The blacksmiths from Mrkonjić Grad

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Тraditional song ‘Ojkača'
10/03/2021

The blacksmiths from Mrkonjić Grad

Еlement inscribed on the List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of the Republic of Srpska 

Bosnia and Herzegovina

 

 

Blacksmith trade in Mrkonjić Grad dates back to the end of the 16th century. According to the archival data, there were 28 blacksmith workshops in Mrkonjić Grad in 1935, whereas there were 30 blacksmith workshops in the period between 1952 and 1992. The most important product of the blacksmith trade was the tool for manual cutting of grass – a type of scythe called ‘varcarka’. The term ‘varcarka’ originates from the former name of Mrkonjić Grad – which used to be Varcar Vakuf. Nowadays, there are only four blacksmiths working in this town. Until 1992, blacksmiths in Mrkonjić Grad used to make about 5000 scythes ‘varcarka’ a year, while only a few hundred pieces are made at present. The process of making the scythe ‘varcarka’ is a complete handicraft and the techniques of making have been passed down from fathers to their sons for generations. Out of the four craftsmen mentioned above, three of them are engaged in making the scythe ‘varcarka’. In addition to scythes, these blacksmiths also make axes, hoes, horseshoes, etc. The tradition of blacksmith trade in Mrkonjić Grad is passed down from fathers to their sons.