"Kerzhaky" of Altay were descendants of Russian Old Believers (refuges who moved to Altay region in 1600's-1700's to protect themselves and their religion from government and state church oppression).
A design of man's shirt is very ancient. Speaking of fashion and symbolism of a clothes, Russian people were conservative in their tastes : "everything must be done as ancestors did". They thought about clothes as "the second skin" (actually, a part of a body), as the first sign to spirits of ancestors : "He/she is from your family, so, protect him/her". However, a material of costumes varied significantly from time to time, depending on what kind of cloth was available in certain period of time. Mainly, people sewed costumes from home-woven cloth. At late 1800's they started to use textile mill-made fabrics.
This particular shirt can be defined as from the second part of 1800's, because the trim on a shirt looks obviously manufactory-made (and textile mills appeared in Russia at this time only).
This shirt is dark-blue. Such a color choice points to:
A wrist/neck/bottom edges decorated with red stripes
("fire" line) and coloured trim. In addition, each seam was covered with red or colored bands. Lastovicy" (an armpit details of a shirt) were red also.
- the age group of a wearer (50-70 years old, "seniors")
- a head-of-a-family status. A person could be 25-30 years old, but if he was the last adult man in a family, he supposed to wear dark-blue as a sign of his status and responsibilities.
The upper part of a shirt was made with a lining. A lining could be made of different materials : from home-woven rough-textured cloth, to pieces of expensive textile mill-made fabrics (in later times).
A shirt's decoration is very limited. This shirt is not an attractive
bachelor's outfit, it is a costume of a respectable married man.
Sources (in Russian)
- O.A.Savelieva, O.I.Vychristuk, T.O.Teodorovitch "The Costume of Russian Old-Believers from Altay Region"
- E.F.Fursova, "Òtraditional Costume of Upper Ob' Region"
- "Men and Women (male and female roles and parts in traditional Russian culture)" (encyclopedia)
- A.A.Lebedeva, "A Men's Costume in Western Syberia"
- L.M.Rusakova, "Russian Siberian Costume"