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Suited for nomadic life, traditional costumes and clothes reflect not only the climatic conditions of Kalmykia but also the history of interaction between the Kalmyks with their neighbours. Unlike other Mongolian groups, the Kalmyks - who have lived in a unique environment among the Russians, Cossacks, and various nationalities of the Caucasus - wear unique hats, boots, and belts decorated with interesting ornaments and designs. Having said this, Kalmyk costumes still display similarity to those of other Mongolian peoples not only in terms of design but materials used such as skin, felt, wool, furs, and textiles. In the past, Kalmyk costumes were class, gender, age and season-specific. The aristocracy, for example, used bright colours and expensive textiles. Their winter coats were often decorated with valuable skin and fur of such animals as sables, beavers, squirrels, lambs, foals, and others. The clothes of ordinary shepherds, by contrast, were simpler and darker in colour.
- ItemOpen AccessZayana Pompaev, Ornaments, dress and colours(Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Documentation Project, University of Cambridge, 2017-07-01) Terbish, Baasanjav; Churyumova, Elvira; Terbish, Baasanjav
- ItemOpen AccessYuriy Sangadzhiev, men's personal implements(Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Documentation Project, University of Cambridge, 2017-10-01) Terbish, Baasanjav; Churyumova, Elvira; Koldaev, Tseren; Koldaev, Tseren
- ItemOpen AccessVitaliy Zaseev, About Kalmyk belts(Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Documentation Project, University of Cambridge, 2017-10-01) Terbish, Baasanjav; Churyumova, Elvira; Terbish, Baasanjav
- ItemOpen AccessPetr Nadbitov, About Kalmyk dress(Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Documentation Project, University of Cambridge, 2017-10-01) Terbish, Baasanjav; Churyumova, Elvira; Koldaev, Tseren; Koldaev, Tseren
- ItemOpen AccessLyubov Khokhlashova, About Kalmyk dress and embroidery(Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Documentation Project, University of Cambridge, 2018-04-01) Terbish, Baasanjav; Churyumova, Elvira; Koldaev, Tseren; Korneev, Gennadiy; Sandzhiev, Artur
- ItemOpen AccessBadma Koldaev, Traditional Kalmyk dress(Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Documentation Project, University of Cambridge, 2018-04-01) Terbish, Baasanjav; Churyumova, Elvira; Koldaev, Tseren; Korneev, Gennadiy; Churyumov, Anton
- ItemOpen AccessAlexei Naranov, How Kalmyks wore earrings, rings and knives(Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Documentation Project, University of Cambridge, 2016-02-01) Terbish, Baasanjav; Gedeeva, Darina; Kovaeva, Bair; Babaev, Andrei
- ItemOpen AccessTseren Badaev, about traditional clothing(Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Documentation Project, University of Cambridge, 2019-05-11) Terbish, Baasanjav; Churyumova, Elvira; Shovunov, Sanal; Kovaeva, Bair; Churyumov, AntonTseren says that in the past Kalmyks made coats and trousers from cow’s or sheep’s skin. Clothing from cow’s skin was of red or black colours whereas those from sheep’s skin were gray or black. Hats were also made from sheep’s skin. Women's hats were black and decorated with patterns. Women also put their braids into shivrlyk bags and wore tokug ornaments.
- ItemOpen AccessSergei Muchiryaev, about Kalmyk clothes(Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Documentation Project, University of Cambridge, 2019-05-12) Terbish, Baasanjav; Churyumova, Elvira; Korneev, Gennadiy; Bembeev, AleksandrSergei says that Kalmyk men have two kinds of clothes: casual and for festivities. Men always wore a hat with a red tassel. This tassel was first introduced by Togon Khan in 1437 so that his soldiers could recognize their own kind on the battlefield. Women wear a terlig robe and put a tsegdeg overcoat on top. There is a legend about the origin of the tsegdeg. Once upon a time the courtiers reported to their khan that his wife had broken the law and that she should be executed. The khan ordered that his queen’s head, arms and legs be cut off. Since no one dared to dismember the queen, the khan ordered that the color and sleeves on her dress be cut off instead. So appeared the tsegdeg overcoat.
