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Ekaterina Zhuzhaeva, Kalmyk Dress

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Terbish, Baasanjav 


Ekaterina recounts the following. In the past girls dressed up in many ways. In particular well-off girls liked to wear a dress with ornaments. On holidays girls wore a beautiful dress, earrings, shivrlyk (hair cover) and tokug (metal ornaments attached to the end of one’s hair covers). Before getting married, I had spent around 5 months in another sovkhoz. Then we were sent to Siberia. One day when I got home accompanied by my friends, I saw my mother and sister sew a wedding dress with beautiful ornaments under a kerosene lamp. It was a simple dress, with buttons at the back. At the front were zeg ornaments with silk thread sewn in circles. I wore it at my wedding. Modern Kalmyk dress is very different. In the past dress was not as beautiful as it is today. Had it not been for the exile and life in Siberia, we would have known more. I do not know much about dress of the past. In my childhood I knew nothing, I only knew that my mother wore a dress. She wore a tsegdg without sleeves. She did not wear a shivrlyk (hair cover). She braided her hair. Single women braided their hair into two and decorated it with ribbons. They also wore thin belts with thread and ribbons. During holidays men wore trousers and shirts with zeg ornaments. People who could afford it, wore leather boots that shone when they danced. We had a neighbor, a Derbet guy, who made leather boots from various materials.



Dress, ornaments, wedding, hair cover, boots

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