Latvju Rakstu Ābecīte (An ABC of Latvian Ornaments)Edvards Paegle, Editor, 1939

Cover, designed
by the author

Edvards Paegle's Latvju Rakstu Ābecīte, published by the Latvian Children's Friendship Society, makes up in pictures what it lacks in words—starting with the simplest borders which could be molded into clay, like cueniforms, and progressing through ever more complex variations.

Its purpose?

Mīļie bērni.

Kāda tautasdziesma tā skan: "Tēvu tēvi laipas meta, bērnu bērni laipojās. Tā bērniņi, laipojiet, ka laipiņas nepārlūza."

Tas nozīmē, ka tās gudrās atziņas un pamācības, tās skaistās ierašas, ko tēvi ieguvuši garā mūžadarbā, ko tie iecienijuši savos priekos, mum būs uzglabāt un nodot tāļāk nākošām paaudzēm. Viena no stiprākām un skaistākām laipiņām, ko jūs, bērni, esat mantojuši no saviem senčiem ir raksts, kas svešā vārdā "ornaments" saucas. Šis raksts ir tik vecs, cik veca ir latvju tauta un tik skaists, cik skaistas ir mūsu mīļās tautasdziesmas. Šo rakstu sargāt, glabāt un spodrinātu tālāk dot ir jūsu pienākums.

Šī grāmatiņa, mīļie bērni, ir veltīta jums, lai jūs tanī iepazītos ar mūsu tautasraksta pamata elementiem, lai redzētu kā no punktiņa jeb lāsītes izaug svītriņa, kā tās līmeniskais, stateniskais vai slīpais stāvoklis veido raksta motivus, ko dēvē par saulītēm, zvaigznītēm, ugunskrustiem, ozoļiniem, jumtiņiem, zalktīšiem jeb ķirmāliem, jumīšiem, slotiņām u. t. t. un, viemēr vairāk sarežģijoties rakstā un krāsās, dod tos skaistos ielokus, ko apbrīnojam krāšņās sagšās vai villainēs.

Savu vecāku un skolotāju vadībā, ticu, jūs gūsiet sekmes un jums būs prieks soļot pa drošo tēvutēvu laipiņu, apzinoties, ka ikkatrs solis tuvina jūs mērķim un padziļina jūsu darba un dzīves prieku.

Šinī darbā daudz saules novēl jūsu draugs

E. P.

Paraphrasing the main points from Paegle's introduction... Latvian ornaments are as ancient as the Latvian people, and it is the duty of each generation to preserve and embellish them for the next. The booklet was designed to familiarize children with the basic elements of folk elements and to illustrate the simplest forms and then how one can build up ever more complex and colourful designs like the ones found in Latvian folk costumes.

Paegle closes, hoping that with the guidance of their parents and teachers, children will become proficient, and that this proficiency will bring them happiness in work and life.

About the author

Paegle was born July 26, 1876 in Rūjiena, son of a tenant farmer. He obtained his teacher's credentials in 1908. In 1909 he founded a school in Rīga offering courses in languages and commerce. By 1913 the school already had 1,200 students, and it operated until 1936. Paegle studied English in London (1910-1911), subsequently authoring German, English, and French language textbooks. He published the arts and crafts monthly Latvijas Saule (Latvian Sun) from 1923 to 1931—this booklet is compiled from its contents. He was a long-time Lielvārde resident—weaving the Lielvāŗde pattern sash was a specialty. Paegle participated in arts and crafts exhibitions abroad, organized exhibitions at home, and published a text on Latvian folk art (1928, 1935) which was translated into several foreign languages. The Soviets nationalized his arts and crafts museum in 1940. Like many other Latvians escaping the Soviet reinvasion, Paegle fled to the West, where he eventually settled in Germany after the war. Paegle remained active, publishing brochures to popularize Latvian folk art. He also wrote numerous anti-Communism letters published in the Continental Daily Mail.[1]

Paegle died in Würzburg, Germany, in 1960.[2]


[1]Summarized from Švābe's Latvju Enciklopēdija, vol. 2, p. 1826.
[2]Biographical information at Madonas novadpētniecības un mākslas muzejs site.
Edvards Paegle's works remain under copyright until January 1, 2031. Our reproduction for informational, educational, and research purposes qualifies under 20. and 21. of Latvian copyright law. Further reproduction or republication is expressly forbidden except for citation in keeping with standard academic practices.

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