- ItemOpen AccessNikolai Khatuev, Kalmyk clothing and hats(Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Documentation Project, University of Cambridge, 2019-05-04) Terbish, Baasanjav; Churyumova, Elvira; Korneev, Gennadiy; Bembeev, Aleksandr; Sandzhiev, ArturNikolai says that in the past the main clothing for both men and women was the beshmet robe. Married women wore the tsegdeg, whereas single women wore the beshmet. Old people also wore the lavshig robe. People of different ages wore different hats. Men wore the astrakhan hat. There was also another hat that covered the back of the head from the wind. People showed respect to their hats. One could not toss it onto the ground, or step over a hat.
- ItemOpen AccessMingiyan Lidzhiev, about traditional clothing(Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Documentation Project, University of Cambridge, 2019-05-05) Terbish, Baasanjav; Churyumova, Elvira; Korneev, Gennadiy; Bembeev, Aleksandr; Sandzhiev, ArturMingiyan reminisces about what old people wore in the 1980s.
- ItemOpen AccessMaya Karueva, Women's Dress(Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Documentation Project, University of Cambridge, 2016-01-20) Terbish, Baasanjav; Churyumova, Elvira; Terbish, Baasanjav; Churyumova, ElviraIn this video, which is shot at the National Museum of Kalmykia, Maya explains about women’s dress: This is a dress of a married woman. This hat is called khalmg. On the top of it is a bundle of red threads. The embroidery on the left-hand side is called turun zeg (a foal’s hoof). The right-hand side of the hat has floral embroidery. This is called shivrlg (a cover for braids). In the past, women did a lot of work both inside and outside their tents. They looked after their children, collected dung (for fuel), fermented milk and wove ropes. So that their braids did not get in their way, women put their braids inside special covers called shivrlg. Married women had two braids, whereas single women had only one. The end of a shivrlg cover has a tokug, which is a metal ornament made from silver or sometimes from gold. A vest that married women wore on top of their dress is called tsegdg, which had a beautiful embroidery. By contrast, single women did not wear tsegdg vests. But they wore a belt. After their wedding, women stopped wearing belts. On the left side of a married woman’s dress was a napkin called bel, on the right side was a small metal ring. Each time a woman gave birth, she would put her baby’s umbilical cord in a small bag and attach it to this ring. The number of such bags was equal to the number of children that the woman had. The sleeves of the terlg dress is called nudrvch. It was also decorated with embroidery. Single women wore a biiz dress and a hat called kamchatka or dzhatag. The embroidery on these hats was made from silver or gold threads. Single women wore an earring on their right ear. After their wedding, women wore earrings on both ears. Small children did not wear dress with embroidery. Girls’ dress was similar to that of single women. People from nobility wore white robes, especially during holidays and celebrations. The color of one’s robe reflected that person’s social status. In the past, parents chose a bride for their sons. Upon entering the tent of a potential bride, the parents tried to learn as much about her as possible: is she a lazy girl or a hard working one? In order to find this out, the parents would put a sheep’s dropping into the girl’s thimble. After some time, they would return to check the thimble out. If it was without the dropping that meant that the girl was hardworking and did sewing. If not, the verdict was that she was lazy. When women grew old (when they became grandmothers), they took off their tsegdg and khalmg, and put on a dress called berz. Underneath this dress, they wore a white shirt and a pair of white trousers. They wore a toortsg hat with a red thread dangling from the top. In the past, the Kalmyks wore long sleeves in order to hide their fingers.
