Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Lovely Lefkara Lace

One of the few crafts that the island of Cyprus is known for is its beautiful Lefkaritika, or Lefkara embroidered lace. Lefkara is a beautiful old village located on a hillside with winding cobble stone walkways. Ryan's mom and sister have been in town for the week so we decided to take a trip out to see the handiwork of the Lefkara villagers. Of course I walked away with a few choice pieces... here is the story behind the Lefkara Lace.

During the Byzantine empire, and shortly after the crusades, Cyprus became a hub for beautiful embroidered textiles. The center for this craft was Lefkara. Lefkara lace is always made in two colors, either the white or brown . The technique of lace embroidery has remained virtually unchanged since a period of Venetian occupation (early 1500s). There are two decorative styles, the Byzantine style which is by far the older of the two, seen in white here. The second is the "Leonardo DaVinci" style (seen in brown here). This was adopted when DaVinci visited Lefkara and brought back a piece of lace for the alter in Milan Cathedral. Each of the triangles depict a different story as a pair. 

The traditional craft is passed down from mother to daughter. The craftsmanship is absolutely stunning.

After shopping for our lace pieces we did a quick jaunt through the village. There were no people on the streets because it, apparently, is an abnormally hot day for July (good to know the locals think its hot too!). The streets are beautiful, infinitely easier to get lost in than the streets of Venice. Beautiful sweeping views... this is the view from about halfway down the hill of the hillside town looking at the newer lower Lefkara.  

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