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After his/her 40, a Russian farmer went through 3 social roles/statuses. So, the person's outfit reflected these roles accurately
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The cliche of traditional Russian needlepoint is a towel embroidered with tacky red cocks (in the cross-stitching technique). This is not true (at least, not completely true) Ethnographers know a lot of stitches applied by Russian village people. Some stitches were spread widely around the whole country, whereas others were strictly local. The most commonly used techniques are described below
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  • 08.20.2012 - a replica:
    Soroka (married woman's headdress)
    (after the genuine headdress belonged to Rybinsk Museum of Ethngraphy)
    Replica is made as a part of a Verkhnevolzhsk Outfit Study Project at the Ivanovo Department of Ethnography (www.zapowednik.ws).
    Made by Larisa Smyshl'aeva.

The Russian word for a shirt (rubaha - roo-BAH-khah) is derived from ancient Slavic word rub - rOOb - a piece of cloth. Probably, a chiton-like shirt (as we Russians say, 'a bag with sleeves') was the first fashion of fiber-made cloth on Earth For traditional shirts, people did not cut a costume in a contemporary meaning of a word "cut" (nobody really cut smaller pieces of cloth from a larger one). Instead...
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Being a kind of an "ID", Russian traditional outfit carefully indicated all changes of a family and social status of a person. Traditionally, the age of 25 was counted as the latest possible age for a marriage for village people. So, the main difference reflected in adults' clothes was "married / not married"
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  • 12.01.2011 - a genuine outfit:
    Ukrainian wedding outfit
    (1890s-1910s, property of the Vetushko family)
    (more photos)

despite the fact that the word "sarafan" was adopted from Persian language, the clothing article itself was of the European origin. It came to Russia in the thirteenth century. An original name of the dress sounded like "feryaz'" (fe-RJAZ). This word means "a clothes of Feryag people" ("Feryag / Fryag/ Varyag" were ancient Russian terms for Vikings).
Originally, freyaz' was a MEN's clothing, a sort of a light coat. It is an unsolved ethnographical mystery, why and how a coat become a woman's dress
Let's take a look onto stages of transition between a feryaz' and a Russian sarafan as it is familiar to the public...
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  • 04.14.2011 - a genuine outfit:
    Man's shirt, Siberia, Krasnoyarsk region (probably), 1920s-1940s. Photos and description.

as the shirt's owner told us, his grandfather brought this item "somewhere from Siberia". Taking into account specific features of a cutting pattern and embroidery, we guessed this shirt was made in Krasnoyarsk region. The shirt's owner confirmed this guess: he said his grandfather worked in Krasnoyarsk region for a long time. So, specific features, pointing out to Krasnoyarsk region, are read more >>>

It is not a Russian costume, but we allow ourselves to place this replica here due to a following reason. In this period of time (900-1000 AD), Baltic region (north-eastern Europe plus north-western Russia) was inhabited by several different ethnic groups. Their lifestyle was determined by climate conditions and natural resources available, and, consequently, was similar. Clothing style of them was similar also. A wardrobe consisted of same articles, similar in cut, but highly diverse in decoration. 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.
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  • 02.02.2011 - a replica:
    Young girl's outfit, Kursk region, Plekhovo village, 1910s-1940s. Photo and description.

for Russian farmers, embroidery had never been just a decoration. Contrary, it was thought as a powerful magic tool for shaping reality and for producing Order from Chaos. From magical point of view, to obtain a desirable result in a physical world, a person must set up a supernatural cause for it first. Needlepoint patterns worked as such a cause...
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... all members of village community had to cover their heads (and, for women - hairs) completely when they went outside their homes. Bare head was a shame (for women), and an insult for other people (for men) headpiece was kind of passport for village people. It reflected age group of a wearer (to be more precise - her/his ability to have offspring), her/his marital status, number of children, etc
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  • 01.05.2010 - a paragraph:
    Dictionary of symbols: Sun Boat and Sun Chariot.

Sun gods of many Indo-European pantheons were thought as riding a chariot or a boat. Greek Helios, Egyptian Ra, Vedic Indra could be mentioned among them. The most ancient images of The Sun Boat belong to cave paintings founded at Scandinavian Peninsula. A boat depicted there is pulled by a pair of waterfowls, probably, swans...
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