Latvian Symbols in Art and Architecture
Latvia has a rich cultural heritage of meaningful symbols that are prevalent in their art and architecture. The Latvian wooden houses incorporate a lot of detail in the wood trim. And much of this detail can be traced to symbols that have roots in the Pagan origins of the Latvian culture.
Author Dan Brown brought the study of symbols to the popular culture in his mega-bestseller, The daVinci Code. The intrepid “symbologist,” Professor Robert Langdon. Followed a trail of ancient symbols to undo the dirty deeds of the bad guys. These were Christian symbols. Latvia is a Christian nation, but the history of Latvia can be traced back to their Baltic origins in 4,000 to 2,000 BC. At that time, religion centered around rituals honoring Mother Earth and the mysteries of the natural world which surrounded and sustained human life.
Latvian Symbols Link the Present to the Past and to the Cultural History
Many Latvian symbols, often abstracted shapes directly representing some aspect of nature, are key elements in Latvian decoration. There are symbols for the sun, moon, heaven, waves, serpents, and more. And these symbols carry meaning. For instance, the twin-peaked Sign of Jumis represents a double-spiked stalk of grain and symbolizes fertility and prosperity. The Sign of Zalktis, a serpent, is the guardian of wealth and well-being and is prevalent on women’s clothing and jewelry.
Fortunately, even during the oppressive Soviet and Nazi occupations, this wonderful and important heritage of Latvian culture has been retained. You see many of these symbols in Latvian jewelry, clothing, and in the decorated architecture of the houses and public buildings. We’ll be using symbols that are meaningful to my clients’ family in the design of their new home.
This is the fifth entry in the Latvia project portion of the blog. Read the others by clicking on the following:
- The Traveling Architecture of Latvia
- Peteris Blum and the Wooden Architecture of Latvia
- Mezaparks in Riga, Latvia
- Modernist Houses in Historic Neighborhoods
I hope this information is helpful to you. You might want to get yourself a copy of my best-seller, Designing Your Perfect House. It is chockfull of valuable tips and advice that will save you many times the cost of the book on your house building or remodeling project. You might also like The Well-Centered Home: Simple Steps to Increase Mindfulness, Self-Awareness, and Happiness Where You Live. It will show you how to make your home a happy place.