Art crafts of Latvia

Art crafts of Latvia

Ushpelis A. Geilishi village, Preili district Candlestick 1978

Art crafts of Latvia. Long ago, since the 1st century AD. The art processing of metals, wood, ceramics and weaving was known here. Art crafts in different regions of Latvia developed unevenly, and this was due to many natural and historical conditions.

The north-western part of Latvia – Kurzeme, inhabited for ever from the ancient people – Livs, since XIII century often experienced the invasion of the Swedes and Germans. But also on these long-suffering lands the artistic creativity of the people developed.
The interiors of the dwellings were not rich: simple wooden furniture, modestly decorated with carvings, cabinets with painted oil paints, chests with metal plates and flower paintings. A great variety of the dwelling was given to forged products made of ferrous metals, first of all they were various kinds of lamps. The metal was elaborately crafted in the product, its shapes look strictly and restrained, the color is dark, the lines of the silhouette are simple.
Ceramics. The same was modest ceramics. Pots, bowls, jugs, mugs, tubes were almost without decor. But their forms are beautiful, plastic. Of particular interest are the vessels “twins” -the two small pots connected together by the sides with one upper handle.
They are manufactured today.
Latgale is in the south-east of Latvia. Latgales are ancient settlers of the Latvian land. Here, in these territories, it was crowded, because the land was better, and it was safer to live. But because of the crowded areas of the earth were tiny. By the beginning of the XX century 80% of the population were peasants, of which two-thirds were landless. Artistic handicrafts have spread widely. The metal was small, and even handles made of clay. There was essentially no artwork for metal processing, but the pottery flourished. The largest center for the manufacture of ceramics in Latgale was Silayaia. They also engaged in it in Andrupen, the towns of Vilyaki and Ludza.

Art crafts of Latvia

Production Association “Dailrade” of the Ministry of Local Industry of the Latvian SSR Riga Female breast decoration.

Latgale art ceramics goes far beyond the scope of local significance. It is a unique phenomenon and has entered the all-union fund of artistic values. This ceramics is characterized by a wide variety of shapes, a combination in one piece of work on the potter’s wheel and free hand molding. The shapes of the products are soft, round, plastic, so they give the impression of such a cozy home. The decor of the products includes engraving of the surface, watering, sometimes inscriptions, stucco handles, wavy soft-plastic edges, sculpted images of merry birds and animals. Sometimes, for fun, the vessels were made with a whistle. Often dishes decorated with ridges not only of relief, but also of high relief character. Such stucco decorations on the vessels are made exclusively decorative. The color was sonorous, beautiful combinations of green, yellow and golden brown.
Ceramic fishing Latgale has a pronounced national character. In products that are still manufactured here in great abundance, the practical function is organically and naturally combined with decorative festive decoration. This dish brought joy to the house, and sometimes fun. There were no useless things, the people’s master attached every thing to beauty and entertaining. Sometimes this dish was simpler, and sometimes – quite a labor-consuming manufacture, differed in the complexity of the compositional solution.
It would seem that the ceramic art of Latgale masters always preserved the world of bright ideals, the harmony of cloudless images was not invaded by a dramatic note. And in fact at this time in parallel, there was oral folklore nearby, in which it was in Latgale that the theme of irrevocability, the denial of everything bright in life, all hope, acquired a special sharpness. Special tragedy these themes have reached in farewell songs of brides – this unique monument of national creativity. In these songs, there is so much human pain that on the ceramic household products the bird is no longer perceived only as a decorative element, but more and more persistently there is an association with a bird-girl.

Art crafts of Latvia

Production Association “Dailrade” of the Ministry of Local Industry of the Latvian SSR Riga Mitten Women 1980

Of course, in the decorative, everyday art it is impossible to find dramatic notes. Before, this art was created not so much for reflection, as for a counterweight to life phenomena. Today латгальская ceramics is a remarkable Latvian national art – has kept the light pure decorative image.
Artistic processing of wood. If in Kurzeme blacksmithing was predominantly developed, and in ceramics, in Zemgale, in the southern part of the republic, the traditional art craft was the processing of a tree.
The forms of national furniture, household utensils and dishes were massive, heavyweight. Traditional to this day and chairs with high carved wooden backs and soft wicker seats. With carved wooden details made cabinets and beds with foot-columns.
For a very long time, the shapes of furniture and utensils have not changed. In addition to furniture and dishes, beautiful and abundant carvings were decorated with sledges. From the 19th century, the art of decorating wooden products with burning was very popular. With such decorative design, many decorations of a home and a table were made. The wooden dishes had beautiful simple shapes and a modest decor.
Weaving. In Vidzeme – another cultural and historical region of Latvia – especially powerful centers of handicraft weaving were formed. In Jaunpiebalga, Vecpiebalga, Rauna from flax and wool weaved fabrics that were very popular all over Latvia. But the imported fabrics, even quite beautiful ones, were not successful for the residents. In the documents of the XIX century there is often a lack of demand for factory imported fabrics, which “do not correspond to the tastes of the local population”. The conservatism of artistic predilections was a peculiar reaction of rejection of all foreign, introduced, foreign, and it had its positive features, as it allowed folk art to preserve traditions and national identity. The love attitude towards one’s own, understandable, intimate led to a rather slow variability of the traditional forms of the decor of works.
At home weaved tablecloths, rugs, curtains, cloths for clothes, belts. Weaving by the middle of the XIX century was a rather complex technique: satin, remyznoe, twill. Easier – linen. And all these techniques were enriched with the techniques of retracted loops, the use of various thicknesses of threads, interlacing fringes. Fabrics for skirts were of two kinds – just striped and patterned-striped. By the end of the XIX century the weaving technique is even more complicated. In addition to patterned colored fabrics, a lot of thin linen bleached cloth was produced with beautiful interlacing of geometric ornament. Of these fabrics, elegant tablecloths and towels were made.
By the end of the XIX century in Vidzeme, as well as in other areas of the Baltic States, the decorativeness of fabrics, their color due to the use of chemical dyes, are increasing. There are patterned tablecloths, wall curtains, multicolored textured bedspreads with a complex pattern. Begin to give preference to plant ornaments. Jacquard weaving is spreading, there are various complex types of twill weaving of specifically Latvian types of fabrics not known in other Baltic republics.

