Outfits >>> Replicas >>> Belorussian Girl's Outfit
Mogilev region, Cherikov district.
Age group of a wearer:
15-20 years old.
Made by
Irina Zhoukova.

The original of this work belongs to a collection of Russia State Museum of Ethnography (Saint-Petersburg). We made an exact copy of the cut and style of an authentic outfit, but used new fabrics, for sure.

The outfit consists of:

  1. a shirt with heavily embroidered sleeves and a turned-down collar
  2. a garset - a kind of a vest
  3. an apron
Originally, a shirt was made from home-woven linen, whereas mill-made cotton was applied for a vest and an apron. To display the difference in cloth between a shirt and an apron, we used different tones of white: creamy-white for a shirt, and snowy-white for an apron.

There was no waistband with an authentic costume. We don't know why, but we guess that ties of an apron substituted a belt, and carried out its magical role.

Embroidery embellished shirt's shoulders, sleeves and hemline was copied precisely from the museum original. Being important from a ritual point of view, paliki (shoulder details) and a hemline are embroidered with ancient "magical" symbols. At the same time, a sleeve's body is covered with a decorative design, which demonstrates a wearer's proficiency as an embroiderer.

Needlepoint decorated paliki is made using an ancient technique named nabor (weaving stitch). There are two symbols drawn by thin white lines on a red base: Krada (a sacred fire, actually - a sacrifice to male gods of a Slavic pagan pantheon), and Horned Mothers. So, the whole composition means "Harmony and unity of male and female energies".

Horned Mothers
(the arrow points to a stylized image of the Daughter.)
(this is another version of the same pattern, founded in another region. Symbols are shown more clearly here; Mothers are in white).

A hemline pattern is made using nabor also. There are two possible translations of this pattern.

1) Another version of "Harmony of male and female energies". A diamond ("a seeded grain field") symbolizes Mother Earth and motherhood. By sides of a diamond, there are slightly distorted Kradas (a male symbol, as we know now).
2) Or, if we take into account a waved line on the top of the design ("the Heavenly Ocean", a source of rain, according to Indo-European myths), then we can interpret this pattern as "Blessing of seven elements". A diamond for Earth, a waved line for Water. White color for Air and Spirit, red color for Fire and Matter. Signs by sides of a diamond can be read here as distorted framework of a house (a symbol of protection made by the people instead of the gods) - a pagan sign for Intelligence.
(deciphering of embroidered talismans, more info).

A pattern of a sleeve's body is a decorative one. It has no any magical power. This fact is confirmed by a technique used (cross stitching). As Kapitolina A. Kozoulina (a keeper of tradition of Mologa region) told us, "To retain their powers, magical patterns should be made using an ancient nabor technique. Cross stitch is for profane pictures only".