Traditional ornaments (updated) December 4, 2008Posted by ieva in Uncategorized.
Tags: Afghanistan ornaments, Baiba Lindane, Baiba Linga Berzina, folk patterns, Latvian traditional ornaments, latviesu tautas raksti, Purpurs, sia Umbra
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.
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.
And one more from Afghanistan: square kufic script developed in the 12th century.
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I don’t think these ornaments are something out of date.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.
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?