Väikesed kirjad vööde veeres. Eesti kirivööde äärekirjade tüübid ja kihelkondlik levik Tartu- ja Võrumaa näitel / Small patterns at the edges of belts. Types of edge patterns used in Estonian pick-up woven belts and their distribution in Tartu and Võru Co


  • Piia Rand




Pick-up woven belts form an important element of Estonian women’s folk dress. Belts make up one of the largest divisions of the Estonian National Museum’s item collection. Pick-up woven belts, and their large variety of patterns, provide ample avenues for research. Belt patterns can be studied on the basis of the large patterns in the middle of the belt, the usage of colour, the appearance and meaning of the patterns, etc. The focus of this article is on the small patterns at the edges of the belts. I will provide a typology of edge patterns and present an overview of the spread of different patterns in Estonia in general, as well as a more detailed account of their spread in Tartu and Võru County parishes.

Various parts can be distinguished in the patterns of pick-up woven belts (Photo 2): the widest section in the middle of the belt, called the centre pattern, which can include a row of different colour thread, the centre thread; small patterns at the edge of the belt, called the edge patterns; narrow bands separating different sections of the pattern, called the küü, and in some regions, a coloured edge – the edge thread.

The edge patterns were divided into two main types based on the technology used. The first main type is the block patterns (Figure 1), where an odd number of linen background threads are threaded between each woollen pattern thread, creating a variety of straight lines and boxes. Block edge patterns were further divided into five sub-types. The second main type includes patterns where two linen background threads are threaded between the woollen pattern threads (Figures 2 and 3), creating patterns with diagonal edges – crosses, rhombuses, triangles, diagonal lines, etc. This main type was further divided into nine subtypes along with a number of variations. The geographical spread of blocked edge patterns is show in Figure 4 and the spread of diagonal edge patterns in Figure 5. The edge patterns from Tartu and Võru Counties and their prevalence in belts from the parishes of these counties is studied in more detail. In the counties studied here, block edge patterns are preferred, especially the variants P4 and P3 (Figures 6 to 9).

The work carried out here represents just a small fraction of the study of pick-up woven belts. The edge patterns, as well as other parts of the patterns and the belts from other Estonian counties are still waiting to be analysed. By learning to know and see the details of different parts of folk costumes, we will also learn to see their regional characteristics and acquire a deeper understanding of our national culture.

Keywords: folk costumes, pick-up woven belts, belt patterns, pattern types, distribution maps


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