Nīca 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.

The cover's background shows a traditional weave pattern; inside are an illustration of a full folk costume and various details: shirt (blouse), shoulder and cuff embroidery, bodice, brooch, and shawl. The flip side provides a brief overview in four languages: French, English, Russian, and Latvian.

Nīca district within Latvia today

The village of Nīca is located on the Bārta River, about 21 km (13 miles) south of Liepāja, near Latvia's Baltic sea coast. Today's Nīcas pagasts (Nīca parish) is a combination of the historical Nīca and Otaņķi parish.

The Nīca women's folk costume is particularly renowned for its intricate and colorful design. Its most distinctive elements are its red skirt, orantely embroidered white shawl, and crown. Its primary colors are red, white, gray, and silver: red as a symbol of an active and healthy life; white for virtue and eternity; while silver—the effect of the glass beads sewn into the crown—embodies hidden power as in moonlight and starlight.[1]

Sample of Nīca embroidery, woolen yarn on linen fabric. Latvian Chamber of Agriculture, 1938
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, restored image)

(Woman's full dress, original)

Shirt (blouse), embroidery on top of shoulder, embroidery around cuff

Bodice, bodice ornamentation, brooch

Shawl, corner detail

Overview (French)

Overview (English)

Overview (Russian)

Overview (Latvian)

Publisher's imprint

[1]This description and sample of the women's vest shown here is adapted from Strinca, P. Nīca laikmetu griežos, 2008.
...Timeline...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. Latvia and the Latvians"Attitudes of the Major Soviet Nationalities, Latvia and the Latvians", Frederic T. Harned, 1973. Part of a wider set of studies on all the peoples of the Soviet Union. The study was a project of M.I.T.'s Center for International Studies. Soviet Aggression Against the Baltic StatesSoviet Aggression Against the Baltic States. Augusts Rumpēters. The World Federation of Free Latvians, New York. 1974. Augusts Rumpēters (1899-1978) served in the Supreme Court Senate of the Republic of Latvia. His cogent and superbly annotated dissertation provides pertinent counterpoint to those who continue to insist the Baltics joined the USSR willingly and legally.

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