- ItemOpen AccessKsenia Kardonova, About Traditional Clothing(Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Documentation Project, University of Cambridge, 2018-06-06) Terbish, Baasanjav; Churyumova, Elvira; Korneev, Gennadiy; Bembeev, Aleksandr; Bembeev, AleksandrKsenia relays the following story. In the past, girls wore beshmet, while older people wore gowns. My mother used to wear a dress called khuvtsn with wide sleeves similar to dancers’ costumes of today. Kalmyks also wore uch, a sheepskin coat. Such a coat was lined with fabric and inside it had lambskin fur. My mother had a squirrel coat that was lined with reps fabric. When my family was deported to Siberia, my mother put on this coat and wrapped my little sister in it. That is how they survived the journey in the winter. As for hats, Kalmyks wore kamchatka (a hat made from a fabric called ‘kamka’). I did not see this hat myself, but I heard about it from others. My mother had a round hat made from lambskin. There was also a hat called toortsg and a hat called kapelyukh makhla (kapelyukha or ushanka). Again, I saw neither of them myself. There were many kinds of hats among Kalmyks. In those times, there were not many fabrics available, and the basic clothes, including pants, were made from sheepskin. I heard that ordinary people after eating mutton would wipe their hands on these leather pants. Kalmyk women wore berz similar to a Russian sarafan. It was usually made from black satin. Women also wore kamzal, which resembled a jacket or a short coat. With long sleeves, berz was worn under kamzal. Rich Kalmyks wore clothes made from silk or satin, while poor people from sateen. I do not know much about boots. People told me they were made from Russian leather. My mother had boots with shoelaces. In 72 fables (a collection of folk stories) there is a story about a pair of boots that had a fight with each other because their owner wiped his hand only on one of them. Kalmyks often wiped their hands on their boots or pants, which shone because of the grease.
- ItemOpen AccessExhibition: Traditional Clothing(Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Documentation Project, University of Cambridge, 2018-03-31) Terbish, Baasanjav; Terbish, Baasanjav; Churyumov, AntonThis video shows Kalmyk traditional clothing displayed at an exhibition at the National Museum in Elista in April 2015.
- ItemOpen AccessBulgun Lapsina, About the Dress of the Tersk Kalmyks(Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Documentation Project, University of Cambridge, 2018-09-11) Terbish, Baasanjav; Churyumova, Elvira; Korneev, Gennadiy; Churyumov, AntonBulgun says that her father always carried a knife with him, as it was customary. Kalmyk men’s dress resembled that of the Caucasians, with cartridge pockets on the chest.
- ItemOpen AccessAlexandra Sanzheeva, About the Kamzal Corset(Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Documentation Project, University of Cambridge, 2018-11-11) Terbish, Baasanjav; Churyumova, Elvira; Koldaev, Tseren; Korneev, Gennadiy; Bembeev, AleksandrKamzal is like a corset. It was worn by girls from the age of 10. Its purpose was to suppress the girl’s breast. Even after marriage and after giving birth, women continued to wear kamzal. As a result, many Kalmyk women died of tuberculosis because their chests were either developed wrongly or were weak.
- ItemOpen AccessNikolai Ubushaev, Why Does the Kalmyk Hat Have a Red Thread?(2018-03-31) Terbish, Baasanjav; Churyumova, Elvira; Babaev, Andrei; Kovaeva, Bair; Babaev, AndreiNikolai relays that in the past during battles it was difficult to distinguish your side from the enemies. In order to overcome that, the Kalmyks came up with various war calls. For example, during battles the warriors from the Keryad clan shouted ‘Tuula’ and the Tsatans shouted ‘Tuulan tokha’. But this innovation did not solve the problem, since it was impossible to hear who shouted what in the chaos of battles. Then the Kalmyks came up with another solution by attaching a read thread to their hats. Since then the Kalmyks wear their hats, even when drinking tea at home. All Kalmyks, irrespective of their age and gender, have the same red thread on their hats.
- ItemOpen AccessMaya Karueva, Men's Costumes(2018-03-31) Terbish, Baasanjav; Churyumova, Elvira; Terbish, Baasanjav; Churyumova, ElviraMaya says that traditionally men wore a manishka, a chest decoration made from floral embroidery. The embroidery was made from golden or silver thread. On top of it ordinary men wore a dark dress called beshmet. The aristocracy, by contrast, wore white beshmets. All men had a belt around their waist with various things attached to it, including a knife, a leather bag containing a tobacco pipe, a whip etc. The men’s hat, toortsg, was decorated with a red thread at the top. In the video Maya shows a coat called uch made from foal’s skin, covered with a fabric. It is warm, soft and comfortable. Devl is a Kalmyk winter coat made from sheep’s skin. It is long and has a wide collar to protect the neck from the cold. When the Kalmyks were sent to Siberia, her grandmother, Maya recalls, used to make Kalmyk devl for the local people.
