National costumes of indigenous people
Байкина Скарлетт Алексеевна
Our Russia stretches thousands of miles from East to West. And on the north-east of Russia there is a unique and the most beautiful place of our country, it is the Island Sakhalin. The north of Sakhalin is the land of indigenous people. The indigenous population is represented by the Nivkhs and the Evenks. Living conditions dictated them the choice of material for clothes. In Okha for Evenks it was skins. Reindeer – breeders used reindeer skins, while hunters used the skins, pelts and feathers of the animals and birds they traded in. People inhabiting the basins of large rivers were very skillful in processing skin of fish, cattle – breeders dealt with sheepskins, and those hunting for marine animals processed their skins and intestines. The skins were used to make water-proof clothes which were worn over some fur garment while at work.
The cut of the clothes also depended on the type of activity and the natural conditions. For most of the Evenks their outer clothes served simultaneously as undergarments, and the only difference between winter and spring/autumn clothes was the quality of the skins used. In summer, they wore old, worn-out and pile less winter clothes. An Evenk hunter’s costume had many layers; it consisted of a parka, a sort of caftan unfastened on the chest, a nagrudnick(chest-piece), a nataznick, shin-pieces, footwear and a head-dress. The parka and chest – piece were worn on the naked body. The entire ensemble resembled a tail – coat made out of a whole reindeer skin with slits instead of armholes, in order to release the arms and give freedom of movement during the hunting on foot. A pipe – like appendage ending the back part of the parka served as a bedding when occasion demanded. The Nivkhswere predominantly engaged in fishing. They even developed a special culture of processing fish skin (those of salmon, sheatfish and lenok types).
Both men and women usually wore overalls made out of fish skin resembling a kimono overlapping from left to right. The garment was embellished with applique of leather and embroidered in coloured thread at the neck, the upper part of the left lapel and, mainly, on the back. Geometrical, curvilinear and spiral designs were the most typical. The skin for applique was dyed black, dark blue or red with natural dyes. The Nivkhs had their own unique technique of embroidery. They made stencil out of birchbark, fishskin or paper and satin-stitched it along the contour, which made it prominent, that is, in relief. Sometimes the pattern was transferred from the stencil to the fabric and then embroidered in chain-stitch.
A collection of national costumes presents a chronicle of national historical and artistic development. As one of the permanent elements of material culture the national costume has throughout the centuries, reflected not only the ethnic origin and geographical milieu, but also the level of economic development, social status material position of people. Historians, ethnographers and art students have always shown great interest in the collections of national costumes. Nowadays the younger generation shows a growing interest in traditional clothes. New professional and amateur performing groups have appeared who wear their traditional national dress on stage.
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