"Da Vinci" lace seeks a new lease in Cyprus

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PANO LEFKARA, Cyprus (Reuters Life!) – An ancient Cypriot craft reputed to feature in Leonardo da Vinci's painting of "The Last Supper" is getting a new lease of life.

Lefkaritiko lacemaking, an intricate form of needlework passed down from generation to generation is expected to be declared a heritage item by UNESCO, the United Nations agency responsible for the protection and promotion of culture.

"This particular lacemaking is passed on from mother to daughter, and the young girls start to learn from six, seven years old, even before they go to school. It's unique," says Andreas Soseilos, Mayor of Pano Lefkara, a hamlet nestled in mountains some 50 km (31 miles) southwest of Nicosia, Cyprus's capital.

Following a 500-year-old tradition, women of this 1,100 strong community still sit in doorways shaded with lush bougainvillea along narrow streets, nimbly working pieces of beige Irish linen with deft strokes of a needle and single thread.

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