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Alesya Kalmykova, Traditional Ornaments

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Churyumov, Anton 


Alesya says that Kalmyk ornaments could be of various shapes and styles, including geometrical, zoomorphic, floral, astral and alphabetic. Geometrical shapes are the oldest among them and are usually used in traditional dress. Zoomorphic ornaments are used on utensils and furniture. Alphabetic and astral ornaments – on belts. The oldest Kalmyk ornament is called zeg, which can be characterized as a geometrical ornament. It has various forms, including circular, half-circular, square, T-shaped, and pentahedral. Traditionally zeg is not used on men’s dress, but only on women’s or girl’s dresses. Zeg can be also used on pillows. Zeg ornaments are known among the Khakassians and Altaians who use the so-called lineal zeg. In contrast, Kalmyks zeg has more varieties and shapes. Women’s terlg (a long robe with wide sleeves narrowing towards the wrists) is decorated with golden embroidery that resembled Russian embroidery both in terms of technology and shapes. Kalmyk women’s hats consist of two parts: one part is decorated with zeg and the other with a golden embroidery. In this video Alesya shows a pouch with circular zeg ornaments and a terlg that belonged to a wealthy Kalmyk woman. The cords of the zeg in the terlg are made from silk of various colors. In the past less wealthy Kalmyks used woollen zeg that were less colorful.




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Sponsored by Arcadia Fund, a charitable fund of Lisbet Rausing and Peter Baldwin.