Beautiful house

Ethnographic Museum in Belgrade
Exhibition author:
 Dr. Miloš Matić, museum adviser
Exhibition design: Dr. Daragana Kuprešanin
Maintenance time:
 September 20 – December 15, 2022

The process of ascending above the mere survival and related activities is expressed in human culture by creating some symbolic forms of behaviour and aesthetic forms and expressions. It seems that humans provide the meaning for their existence through culture, with the help of aesthetic forms and aesthetic expression. A house has long since stopped being just a shelter from the weather, animals and other people, and also became a symbolic centre of human life. Anthropological research on vernacular architecture has shown that, although the construction itself is in harmony with nature, humans build homes and other buildings in accordance with their own diverse culturally-shaped needs, where bare survival and protection is only one of them. With such an approach to construction, a human being uses the aesthetic elements, placed at different positions within the construction code and expressing diverse forms of aesthetic understanding of the world, in order to provide existential, cultural or social meaning to these buildings. For human beings, the home is the centre of the universe and this is expressed at the symbolic cultural level through diverse beliefs, rituals and aesthetic elements.

The exhibition Beautiful House is a museum interpretation of ornamentation of houses within the folk architecture of Serbia, and therefore deals with the very act of providing the decorative elements to the house building, the act of aesthetics by which multi-layered meanings are given to both the house and its inhabitants. This exhibition sets the houses in rural folk architecture as a model of folk aesthetics and as a model of the cultural meaning of the house. The country house is not intended to be seen just as something beautiful or idyllic, but also as a part of a deeper layer of cultural heritage that reflects how people understand the world around them.