forms, motifs, and styles), folk customs and scenes from peasant life (festivals and major events), and the peasant environment in general (settlements, architecture, etc.). The collection is of inestimable value not for its artistic aspects, but for its realistic portrayal of objects from a lost world, preserved using a variety of artistic techniques.
The creators of the drawings, graphics, and paintings found in the collection include professionals from the worlds of both art and science. Painters represented include Árpád Feszty, Ákos Garay, István Benyovszky, Aladár edvi-Illés, Jenő Horváth, Árpád Juhász, Jenő Koszkol, Vince Melka, Mária Undi, György Vastagh, István Zichy and others. Some of the more prominent names among scientists whose works appear in the collection are those of Ottó Herman, János Xántus, Jenő Huszka, Gyula László, János Jankó, István Györffy, Ferenc Gönczi, and Sándor Gönyey.
Another major group of works in the collection is composed of various artefacts made of paper, such as graphics, paper art, sewing and embroidery patterns, commemorative cards, paper cuttings, etc. The artists who created these works were masters of various trades, such as carpenters, woodcutters, potters, dyers, bakers, coat-makers, weavers, embroiderers, house painters, etc., or students, village children, or even amateurs painters. These people were of varying educational backgrounds, their works falling into several possible subcategories: shop drawings used by tradespeople (various patterns, muster books, etc.), embroidery patterns, pictures that decorated homes, children's drawings, and amateur paintings and drawings. To facilitate research, the collection offers topical and geographical indexes and listing of artists, all updated daily. The geographical index is arranged according to general practice, with items listed alphabetically by county and settlement as per the 1913 Hungarian Index of Place Names, while the index of artists lists names in the order of inventory number. Whenever a single artist has contributed more than one drawing or painting, the inventory numbers involved are listed on a single card in ascending order.At the time the collection was founded, work on an alphabetic title card system was begun, only to be abandoned in the 1960's in exchange for the internally consistent indexing system still used for all of the museum's collections today. The title index is still available for visitors who wish access to the drawings collection, but has only been completed through inventory number 7000. The indexes of topic, geographical location, artist, and title together form a complete reference system and may all be used within the catalogue of the Museum of Ethnography Archives.
More than 70% of the collection's 9062 prints (inventory code Ny) consists of postcards and stationery depicting folk themes, particularly costumes, traditional lifestyles, and folk customs, not only from Hungary, but from various locations all over the world. Most of these pertain to the turn of the century, since private collectors have tended to concentrate on this period in history. Because the professional (topical) index has only been completed through the 2600th of 9062 items, researchers searching for images on a particular theme must look through most of the prints one by one.
The curator of the collection is Zsuzsanna Tasnádi.
The Museum of Ethnography's Map Collection, with some 10,000 various printed and hand-drawn items, is one of the Archives' smallest. The collection consists primarily of printed administrative maps dating from the turn of the century up until the present day, though numerous hand-drawn maps on various subjects are also present.