The Horse Cart Of Brăila

A Symbolic Tale From The World Of The Villages Of Ialomița.

The history of traditional transport brings with it an emotional charge that is hard to imagine in a century centred on individualism and speed. From the research projects of the [Romanian] National Museum of Agriculture, materialized through the acquisitions of objects, we would like to present the horse cart of Brăila. This cart impresses the visitor not only with the colour palette that wraps the outside of the cart basket and its accessories. The cart has an interesting journey from when it was commissioned and made in 1931 until it entered the heritage collection of the National Museum of Agriculture.

The history of this piece begins with Mr. Coman Ene’s wish to have a cart that would satisfy his peasant pride as a land labourer, who knows how to appreciate and enjoy a thing well done. In order to achieve this, he approached the master Nicu Munteanu from Brăila, a man with technical and artistic sense. According to the story of the former owner, who was a child back then, he remembered when his cart was brought home by his father, surprised by his beauty “… when he brought it, it was dyed, it looked like a decorated Easter egg.. . ” His love for this cart led him to keep it up and, in 1954, the colours of the cart were refreshed by master I. Cretu of the Gheorghe Lazar commune, a name the owner wanted to inscribe on the back of the cart. The Brăila cart was very rarely used for farm business, only when the cart he generally used was overloaded. According to the owner, the cart would hold about 50 pots of corn.

Details on restoration of painting: Master I. Crețu 1954, beside the Owner’s name, Constantin Ene.

Why is this cart so special? Of course, there are several reasons that should be examined systematically. There is not just a single point of reference to show its value and the beauty of the cart is interwoven with the majestic soul of the owner. The technical aspect also has its role in the fame of this cart. Here is how Ene Constantin, the former owner, describes it: “It was built of amazing shafts, spare parts, pipes, some fine and thin steel sheets; these were punched and pounded and then thinned, as thin as possible, and then were pressed… The noise it made was deafening, it sounded like a bell.” Also, according to the former owner, there was a version of a Dobrogean cart, but it did not have as fine a sound as the Brăila version. The harnesses with bells and the sound of the metal sheets attached to the shafts of the cart made you notice the cart as soon as it entered the village. It was a joy, watching it and listening to it.

Another aspect that led to the joy of using this cart was determined by the transport. The former owner remembers that he transported more than 40-50 brides at weddings, in the past, when a convoy of carts was formed for the wedding procession. Ene Constantin did not get rich from this activity. The transport was free and, as he said: “… that’s what I did for the sake of the father-in-law …” It is in fact yet another emphasis on the village’s affiliation, honouring the events that took place inside it, offering the most valuable goods.

Details regarding the year of construction, 1931.

Thus, this cart remained in the memory of many generations, as well as its owner, Ene Constantin, a memory that goes on, by entering the collection of “Traditional Transport Means”, at the National Museum of Agriculture in Slobozia (inventory number 3427). At the same time, the cart helps us open another page of Ialomiţa history, whence the villages in this area can be known by the moral and ethical values ​​they embrace and, of course, through this collection, including the Brăila horse cart.

Fideliu Rubinescu-Ostriceanu, Museum Curator, National Museum of Agriculture, Slobozia, Romania