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Hand Craft Textiles

The belt of Lielvarde

The belt of Lielvarde is regarded as an outstanding example of a hand-woven Latvian adornment, and it is included in the Latvian Cultural Canon.

The expression "The belt of Lielvarde" has become a term that includes undeniable traditional cultural values. Although traditional belts from elsewhere in the country also stands out with their rich pattern ornamentation, it is the belt of Lielvarde that created a modern myth. The myth is about the belt’s very ancient origins, the cosmic code encrypted in the ornamental pattern, and the protective power of the belt.

In Latvian contemporary culture, the belt of Lielvarde lives its own independent and symbolized life. The motives of the belt are often used in today’s culture, and very often it is used to represent Latvia in the world.

Lielvardes belt is usually referred singular - as something unique and the only one. In fact, unique in its uniqueness is every belt from Lielvardes region. In the Latvian National History museum the largest number of extant belts is Lielvarde belts. In this collection there are about 70 authentic Lielvardes region belts. Historically, its geographic distribution is Jumprava, Kastrāne, Krape, Laubere, Lēdmane, Lielvārde, Madliena, Meņģele, and Rembate parishes.

The belt of Lielvarde is unique with its richness of patterns, and with its fineness, very precise and masterfully layered organization of ornament components.

In the belt of Lielvarde the organization of pattern components can vary greatly. Unique is the composition of the belt. It is formed from various patterns which are not rhythmically repeated but changes in multiple variations.  The ornaments that stand beside are interrelated - the formation of one ornament begins to form another one and so on. Arranging the patterns for the belt, similar patterns tend to repeat several times. The belt of Lielvarde has the greatest thread count; there could be used up to 75 warps. That creates the opportunity to build branched and rich patterns.

Due to the complex geometric pattern combinations the Lielvarde belt is considered as one of the most magnificent Latvian belt and it is a real challenge to weavers. The work requires several weeks, and thoughts about the people whom it is weaved to.