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 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.