Kashubian embroidery

Norbertine Nuns from the convent in Żuków began to teach embroidery in the 18th and 19th Centuries. Young ladies from noble, burgher and rich peasant’s families most often took the lessons. With the passage of time in Kashubia new centres of teaching the art of embroidery were established. One of them was located in Wdzydze Kiszewskie, where the Gulgowski family maintained the embroidery tradition for many years.

All the colours and shapes in Kashubian embroidery are precisely matched. Seven colours used in embroidery have their own symbolic meaning and value for each Kashubian. Yellow represents the beautiful Sun, fields covered with crops, and sand from the beaches at the seaside, and amber. Green mostly denotes meadows and forests, brown is fertile soils, and the three shades of blue are the sea, lakes and rivers, as well as the beautiful clear sky over Kashubia. The embroidery also includes red, meaning the blood shed in defence of the homeland.


In the Zukowo school of Kashubian embroidery the colour rules of particular elements are strictly obeyed. There is a special canon of colours which precisely defines what colour must be used for particular decorations. The most common elements embroidered on tablecloths are roses, tulips – which come in more than ten shapes – cloves, pansies, butterflies, pomergranates and hearts.

The schools of embroidery in Żuków and Wdzydze were not the only ones – embroidery centres were also created in Puck, Wejherów, Tuchola, Słupsk and Bytów. Each of them had a different colour scheme, and particular schools can be recognised on the basis of particular ornamentations used in embroidery.

Now in nearly every shop with souvenirs it is possible to buy table linen with typical Kashubian embroidery.

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