Wood Stories: Nečke
NEČKE OR KADUNJE, IN GOTSCHEER LANGUAGE »MAUTERLE«WERE USED IN DIFFERENT WAYS.THE LARGE ONE MORE FOR BAKING OR DOUGH PREPARING, THE SMALLER ONE FOR GRAIN SEPARATION, FOR KNEADING OF SMALLER DOUGH PORTIONS, FOR BEARING BURDENS ETC. IN THE KOČEVJE REGION A NEW BORN BABY WAS LAID INTO »NEČKE« , IF THE FIRST CHILD WAS STILL IN THE CRADDLE.
Nečke or kadunje, in Gotscheer language »mauterle« is a shallow pot with thin walls, of rectangular shape and made of one piece of wood. In the Kočevje region ( and elsewhere in Slovenia) they were used in different ways. The large ones mostly for baking or dough preparation, the smaller one – in length cca 70 to 80cm, for grain separation, for kneading of smaller dough portions, for bearing burdens etc. In the Kočevje region a new born baby was laid into »nečke« if the first child was still in the craddle.
The Gottscheers were masters in making »nečke«. They usually carved it out of beech trunk or plough.They burnt them in flames and the burnt layer was scratched so that the wood would not crack.The depth of the large nečke that was longer than 150cm and 70 cm wide was burnt directly with burning char coal. The outside side was often decorated with different geometric ornaments: circles, ornaments, stars, diamond patterns,straight lines, S shaped lines, plant motifs, hearts etc.that were scratched with knife or chiselled with a carpentry chisel and jacket. In the middle or on both sides of the children »nečke« usually an additional sign of a cross or the initials IHS were added, directly beneath the edge they added four wooden nails for linking the tape.They put babies to sleep, took them to be baptized, to the doctor or bathed them in it.
The Gotscheer canopies were selling nečke in the Dolenjska region and other regions. As mentioned by Marija Makarovič they were offering them with the help of words » Buy, buy a colourful kaduj.«
The production of nečke is included into spoon making, a branch of woodenware handicraft.The production of woodenware handicraft was spread especially in Rog villages and south of Kočevje town. In the beginning of the 20th century still 207 of 1241 houses within the Kocevje district were still producing woodenware, especially in the villages: Stari Log, Šemberk, Novi Log, Topli Vrh, Zgornji in Spodnji Komolc, Kunce, Rdeči Kamen, Podstenice, Muha vas, Mokra Gorica, Štale, Ribnik, Zgornja Srednja vas, Topla Gorica, Dolgi Dol, Stene, Rajhenav, Koprivnik, Golobinjek, Gorica, Resje, Mozelj, Rajndol, Verderb, Verdreng, Spodnji Log and Ravne.
Even though the decline of production was noticeable due to great emigration to America and abandoning the trade with woodware by the Gotscheer canopies it waned completely after the total emigration of Gotsheer Germans in the years 1941/42.The situation is different in Ribnica region where the tradition of producing woodenware has been kept until today. A few years ago Matija Kobola from the village Šalka vas, a handicraft producer, started to prudce »nečke« again as a souvenir or a pot.
Putscherle institute, a center for research, culture and conservation of cultural heritage.