{119.} II. Material Anthropology


The material culture of the Hungarian people is intimately connected with their social civilization and, through the transmission of tradition, this is valid too of their intellectual culture, or folklore. A basic knowledge of social culture is needed to understand material and intellectual culture better, hence its introduction at the beginning of our discussion. We shall refer to it throughout the following chapters and shall try to make it easier for the reader to see everything as a whole, as already mentioned in the Introduction.

In the chapters on material anthropology we shall also deal with the most important customs and beliefs in order to demonstrate the close relationship of these to the former. The alterations in material culture are followed by changes in folklore, but such changes take root slower. In fact, it often happens that the insistence on custom or belief hinders the proliferation of new tools (e.g.: the steel plough) and new working methods. At other times the social and economic organizations impeded the rapid spread of tools that facilitate work (e.g.: the scythe), because they would have reduced the number of agricultural workers needed.

We shall also deal here with the various branches of folk art, though lately they are often discussed together with folklore. We follow the older ethnological procedure only because in this section of our book we deal almost exclusively with historical material, and in the past, ornamentation did not play such a definite role, it was eclipsed by practical considerations. We therefore think it excusable to deal with it as part of the material culture of the past, though we realize that we are dealing with a borderline case which connects other categories formed in the interest of scholarly organization.