|Area:||9,251 sq km|
|Coastline:||648 sq km|
Home > > Traditional Hand Crafts
The lace industry of Cyprus should need no further advertisement than a simple statement of the fact that Leonardo Da Vinci visited the island to purchase lace for the Milan Cathedral.
However, lace is only one aspect of the many-faceted tradition in local craftsmanship which includes colourful homespun linen, thatched chairs, painted gourds, worked silverware, pottery and intricate crochet.
A centre has now been established in Nicosia to act as a showpiece for the Handicrafts Authority and provide training. At the same time, incentives have been provided to village communities in Cyprus to build up cottage industries. Especially successful has been the revival of lace in Athienou, Kornos and Kilani, and pottery in Kornos, Phini and Ayios Dimitrios. The Authority has also trained refugee craftswomen to ensure that their inherited skills - such as the weaving of Lefkoniko linens - do not become extinct.
Yemeni was widely worn by Turkish Cypriot women, symbolising richness. The material for Yemeni was made at home by using thin cotton thread and was finely decorated with pretty symbols of flowers, leaves, and branches. The edges were sown with various motifs.
This is one of the most important handicrafts of Cyprus . The linen that is to be worked on is first tied and stretched on a pillow. Different techniques like cutting out and sewing in shapes are used to decorate the final product. After the motifs are completed, an arch is sewen all around the lace. In the past, they were mainly made for personal use. Currently, they are produced mainly for economical purposes, and are sold to the tourists.
Hesap works were produced both for economical and personal use. This name is given to these works because while decorating them with different motifs, each strand is counted one by one.
One of the most widely used handcrafts in Cyprus was the use of silkworm cocoons. After carefully removing the silkworm, the holeless cocoon was used in either picture works or for decorating dresses. Pictures were worked on white, black, or claret red colored Japanese linen.
Thin branches of plants are cut into thin ribbons in different ways. Mesarya and Karpaz are the two main regions where plant knitting is practiced.
Beautiful and interesting kilim weaving is done in the villages in the Karpas peninsula. Besides the boldly patterned kilim rugs, and carpets, there are embroidered rugs called `cicim` and rugs of Angora goat hair. Copper and brass-ware, coffee pots, candlesticks, hand-painted pottery, silver jewellery, and many more.
for a famous Cypriot pastime game of backgammon.
In Northern Cyprus the plaiting of wheat, corn, and reeds into interesting shapes and designs is very common. The plaiting of reeds in Serdarli village is especially famous, and the designs show the sensitivity, ability, talent and the humanity of the weaver.
Higher up in the Troodos mountains the village of Phini is the heart of the island's pottery industry. The village owes its name to the 'pitharia' (giant earthenware jars) used in the past to store and transport wine. The soils in the area have been dug up for centuries by the villagers of Phini who produced 'pitharia' on the spot before transporting them to other areas. Phini is also famous for its intricately sculptured small clay vases of a distinctive red hue. These are hand made without the help even of a potter's wheel and used mainly for decoration.
Hand-carved wooden chests are another heritage which once graced most Cypriot homes, and they remain an important aspect of local handicraft industry. Decorated with geometric patterns, floral designs and stylized animal and human figures, the chest was usually made of walnut. Decorative shelves, known as 'souvantzes', often painted in red, blue and green, are another typical Cypriot product which has survived through the ages.