The Art of Emma Perlaky ©  Emma Perlaky Humble Beginning Historical Carvings Storage Recent Works Anna and Adam Works in Progress Historical Carvings Szekely Kapuk Kopjafak 1 2 3 4 5 6 8 7 9 10 11 12

Presently I am showing pictures mostly from the geographical area informally called the “Szekler” Land, or in Hungarian the “Székelyföld”, where most of the Székely population concentrated. Székelyföld was part of the Hungarian Empire, but now belongs to Romania.  

The origin of the Székely people is uncertain. According to some theory, they are direct descendants of Attila's Huns, while others suggest Avar or Turkic ancestry, and some believe that they are related to Scythians who joined the Magyars on the way westward and assimilated into the pro-Hungarian culture.

I believe in the theory that the Székelys are simply Magyars, like other Hungarians, and I also believe in a two-fold Hungarian migration of Transylvania and the Pannonian Plain. The second and the main Magyar conquest of the Pannonian Plain happened in 896 AD. In the two-fold migration theory, the Székely are a Hungarian group that settled in Transylvania during the first migration. Archaeological findings support their presence in this area from the 5th century. Their language is Hungarian, but originally their writing was runic. Most are Roman Catholic, and they are considered the finest warriors of medieval Transylvania.

I feel a need to have some knowledge about these people in order to understand their unique culture.

The Sun and Moon are the symbols of Székelys, and these symbols also part of the Transylvania coat of arms. The Sun and Moon symbols represented the Hungarian gods, but around 1000 AD., when Hungarians became Catholics, lost religious significance. Székely people succeeded best at preserving their tradition and folk art.    

The “Szekler Gate” is one of these typical art forms. Almost no Szekler homestead was without one. Their appearance is quite uniform, their decorations are rich and sometimes colourful.   

The other very typical art form is the “Kopjafa”. It can somewhat be compared to the Totem Pole of the native Indian people. Mostly it was used in cemeteries as a “headstone”, but often can be seen as the pillar of a gate, and lately just as a nostalgic decoration piece. The carved elements originally had meaning, but today’s creations only use it for decorative purposes.

While looking at these pictures, just for a minute, please think about those people who are practicing this wonderful form of art for  more than a thousand years, and where almost everyone is an exceptional artist.

To view a gallery of larger picture of this subject, please click on the thumbnail at the left or on the title below.