Outfits >>> Replicas >>> Young Village Womans Everyday Outfit

Baltic/Karelian region (eastern Finland/ western Russia).
900-1000 AD
half-Finnish /half-Lapland
Made by
Martina Mronga, a member of "Live action role playing group" - a reenactment group of the Viking period, Germany.

In this period of time (900-1000 AD), Baltic region (north-eastern Europe plus north-western Russia) was inhabited by several different ethnic groups: Finno-Ugric peoples (Merya, Ves, Karelians, Laplanders, and others - not Finns themselves), northern Slavs (pre-Russians), and Balts (pre-Lithuanians). Lifestyle of all these peoples was similar, because it was determined by climate conditions and natural resources available.

Clothing style of all mentioned peoples was similar also. A wardrobe consisted of same articles, similar in cut, but highly diverse in decoration: jewelry, accessories, arrangement of color details. To be historically accurate, all these were not a decoration in a contemporary meaning of the word. Embroidery patterns, necklaces, belts were, in fact, magic protective symbols, talismans, and signs of a tribe.

The outfit of a young Karelian woman displayed here includes the same items as the most ancient and archaic Slavic costume (a poneva-style one) does. They are:

  • long-sleeved dress (similar to Russian "shirt")
  • an archaic-style skirt, the same with Slavic "poneva raspashnaya" ("non-sewn skirt")
  • an apron
  • a woolen jerkin, similar to Russian "navershnik"
  • a waistband
  • boots
  • jewelry

The "non-sewn skirt" is, actually, three separate pieces of cloth, which are hung on a thin rope. A rope is tied around a woman's waist, so pieces of cloth hang loosely; two of them cover a back side of hips, the front one should be positioned in accordance with local tradition: right in front, or on the side, or somewhere between front and side.

A waistband was thought as a powerful protection from any supernatural harm. Therefore, it should be made by the owner her/himself (or, at least, by a trustworthy person). Materials used for a waistband should have their own inherent magic powers. For this costume, a waistband is made of a piece of fabrics with turquoise and shells. In accordance with Northern beliefs, turquoise possessed divine powers because of its color it was pieces of sky and heaven, obtained far away, near the border between earth and sky. Shells, as a product of the sea, were connected with powers of The Ocean Lord.

Other talismans used for this costume are: amber necklaces, and bronze Thorshammer a sign of a Thunderstorm god named Thor (a brother-deity to Russian Perun and Lithuanian Perkunas).

Leather boots for this costume were bought from a Finnish shoe maker who makes traditional Scandinavian footwear.

Being a Northern clothes, a costume includes such details as a hood, and, of course, a gorgeous scarf-like piece of a polar fox fur.