The Cretan loom and Textiles

The Cretan loom is large with a horizontal frame. Its basic parts are the same as those of traditional European looms.

There are many kinds of textile on Crete for various purposes, created using different weaving techniques and decoration.

Cretan embroidery woven on the loom is among the loveliest in Europe. The motifs are always geometrical, based on the diamond, and are derived from the Byzantine aristocracy of Constantinople who settled in Crete in the 11th and 12th centuries. The designs and colours have remained unchanged ever since, as each weaver copies them faithfully from the one before. There are five types of woven textile:

  1. multicoloured embroidery with geometrical designs
  2. monochrome or two-tone decorated material, known as “kouskouse”
  3. multicoloured “peramatista” materials with simple geometrical designs
  4. two-tone or multicoloured striped material
  5. multicoloured weaving with decorative images

It is worth noting that multicoloured embroideries are unique to certain areas of the island, and are distinguished by the different shape of the diamond and the surrounding decoration. The same is true of striped weaving, where regional differences are observed in the colour combinations.

The uses of woven materials are many, according to size, decoration and weaving technique. A few examples are set out below:

  1. “Bagali”, a strip of white material with embroidered ends used as a saddle-covering
  2. “Vouryia” or traveller’s knapsack
  3. Large farmer’s sack
  4. Woman’s work apron
  5. Man’s work apron
  6. “Fraski” swaddling clothes
  7. “Anthomandila” cheese-cloth
  8. “Kanapeliki”, a long thin sofa-cover of “peramatisto” material
  9. Wedding sack, a large woollen or cotton sack decorated with wide coloured stripes. The bride used this to transfer her woven dowry to her husband’s house. The sack was then used almost exclusively for the monthly transfer of wheat and barley to the mill and flour on the return journey, to be used for baking bread and paximadi.
  10. “Prossomi”, a small thick decorated shoulder-covering, worn to protect the left shoulder when carrying the water-jar from the well.

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Προηγούμενο άρθροΤα σχολεία που θα παραστεί στους αγιασμούς ο Δήμαρχος Ηρακλείου Βασίλης Λαμπρινός
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