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Traditional ornaments (updated) December 4, 2008

Posted by ieva in Uncategorized.
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I was looking through the book “Language of ornament” (James Trilling) and this picture caught my attention. I was surprised to find Latvian traditional ornaments there! But they turned out to be from Afghanistan… details of the tile revetment ot the shirne of Abdullah Ansari at Gazur Gah, near Herat in Afghanistan, 1425-29.

afghanistan_ornaments

I wouldn’t be surprised by similarities with other East European or Scandinavian countries’ traditional ornaments. But Afghanistan seems relatively far away and I doubt our ancestors had a lot of contacts with them. Below are a couple of examples of Latvian patterns.

latv_raksti

latv_raksti

And one more from Afghanistan: square kufic script developed in the 12th century.

afghanistan_ornaments

Of course, if I look closer, I see also a lot of differences, like Latvian patterns (in these examples) are exclusively 45°, while the Afghanistan ones show more variations with the angles. I find Latvian ornaments more harmonious. They also have a contemporary pixel look (: . I think it’s normal that these very old traditions overlap at some points. I just wish there would be more materials (books/www) available on Latvian traditional ornaments. I would be happy if somebody could let me know about some good information sources! I have a few quite old books on the subject and an amazing book by Adrian Frutiger “Man and his signs”. I believe that knowing and understanding better our traditions we become stronger and we can see better why we are the way we are. I’m sure, the folklore is an essential source for that.

I don’t think these ornaments are something out of date. But it’s very rare to see them used in contemporary design. The first example that comes to me is the collection of candles by Latvian designer Baiba Linga Berzina.

Didzis Grodzs

And some more, suggested by YOU:

Lamp Skara by Baiba Lindane.

Notebooks and photo albums by Latvian company Purpurs.

Is there no institution/company/design review in Latvia that would be interested to organize a competition where designers have to use folk elements? That would be a good motivation to get to know more about our traditions and to put them in a contemporary form.

P.S. I’m also a bit desperate looking for Latvian traditional ornaments in vector version. Does it exist? Does anybody know where to find them?

Comments»

1. Ilze - December 4, 2008

Cik atceros, Baiba Lindāne savu kolekciju SKARA (www.budesign.lv) arī izveidoja, iedvesmojoties/ietekmējoties no latviešu etnogrāfijas.
Es domāju, ka ir vērts parunāt ar abām Baibām!
Ideja par konkursu/uzdevumu ir ļoti laba, jāpadomā par realizēšanu…

2. baiba - December 4, 2008

http://www.niceplace.lv ari veido grafiskas kartinas izmantojot latvieshu ornamentus. Viniem ir ari veikalins laipu ielaa , diezgan forshs un musdieniegs, tur var nopirkt ari manas sveces.

3. balticdesign - December 4, 2008

Ilze, paldies, jaa, tiesa, ielikshu kaadu bildi ar Skaru (:.
Vairaak Latvijaa taadu Baibu!!

4. saskia - December 4, 2008

I agree with your view on tradition in combination with understanding and interpreting new design. I like learning your culture because I know so little of it.

5. Elīna - December 4, 2008

I think that Latvian stationery’s company Purpurs is using Latvian ornaments in their design. For sure, they have turned them into vectors! But I don’t know if they are willing to share! But may be they would like to have some…common project!

6. balticdesign - December 4, 2008

Oh, true, I didn’t even think of Purpurs (I couldn’t find any website, I guess they don’t have one jet… :/)!
Sure, Saskia, I’ll make sure, you have such a chance.

7. kahvaltı - May 13, 2010

Vairaak Latvijaa taadu Baibu!!

8. Inese - January 7, 2012

Paldies par rakstu!
Tiesa gan, ornamenta elementi, kuri ir ZĪMES, šķiet, ir senāki, nekā jēdziens par nāciju vai valsts teritoriju kā tādu… liela līdzība ar latviskiem rakstiem tāpat rodama arī Indijā, uc Austrumu reģiona valstīs, kas, iespējams, liecina par to, ka seno indo-eiropiešu zīmju sistēmas daļas jeb variācijas turpina lietot visas vai lielākā daļa etnisko grupu, kas ir indo-eiropiešu pēcteči.

Par ornamentu modelēšanu – varu ieteikt Veltu Miku, viņai ir oriģinālprogrammiņas, strādā labi. Cits jautājums ir, vai datora, kurā modelēšana/ornamenta ģenerēšana notiek pēc gadījuma principa, iegūto rezultātu var traktēt kā latvisku rakstu…

Piekrītu, ka latviskas rakstu zīmes ir ļoti skaidras un ārkārtīgi precīzi attēlotas arī tekstilā, tā ir mūsu garīgā mantojuma izcili vērtīga daļa. Jautājums par to, kā stimulēt latviska raksta renesansi mūsdienu kultūrā, ir svarīgs, tikai – pagaidām neesmu redzējusi kaut cik nozīmīgus mēģinājumus to risināt.

ar cieņu,
Inese Krūmiņa, tekstilniece
inese3x3@gmail.com


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