Alesya Kalmykova, Traditional Dress
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Terbish, B., & Churyumova, E. (2018). Alesya Kalmykova, Traditional Dress [Video file]. https://doi.org/10.17863/CAM.23854
Alesya is engaged in the reconstruction of Kalmyk costumes based on the works by Irodion Zhitetskiy and Uryubdzhur Erdniev. She says that there is practically no research done on early costumes pertaining to the period when the Kalmyks arrived in the Volga region. Traditionally, children did not have special ‘children’s clothing’, but wore the shirts of their older relatives. Both children and grown-ups wore belts. A belt could be worn at three levels. If it was worn at the level of one’s waist, this symbolized that the wearer belonged to the world of the living. A belt worn below the waist meant that the wearer belonged to the underground world. If worn between the waist and the chest, this symbolized one’s belonging to the upper world. Children, men and single women wore their belts at the level of the waist. Married women did not wear belts at all. False shirt-fronts called manishka had golden embroidery and simple buttons. Underneath manishka both men and women wore white shirts and trousers. Men wore leather belts with metal ornaments. After 40 they gave it to their eldest son. On the right side of the belt men carried a tobacco pouch, a knife and a whip attached. Made both by Kalmyk and non-Kalmyk craftsmen, Kalmyk belts resembled Caucasian ones. Women also wore belts. On the left-hand side, they carried a pouch (for candies or coins) and a napkin hung on a hook. Older women carried tobacco pipes. During holidays girls decorated their hair with ornaments, coins or shell. Girls’ belts were also decorated with coins and shell. Girls’ hats were called kamchatka and dzhatag. Men’s hats were called khadzhilga and makhla. All Kalmyk hats had a red tassel, although sometimes it was represented by a red cross or a red button on top. Comfortable for riding but not so for walking, Kalmyk boots were made from red or black leather. With time, Kalmyk boots were replaced with Russian ones. Resembling costumes of the Oirats in China, Kalmyk dresses of married women differed from those worn by girls or single women. Married women wore a shirt, a dress (terlg), and a sleeveless jacket (tsegdg). It is a general observation that in many cultures women’s dresses change at a slower rate than that of men. After their weddings, Kalmyk women wore a khalmg hat, which consists of two parts – one part symbolises her natal family and the other her husband’s clan. In general, Kalmyk women wore this type of hat as long as they were fertile. Married women had two braids (symbolising her natal family and that of her husband) that they put into special covers (shivrlg). Poor women’s shivrlg was made from any black cloth. A shivrlg cover had a metal triangle ornament (tokug) attached to its end, which served as an amulet. There was a belief that married women connected not only two clans (her natal and that of her husband) but two worlds, the sky and the underworld. The fact that a married woman did not wear a belt not only hid her pregnancy but also protected her from jealous eyes and tongues. In winter women wore a warm dress called terlg. They also made their jackets warm by stuffing them with wool. Dakha is a winter coat made from lamb skin. In winter hats and dresses were also made warm by adding a layer of felt or wool. At their sons’ weddings Kalmyk mothers wear white trousers with a black fur attached between the legs which symbolizes fertility. Kalmyk dresses had long sleeves to cover the hands. The following stones were used in women’s earrings: red coral, white agate or turquoise. Before their marriage girls wore a single earring, and after their marriage two earrings. The main metal used in ornaments was silver.
Dress, costumes, symbolism, belts, hats, boots, earrings, wedding
Sponsored by Arcadia Fund, a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin.
This record's DOI: https://doi.org/10.17863/CAM.23854
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)
Licence URL: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/