Various Estonian Handcrafts


In addition to wooden articles the Estonians used copper tableware of fine proportions and well-defined forms. Silver-, copper-, and brasswork were also practiced on a wide scale. In eastern Estonia the chief decoration for women's costumes in the past was a large fibula, up to twenty centime-ters in diameter, which was worn on the breast. Its conical surface was usually covered with flowing designs of stylized plants. As well as fibulae, long necklaces with silver pendants in the shape of leaves or hearts, suspended from figured chains, were worn. Flat brooches with colored glass in-sets were also popular. The techniques of engraving, chasing, and stamping were all used in Estonian jewelry.

As different parts of Estonia were relatively isolated from each other in the past, over a hundred and fifty distinctive local costume styles developed. Their decorative richness and diversity are especially noticeable in women's headdresses, in which various materials and techniques, such as embroidery in silk or wool, spangles, beads, and even small metal bells, were used. Estonian embroidery employs a wide range of designs including archaic motifs. geometric patterns, and complicated plant compositions. The needlewomen from Muhu Island are famous for their varicolored embroidery with realistic large-scale floral representations. In the area of Haapsalu, an original technique of weaving multicolored, intricately patterned shawls and similarly decorated wraps is used. Zoomorphic motifs, plant designs, and human figures are found on traditional Estonian rugs, which became popular in the nineteenth century. Terry carpets were used as blankets during sledge rides, but now their bright coloring and high artistic quality make them ideal for interior decoration.





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