Gallery: Pärnu Museum hosts major exhibition on 'Muhu mänd' in textile art

The Pärnu Museum of New Art (MoNA) is having an exhibition titled "The Lucky Star" that features handicraft items with octagon-shaped ornament from all around the world. Two-hundred-year-old bridal rugs from Estonia are on display alongside the works of contemporary textile masters.

The exhibition's curator, Mark Soosaar, said that the people of the Estonian island Muhu believe their ancestors invented the octagon star decoration ornament, which they dubbed "Muhu mänd" (Muhu pine), likely after the shape of a pinewood beetle (vegetable masher). They believed it to be a symbol of good fortune that had later spread throughout the world.

The curator said, however, that this ornament was crafted concurrently in many countries and the eight-pointed star, or the "Muhu mänd," is a symbol of good fortune in many cultures around the world.

This should be a field of study for art scholars, as it would be interesting to know how has octagon star reached almost all the nations of the world and weather it indeed has brought some luck, he said. Latvians call it the Dawn Star (Rita Zvaigzne), Ukrainians call it the Christmas Star (zirka), Moroccans the Ritual Star, the curator explained.

Soosaar has collected items from many countries for this exhibition. On display are rugs from Siberia to Latin America; the oldest bridal carpets in Estonia date back two centuries.

Kera Mari and Kera Kata, two sisters born in the second half of the 19th century, were legendary Estonian weavers. Their blankets are now more than a century old. The exhibition also features contemporary textile masters Anu Raud, Malle Antson, Ene Pars and Christi Kütt, as well as the work of young handicrafters.

"The big star cut out of red mahogany next to the Moroccan carpet in the Moroccan Prime Minister's office is definitely missing here," Soosaar added.

Furthermore, the exhibition at Pärnu's MoNA is similar to a theater production, where the story of "Muhu mänd" literally is taking shape in time. Along with exhibits from Finland, Sweden, Morocco, Guatemala, Armenia, and Udmurtia, eight exhibits from Latvia, Land, Ukraine and Poland will be added in succession.

"The Lucky Star" is open at MoNA in Pärnu until February 5.

"Weaver (self portrait)" by Malle Antson, 1980. Source: Marie Virta


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Editor: Kristina Kersa

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