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Courtship by Egg-shoeing in Bosnia and Herzegovina

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Kresevo Blacksmith Tradition

The city of Kresevo is known for a very unusual tradition known as egg shoeing. Kresevo’s blacksmiths have always enjoyed a special reputation as iron and steel artists. This small town full of lovely white typical Bosnian houses forms a nearly regular equal-sided triangle with Fojnica and Kiseljak. The river Kresevka runs through it, and above it lie the remnants of medieval fortress Bedem. According to tradition, mining and metalworking crafts have been brought here by Sasi (Bosnian for Saxons), settled first by Bosnian ‚Äěbans‚Äú, and then the kings in various parts of medieval Bosnia. Initially, in this area, especially in Kresevo and Fojnica, they mostly dealt with exploitation of silver ore, and when its price dropped due to the large influx of silver from Americas, iron ore production and processing also begun.

Mastering the Craft by Egg Shoeing

As proof that they had mastered the blacksmith’s craft in Kresevo, an unusual skill was introduced: shoeing eggs. The traditional tales say that no blacksmith in KreŇ°evo could marry if he did not know how to shoe an egg. If the future groom was unable to shoe the egg, it meant that he had not yet mastered his craft well and could not support the family. The legend says that this custom originated from the time when a poor blacksmith fell in love with the wealthy nobleman’s daughter and dared to ask for her hand. The requirement to obtain the father’s approval was a shoed egg. When he was finally able to shoe the egg, he placed it in the basket and displayed it in the window of his house so that everyone could see it.

KreŇ°evo's horseshoes
KreŇ°evo’s horseshoes

Modern Use of Egg-shoeing

Today, the miniature horse shoes are made of lead rather than iron, to make them easier for shaping. Eggs are sold as another favorite souvenir from this area, same like Kresevo mineral citrine. Today, this craft is preserved from extinction by only five persons. Beside a compulsory horse shoe, the eggs are decorated with whatever the customers prefers – the coats of arms of cities, clubs, parties, and company logos. In addition to the Bosnian royal lilies, there is also a Croatian chess-board coat of arms, a flag of Bosnia and Herzegovina, four S, a Turkish flag … At the beginning only one horse shoe was placed on an egg, and later two, three, or even four.

KreŇ°evo
KreŇ°evo

Kresevo’s horse shoed eggs are nowadays mostly sold online and then delivered by express mail or buses. They can be seen in the museum of the Franciscan monastery in Fojnica, whose collection preserves other evidence of the craftsmanship of the Kresevo’s blacksmiths, as well as the rich mineralogical collection of these areas.

Courtship by Egg-shoeing, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Courtship by Egg-shoeing, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Author: Tarik Dreca

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