Vincevich V. Rezekne Kise P. Rezekne Vase and Vase 1978

Since the 1880s, drawings in Latvian house weaving have become more sophisticated, and the colorful range is increasingly intense.
Costume. The national women’s costume consists of a white cloth shirt with a standing small collar, skirts, sleeveless jackets and a headdress. As for the design of women’s clothing, it used embroidery, but only shading details of clothing, extremely modest. In general, embroidery is not characteristic of Latvian art crafts. Bugles are often added to the embroidery. In Kurzeme, beaded cuffs with strict geometric patterns of black, white, gray and blue colors were widely used. The skirt was checkered, often with a predominance of red, or striped. The sleeveless shirt was in the color of a skirt. The complement to the costume was knitted
a woolen shawl with tassels. The shawl could be with metal pendants. The most distinctive feature of the costume is the traditional long, almost to the floor, shoulder cover – “villain”. The bedspread was often inherited from mother to daughter and retained the ancient motifs of ornamentation.
In one of the burials of the VHI century came the costume of a Latvian girl. Well-preserved shoulder woolen veil, decorated with bronze spirals. Villaines XIII-XV centuries had rosetopodobnye tin podovki, beads and shells of the far Indian ocean – kauri. Modern villainas can be white with a beautiful stripe of decorative decoration, embroidery of large geometric ornaments, checkered white-red, monophonic.
Since the end of the XIX century, the covers have been made in a fairly wide range of colors, but close tones, for example, burgundy with blue and dark green, dark green with black and bordeaux.
A woman’s costume usually ends with a handkerchief or nametka, while the girls traditionally have a halo of a dowel or from metal plates connected by several rows of metal spirals. Corolla from the dowel was decorated with a colored bugle, embroidery with silk and wool of white, red and yellow colors. From the metal strip of the head-piece, long, abundant pendants descended along the sides: spirals, bells, metal plates resembling blade-shaped axes. Beads round a large amber finished the suit.
In the whole of Latvia, the art of knitting from wool has been widespread since ancient times. Latvian latish shawls differ in high taste and originality. They are more often monochrome, and if a second color is introduced, it is usually combined in a beautiful low-key gamma: silvery-gray with white, gray and red. More decorative, but less commonly used combination of red and black colors. In other knitted products, in contrast to Estonian, for example, preference is also given to one color.
Jewelry Art. Even from the IV century women’s ornaments of bronze with dot and round reached us
with a dot, ocellar, ornaments. From a somewhat later time, preserved metal metal hryvnia and rings. In the burial of the VIII century, which we recalled, there were decorations: spiral rings, cuff-like wide bracelets, a headpiece of metal stripes, corolla pendants with characteristic bells, which girls wear today, after more than a thousand years. One can imagine the face of that girl, separated from us by many centuries, in a long villa and bronze ornaments.
What were typical of those traditional jewelry, which in the beginning of the XX century were present in the women’s costume? Simple metal brooches were made of simple metal – sakts with juicy engraving and notches, besides bracelets, rings, jewelery and pendants. Often, the metal was enriched with colored stones, mostly red carnelian, amber or colored glass. Shoulder saktas were cone-shaped, very large in size, but without stones. These shoulder sakts, or fibulae, as they are called, have their origin in Latvia from very old times. The most interesting are their prototypes are large, so-called arbaletoobrobnoe fibulae Semigallians VI century. They are beautiful with their solidity, the harsh simplicity of polished metal, the lack of decor. Only a thin rope of the scanner and the surface of the surface are decorative decoration of the brooches.
At present, the folk masters enter the association at the Union of Latvian Artists. This association is given opportunities for a broad creative initiative. The experience of working in the republic with folk craftsmen deserves the widest dissemination precisely in our time of active search for the most optimal organizational system. Association “Dailrade” and combine “Maxla” produce a wide range of folk art products, which are in great demand and good reputation. Here, first of all, we must pay tribute to the magnificent knitted products, hand weaving and wood and vine products. In these works the best traditions of Latvian folk art are preserved.

Art crafts of Latvia