- ItemOpen AccessMaria Erdnieva, About Women's Dress(2018-03-31) Terbish, Baasanjav; Churyumova, Elvira; Terbish, Baasanjav; Gedeeva, Darina; Babaev, AndreiMaria talks about Kalmyk women's dresses. Darina: Did your mother wear a traditional dress? Maria: Yes, she did. In our family three elderly women wore traditional dresses, including my grandmother, her younger sister, and my mother. They wore it until recently. D: Do you know the names of traditional dresses and their parts in Kalmyk? M: No, I do not, a girl sewed dresses for my grandmother. Our women wore hats without a red thread at top though. They also wore shivrlyk on their plaits. D: What did she (your grandmother) do with her tokug? M: When my grandmother was alive, she gave one of her silver tokug to me and the other one to her second daughter. From that tokug I made a pair of silver earrings. My mother did not wear tokug, only shivrlyk. My grandmother also wore shivrlyk. There is a song: ‘A girl with golden tokugs, a girl with golden tokugs/ When I see her my heart beats faster’.
- ItemOpen AccessLarisa Shoglyaeva, Kalmyk Dress(2018-03-31) Terbish, Baasanjav; Terbish, Baasanjav; Churyumov, Anton; Okonova, Altana; Babaev, AndreiLarisa recounts that when the Kalmyks returned to Kalmykia from Siberia, in Iki-Chonos where she lived many people wore traditional dresses. There were two kinds of dress, one for everyday use and the other to wear during holidays. An everyday dress was made from chintz. Berz, a married woman’s dress, was a long dress with its back made from a thick fabric to keep that part warm. A winter berz was made from warm materials such as wool and fur. Larisa’s mother had three dresses for everyday use that had a standing collar. However, she had none to wear during holidays. In the past, buttons were all hand-made, and the metal that was used was silver or gold. The front of a smart dress was decorated with embroidery resembling steppe grass, flowers, the sun, the moon etc. Larisa’s mother had several tokugs and wore shivrlyk around her plait. Made from a black fabric, velvet or satin, her shivrlyks were attached to a hat with a button. Traditional hats were colorful: the front was blue, the top either green, blue or multicolored. They were also different from modern stylized hats. Traditional dresses did not have waist or belt. On the right side where the waist would be, hung a napkin. In the past, girls made their wedding dresses themselves. Girls or single women wore long dresses with beautiful belts decorated with various ornaments. A girl’s skill was judged by the dress she wore. If a woman had two plaits, it was a sign that she was married. Only single women had a single plait. In the past, people made clothing themselves, including boots and shoes. Boots were made from goat pelt that shone when people danced. Goat’s wool was considered soft, but that of cows – rough. Girls and women did not wear trousers. Galina says that today in the local temple in Orgakin village where she lives, women and girls are not allowed into the temple wearing trousers. She thinks that, by wearing trousers and looking like men, women stop respecting them. In the past men wore only wide trousers. Larisa recounts a story about her husband’s uncle whose trousers were always stained with grease and fat. After eating, the uncle would clean his hands by rubbing them on his trousers, because according to him by washing their hands people also washed away their luck. In the past, men also always wore hats and carried a knife on their belts. Every-day clothing was dark colored, whereas celebratory clothing had a part called manishka with embroidery at the level of the chest. Boys wore shirts. When in Siberia, Kalmyks sewed fur coats and cotton trousers. Old people wore traditional clothes. Larisa also recalls that she felt ashamed that her mother wore traditional dress and asked her not to do so. Now she thinks that she was ignorant of Kalmyk culture.