Traditional costume in the University's history

Traditional costume in the University’s history

This year has been announced as the Year of Language Culture and Traditional Costume. Language and traditional costume are the identification marks of each nation that have to be understood, cherished and preserved by the people. Occupation and ideological abuse hurt the memory of the Lithuanian nation and caused the problems of identity. The nation has historical relation with its native land. Knowledge of the history and national marks motivates creativity, facilitates understanding of the meaning of life and helps to feel your self-worth; therefore, KTU Museum organised a virtual exhibition “Traditional Costume in the University’s History” for the year of the Traditional Costume. The exhibition consists of 4 parts: 3 of them reflect various historical periods: inter-war, soviet occupation and restored state; the works of the students of textile of Kaunas Polytechnic Institute are displayed as a separate part; they are stored at KTU Museum.

Traditional costume and students, 1922-1940.

Traditional costumes were worn by the members of academic choir established in 1924, and choir of the Ateitis Association, as well as members of some student corporations at the University of Lithuania (from 1930 – Vytautas Magnus University). At the time the understanding of the traditional costume was still amateur, however, in a few years the Lithuanian press provided many articles explaining the subtleties of the traditional costumes of the Lithuanian ethnographic regions and people were encouraged to wear traditional costumes. Virtual exhibition provides quite a few copies of unpublished digital photographs from the Baltic Festival of Folk Culture in Tallinn, on 19-20 June, 1926 with a present delegation of the Lithuanian youth wearing traditional costumes and led by the director of the National Theatre Liudas Gira. Lithuanian delegation of 200 persons including many students of the University of Lithuania participated in the joint festive procession with the youth delegations from Estonia, Finland, Sweden and Denmark. Formal opening of the event took place in the large stadium, followed by a 2-day festival of national culture with dances, songs and games. Original photographs are stored at KTU Library.

Traditional costume during the years of the Soviet occupation

Traditional costume played a special role during the period of the Soviet occupation; it became the form for preservation of the national identity and the sign of the resistance against cultural oppression. Traditional costumes were worn by the exiled Lithuanians in Siberia and members of the Song Festivals. During the concerts at Vytautas Magnus University, traditional costumes were worn by the members of the academic choir and ensemble of dances and songs that was titled “Nemunas” in 1963. Virtual exhibition presents the photographs of the graduate of Kaunas Polytechnic Institute Konstantinas Sasnauskas. The photographs of the fragments of the rehearsals of KPI ensemble of folk songs and dances in 1956 are displayed for the first time.

Works of KPI students of the topic of the traditional costume

Architect and Doctor of Science in history of art assoc. prof. Marija Matušakaitė worked at the Department of Leather and Textile Product Technology of KPI Faculty of Light Industry in 1963-1983. She paid particular attention to the artistic and cultural heritage of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. She taught students about the history and composition of the costume. After retiring, M. Matušakaitė devoted her life to the scientific activities and published 9 science monographs. She was awarded the National Prize for Culture and Art for these works. Virtual exhibition displays the fragments of the thesis of R. Pociūnaitė and J. Jasiulionytė, students of the LS-0 group of the Department of Leather and Textile Product Technology of KPI Faculty of Light Industry “KPI student ensemble of folk songs and dances “Nemunas”. Stage costumes” (1974). Supervisor – assoc. prof. M. Matušakaitė.

Traditional costumes of KTU art societies

3 KTU art societies wear traditional costumes during the performances and events: folk art ensemble “Nemunas”, academic choir “Jaunystė” and folk ensemble “Goštauta”. Traditional costumers of the team of “Nemunas” are made by the designer of traditional costume Gertrūda Kliučinskienė. Members of “Goštauta” ensemble made their costumes individually, depending on the ethnographic region of their origin. Virtual exhibition displays the digital copies of the photographs capturing the moments of KTU art societies during concerts, events and trips. (photographs by R. Misiukonis, J. Klėmanas and R. Žaltauskas).