Kashubian Embroidery

Kashubians have been well-known for their embroidery work for many generations. The unique Kashubian embroidery design is typically a floral pattern, most often comprised of sea stars, roses, tulips, pansies, cornflower, blue-bells, carnations, lilies, and forget-me-nots.

Examples of shapes used in Kashubian Embroidery

Example of Kashubian embroidery

Seven different colors are used in Kashubian embroidery, each representing nature in the Kashubian region:

  • Dark Blue represents the Baltic Sea
  • Medium blue represents the color of the Kashubian lakes
  • Light blue depicts the sky over Kashubia 
  • Yellow represents the sun and wheat in the fields 
  • Green represents the rich forests
  • Red symbolizes the heart and love, as well as the blood that Kashubians were willing to shed for their land
  • Black symbolizes the earth

The tradition of Kashubian embroidery was started by the Norbertine nuns in Żukowo around 1209. Initially, the sisters embroidered motifs in one color, decorated with silver or gold threads and they primarily embroidered bonnets and vestments. The nuns also taught peasants’ daughters the art. The convent closed in 1834 but the women they taught continued to pass the tradition to their daughters and eventually, the Zukowo school of embroidery was formed. 

There were schools and centers of embroidery in Żuków, Wdzydze, Puck, Wejherów, Tuchola, Słupsk and Bytów. Each of them had a different color scheme, and particular schools can be recognized on the basis of the designs used. One thing that varies according to region is the proportion of colors:

  • More blue is used in northern Kashubia
  • In central Kashubia, green, yellow and red are used more
  • In the southern part, the dominant color is green

Kashubian dishes that have the embroidery patterns

PGS-MN Newsletter Article about Kashubian Embroidery

newsletter issuepagetitle/Author
Summer 202313Following the Thread: Exploring the Origin of Kashubian Embroidery
by Nicole Foss

Other Articles about Kashubian Embroidery

Kashubian Patterns
Kashubian Embroidery – Symbolism and History

Something to Ponder About
Pictures of Kashubian Embroidery

Book about Kashubian Embroidery

Book can be obtained through the Wilno Heritage Society