Maya Karueva, Women's Dress
Kalmyk Cultural Heritage Documentation Project, University of Cambridge
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Terbish, B., & Churyumova, E. (2016). Maya Karueva, Women's Dress [Video file]. https://doi.org/10.17863/CAM.42522
In 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.
Sponsored by Arcadia Fund, a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin
This record's DOI: https://doi.org/10.17863/CAM.42522