Latvian Costumes at National Museum
29 November, 2012
Latvian Costumes at National Museum
On November 26, the Georgian National Museum hosted an amazing exhibition of National Latvian costumes. The exposition displays 37 national suits of adults and children. The national clothes are the inseparable parts of the Latvian heritage. The clothes that have been preserved until today bear the festive mood, which had been transmitted from generation to generation, together with eye-catching adornments. However, the patterns everyday clothing have hardly lived up to today. The development of the Latvian garments reflects the history
of the country from the first centuries B.C to the 19th century.

Since 1992 until today, the Latvian National costumes have been exhibited in the exhibition halls of the United States of America, Norway, Switzerland, Denmark, Czech Republic, Spain, Greece, Austria, Russia, Ukraine and Belarus.
The organizers of the exhibition are the Georgian National Museum, Latvian Embassy to Georgia and the Centre of Latvian National Costumes “Sena Klets”.
Elita Gavele told Georgian Journal: „My relationship with the Latvian National Costume is special. It is like a good and eternal friend, one whom I always remember but rarely meet. However, there is a warm feeling inside me; as if I get reacquainted with my old friend. I can get it out of a wardrobe, touch it and put it on for an important event.   The touch of the flax shirt in its rough warmness, the white plaid with beautiful embroidery on my back that squares my shoulders and a white scarf on my head is a wonderful reunion. And of course, with little broches, red pearl beads, and heavy woolen socks, I am ready to display my nation’s beautiful legacy - my Latvian National Costume. That’s why I was keen on displaying Latvian national costumes to Georgian people.”
Traditional Costume Centre, “Sena Klets,” was established in 1991 by ethnographer Maruta Grasmane, lecturer at Riga Applied Arts College (1976-1997) and Latvian University (1988-1993). Over the years, under the guidance of costume researcher M. Grasmane, Latvian cultural and historic heritage has been studied and a unique collection of more than 40 traditional costumes (recreated from authentic examples from museums) from various Latvian regions has been created.
Latvian Traditional Costume Centre, “Sena Klets,” with its reverence to ancient traditions, not only strengthens Latvian identity but also inspires one to get acquainted with Latvian cultural and historic heritage and antique craftsmanship that is closely related to the Latvian worldview and mentality.
The Latvian national costume is a composite of a variety of festive outfits. There are many local varieties that are combined based on the five cultural-historical or ethnographic areas of Latvia: Vidzeme, Latgale, Augszeme, Zemgale, and Kurzeme. It is possible that at the basis of the older, barely determinable distinguishing marks of the traditional costume are the outfits of Baltic tribes and Livs living in what is now the territory of Latvia. Yet in every historic period the various costumes have shared many features in common. The costume has changed over time, retaining something of the old and supplementing the new. The peculiarities of the costumes of a certain area became more pronounced over the long centuries of serfdom when the peasants were not allowed to move around freely. The 19th century, particularly the 1860s also left their mark on the variety of the traditional outfits.
The exhibition will last until December 16.
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