From the “Mount Parnon and Moustos Wetland Management Agency, 2015. Guide for the protected area of Mount Parnon and Moustos Wetland. Nature, Culture, Ecotourism. Astros of Arcadia “.
In Leonidio, the pioneer of weaving was Polyxeni Dounia, the genus Lyonta (1841-1911), wife of Theodoros Ioannis Dounias (1822-1901), who had learned the art in Aydin, Asia Minor, and developed it when she went to Leonidio. In her workshop, which had four looms, she employed more than 20 workers. In 1890 in the church of Agia Sophia in Piraeus, a rug of Dounia of 60 okades (Kakauzos) was laid.
In 1897, a second workshop was founded by Marigo Merikaki, which maintained it until 1924, promoting the art on the artist yacht by introducing new designs and colors. Merikaki was awarded gold and silver medals at the international exhibitions in Athens, Liege and Paris. At the Athens exhibition, a rug was erected and awarded, representing a scene from the naval battle of Trafalgar (1805) when Admiral Nelson falls wounded in the arms of his officers. Her son, later mayor of Leonidio, doctor, Stylianos Spyr, also wove in the textile factory of Merikakaina. Merikakis. The above were followed by many who tried to save and develop even more this Tsakonian handicraft.
The completely special feature of the Tsakonian textile is that one-piece carpets of any size are made, which have on both surfaces the same 1 2 3 4 5 6th THE TSAKONIKI TEXTILE 263 face. For the weaving, upright looms are used and no shuttle is used, but they are woven with the fingers and the threads are beaten with the comb so that the result is percussive and solid. The subtlety of this art, the symmetry of the designs, the unimaginable solidity and the harmony of the colors are especially admired. The loom was a wooden construction consisting of warps, shuttle, scallop.
The most sought after designs are: Tsouchlou, American, Arbor, Tiles, Hands, Byzantine, Perforated, Rays, Disk, Pansy (door).
Tsakonian rugs are laid in many churches on a daily basis, but the most beautiful are laid in the churches during the holidays, Christmas, New Year, Easter, August 15, the festivals and the feasts of the saints to whom the churches are dedicated. The decoration could be done with embroidery on the loom, it was tedious, time consuming and expensive. It concerns more the luxury fabrics and not everyday use. There were various variations, color, decorative, quality and they reflected the social stratification and the clothing trends.
Types and designs of Tsakonian carpets:
1. Thick tile, thin tile: It is very common in the area, but more thin tile, when it comes to more formal use, such as in living rooms, churches or elsewhere. –
2. Persian: Old design, obviously with oriental roots. –
3. The sun: Old design, considered a formal rug, suitable for halls and living rooms. –
4. The disc: Very old Tsakonian carpet design. –
5. Rays: Newer design, after 1950. –
6. American: Old design, before 1950. –
7. Hand: One of the oldest and most widespread and characteristic Tsakonian design. It is found in several variants (the rhombus is older). –
8. First shadow: Newer design, after 1950. –
9. Star: Old design, before 1950. –
10. Saw: Very old design, from Geraki, Laconia. –
11. Arbor: Or “Bouquets”. Very old design, for large carpets, suitable for churches. –
12. Bow: Very old design, suitable for living room rugs.