On 20 April 2023 the Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Tallinn and the Chief Ambassador of Poland in Estonia, Grzegorz Kosłowski bestowed upon Kristi Viiding, leading research fellow at the Under and Tuglas Literature Centre the award of the Polish Republic`s Embassy in Estonia – the Maria jabot.
The award was established by the Polish Republic`s Embassy in Estonia in 2018, on the 100th anniversary of Estonian independence and Polish independence. The jabot recognises a woman who has been committed to developing relations between Estonia and Poland and who, in the spirit of Maria Kruszewska-Laidoner, has introduced Polish culture and historical heritage to Estonia. The goal of the ambassador is to recognise 100 outstanding Estonian women with the jabot.
For a long time, Kristi Viiding`s research focus has been Livonian printed literature and legal history during the Polish period. With her colleagues she has published a collection of poetry by David Hilchen, Livonia`s leading legal scholar and humanist, entitled Sub velis poeticis. Lateinische Gedichte and his voluminous correspondence in Latin from 1577-1610, under the title Briefe, Recht und Gericht im polnischen Livland am Beispiel von David Hilchen (Letters, Law and Courts in Polish Livonia based on the example of David Hilchen). Similarly focused on the Polish period in Livonia is the research project led by Kristi Viiding, with the title of The Zenith of Humanism: the legacy of David Hilchen`s correspondence as a source for linguistic, literary, legal and educational history.
The design of the jabot award is restored from an archival photograph of Maria and Johan Laidoner, and it was made by Polish lace artist and actress Monika Paśnik-Petryczenko. Maria Kruszewska-Laidoner (1888-1978) was Polish, and the wife of General Johan Laidoner, acting as Estonia`s first lady prior to World War II. The jabot was a constant element in her style of dress. During the years of occupation, she wore a white jabot with blue and black clothing, thus signalling the colours of the flag of the Estonian Republic.