Sunday, 10 June 2012

Tales of the past

Materials: white linen and red wool. Its woven on a belt loom using the pick-up technique.

Till my quilting torture continues and I still have nothing to show, I decided to tell the story of one of my family’s treasures, way over 100 years old.
During the WWI the farmhouse of our family was quite a busy place. German and Russian armies were moving in and out, each leaving their  marks. The whole place was a mess, and nobody knew what will happen tomorrow but show must go on – farming is farming, war is no excuse. One night, returning back from fields, parents of my granny spotted an alien horse in the orchard.  Horse was nietly tied to one of the apple trees – ribcage showing out and limping on all 4. A ruined warhorse. 

It was impossible to say to which army the horse belonged but somebody definitely had a heart for it, leaving it behind and not dragging it into an inevitable death. During the WWI soldiers still had hearts for their horses. And this one was the lucky one.  The horse survived and become great friend and protector to my granny – she remembered that horse all her life and his story is still alive in our family.
The horse was tied to the tree with the old belt. Not an army product, but something very special – a hand woven belt which is part of our national costume.  Something special for the soldier to take with him – a memory from home, a talisman to protect. And he left it with the horse... 

One of it’s end horse had already cheved in starvation as he was not able to reach grass, but the rest survived.   

This type of belts has very complicate ornamental tracery. In each of these belts, there are up to 22 symbols (ornaments): God’s symbol, Mara symbol, Laima’s symbols, the Well symbol, the Sun symbol, the Fortune cross, Jumis, the Life symbol, the Cross of Crosses and others, which we do know and some which meaning is lost over centuries. Ornaments of the belt have similarities  with cultures of India, Tibet and Inca culture in Mexico. 

The complex, changing ornaments in the belt have led some researchers to conclude that the designs hold encoded information. The scenario for the origins of the Universe read into the belt; the belt as a meditative system; as a yet untested piece of knowledge of the Universe may or may not be true: much will depend on what and how we want to see. 

Anyway, many of us believe that this belt contains information about the genesis of the universe and the nation. (Who wouldn’t? It's ours :D )

Also mathematicians had looked into these belts and played with turning  these ornaments into binary codes. About 10 years ago the ornament building programm had been created and now it’s  awailable on where you can create the ornament of your own message – to yourself or to the next generations. 

Whatever – this is just a little peek into the past. During the WWII armies still had some horses but no hearts left – the Soviet army walked through the farm (again, yes, by some reasons, some people happen to live right on the path of every army), and one mare gave a birth to the foal. Just few hours later  mare was dragged further while foal was left at the farm to die. Family handfed the foal and it survived but horse did grew up being quite nasty beast. Mutantur omnia nos et mutamur in illis.


  1. what memories for your family xx

  2. Diane, I have quite a collection of old family tales, and I have plan to share a bit - some are so crazy leaving TV soap roducers look pale :D I only wish my English would be better to tell them in full colours.

  3. I love this story. I can see an indie movie script framed from these words. Your English is fantastic! My great grandparents left Lithuania in 1895 and came to the states through Ellis Island. They weren't a talkative pair and kept their stories from their past a secret. I often wonder why they didn't share. Since they were the only link we had to our family history, I'll never know. Someday I hope to return to trace my family name. Thank you for sharing your stories.

  4. Hi, Ann! We were nearly neighbours! One of my grandfathers was born not far away from Birzhai (Northern Lithuania). He left the home at 14 with his two little sisters when both his parents were killed 1905.
    I love history and collecting stories from the past... It's just part of history.

  5. Ann, this is remarkable story! And those ornament really is very ancient! I can say that some of signs are from several thousands (!!!) years ago. I have read acbook now about "before"-Russian truth and religy and ornaments too. This kinds of simbols are from solar simbols and simbols of good and happyness.
    Thank you foe your story.
    (english is not my native too :) )

  6. Masha, indeed, acient Baltic and Slavic symbols and ornaments have so much in common. Of course, like with language, meanig can change a bit, but in general they do have the same roots.