Krustpils Women's Folk CostumeFold-out, Latvian State Printing House, ca. 1960

This quick reference fold-out on card stock is a Soviet-era work (priced in kopecks and including references to the Baltic Soviet republics) reminiscent of Latvju raksti—Ornement Letton, which was offered as a subscription series by the State Printing House from 1924 to 1931 and also published in three volumes. We have assembled our collection from multiple sources. It's worth noting the illustrations of folk costumes in the Concise Encyclopedia of the Latvian SSR (1970) are virtually identical to those shown here.

A traditional weave pattern appears on the cover. Inside are an illustration of a full folk costume and various details: woman's decorative cape (a sagša is often a shawl and tends to be translated as such), men's shirt, woman's brooch and cuff embroidery. The obverse side provides a brief overview in four languages: French, English, Russian, and Latvian.

Today's Krustpils district was already settled 1,000 B.C. as documented by archeological digs of the mound at Asote (during 1949-1954) and elsewhere in the district.

Krustpils first appears in the written record in 1247 when the bishop of Riga built a castle not far from Asote, named Kreutzburg for its cross-shaped construction. While an adjoining village already existed, it was only first mentioned in the Riga archbishop's feudal record of 1511. Under the rule of Poland-Lithuania, Stephen Báthory, King of Poland, bestowed the castle upon Nicholas Corfu, in whose family it remained until 1920.

Krustpils district within Latvia today

Krustpils fell under the Russian empire in the 1772 partition of Poland. During the Russo-Turkish war (1877-1878), Turkish prisoners of war were detained in Krustpils—many subsequently settled and remained. A Turkish cemetery remains today near the Asote mound. Krustpils was given village status in 1784 and city status in 1920, after Latvian independence. Under the Soviets, it was joined with Jēkabpils, across the Daugava, in 1962. (Krustpils lies on the right bank of the Daugava, in Latgale; Jēkabpils on the left bank in Sēlija; each has it own distinct dialect.)

The Krustpils folk costume features four basic colors: yellow, green, red, and blue. Shirts are embroidered in these colors around the collar and cuffs but are otherwise unadorned except for a few early examples which have survived. The colors and weaving paterns of skirts vary. The Krustpils belt is narrower than most, nevertheless, it boasts a wealth of color. Krustpils costumes are particularly noteworthy for their splendid ornamentation and intricate needlework technique used to embroider women's decorative capes. Head-dress consists of acorn wreaths, coronets, or beautiful hats for married women.

Click on a thumbnail to view the picture. Mouse over the either side of the picture and click to navigate or use the left/right arrow keys.

Fold-out cover

Woman's full dress

Woman's decorative cape

Blouse—sleeve, collar, shoulder embroidery

Brooch and skirt waistband

Overview (French)

Overview (English)

Overview (Russian)

Overview (Latvian)

Publisher's imprint
...Timeline...Festival of Lithuanian Art and MusicFestival of Lithuanian Art and Music, Washington, D.C., 1953. Lithuanian exile community celebrates the anniversary of Lithuania's original founding with art, a concert, and banquet in Washington, D.C. Festival program. Müürisepp's Soviet EstoniaEstonia, Wonderful Present—Marvellous Future, Aleksei Müürisepp. Soviet Booklets, London. 1959. Career apparatchik and then soon-to-be Estonian SSR Supreme Soviet Chairman Алексей Александрович Мюрисеп waxes eloquently of life under the U.S.S.R., one of a series of propaganda booklets produced about each of the fifteen Soviet Republics. Lācis' Soviet LatviaLatvia—Our Dream is Coming True, Vilis Lācis. Soviet Booklets, London. 1959. Popular author during Latvia's independence and Soviet sympathizer signing deportation orders sending families to frosty death, Vilis Lācis, writes of the materialization of Latvian dreams under the U.S.S.R., one of a series of booklets produced about each of the fifteen Soviet Republics. Abrene Fold-outAbrene Women's Folk Costume. Latvian State Publishing House, ca. 1960.Abrene women's folk costume illustrated multi-lingual reference fold-out. Augšzeme Fold-outAugšzeme Women's Folk Costume. Latvian State Publishing House, ca. 1960.Augšzeme women's folk costume illustrated multi-lingual reference fold-out. Krustpils Fold-outKrustpils Women's Folk Costume. Latvian State Publishing House, ca. 1960.Krustpils women's folk costume illustrated multi-lingual reference fold-out. Latgale Fold-outLatgale Women's Folk Costume. Latvian State Publishing House, ca. 1960.Latgale women's folk costume illustrated multi-lingual reference fold-out. Nīca Fold-outNīca Women's Folk Costume. Latvian State Publishing House, ca. 1960.Nīca women's folk costume illustrated multi-lingual reference fold-out. Along Latvia's RoadsPa Latvijas Ceļiem (Along Latvia's Roads), ca. 1960. Soviet era postcards ala "See the USA in your Chevrolet." (Soviet) RīgaRīga, ca. 1960. Soviet fold-out of post-card sized images of Rīga. Captioned in eight (!) languages and extolling the benefits, virtues, and accomplishments of the Soviet occupation "era." Smiltene Fold-outSmiltene Women's Folk Costume. Latvian State Publishing House, ca. 1960.Smiltene women's folk costume illustrated multi-lingual reference fold-out.

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