Zadar and Northern Dalmatia Feature
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There was a time when paske cipke was passed off abroad as Greek, Austrian, or Italian. Those days are long over. Today an officially recognized "authentic Croatian product" that is sometimes called "white gold," Pag lace is the iconic souvenir to take home with you from a visit to Pag Island—unless you are confident that a hulking block of Pag cheese won't spoil. An integral component of the colorful folk costumes locals wear during festivals, this celebrated white lace is featured most saliently as the huge peaked head ornament ladies don on such occasions, which resembles a fastidiously folded, ultrastarched white cloth napkin.
Originating in the ancient Greek city of Mycenae, the Pag lace-making tradition endured for centuries before being popularized far and wide as a Pag product beginning in the late-19th century. A lace-making school was founded in Pag Town in 1906, drawing orders from royalty from distant lands. In 1938 Pag lace makers participated in the world exhibition in New York.
Pag lace differs from other types of lace in two key respects: a thin thread and exceptional durability. Using an ordinary mending needle against a solid background, and usually proceeding without a plan, the maker begins by creating a circle within which she (or he) makes tiny holes close together; the thread is then pulled through them. The completed lace has a starched quality and can even be washed without losing its firmness. It is best presented on a dark background and framed.
Since the process is painstaking, Pag lace is not cheap: a typical small piece of around 20 centimeters in diameter costs at least 200 Kn from a maker or perhaps double that from a shop. You needn't venture farther than the main square and surrounding narrow streets of Pag Town to find a seller—whether an old lady or an equally enthusiastic child. Of course, you can also try Pag Town's very own Galerija Paske Cipke, open mid-June through mid-September, daily 9-1, or else any of several local shops that you are certain to encounter near the main square in Pag Town. Trg Krajla Petra Kresimira IV, Pag Town. No phone. Free.
In Zadar, try Studio Lik. Don Ive Prodana 7, Pag. 023/317-766.
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