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Russian Head Dresses – Guest Blogger – Penny Peters

December 4, 2016

From the Middle Ages through the 19th Century custom required women in western Russian to cover their hair at all times. Scarves tied at the nape of the neck or other quite plain head coverings were worn for every day. Festive headdresses for girls and women were the most important part of traditional costumes.  They could usually be seen at wedding ceremonies and other ceremonial occasions when women wore their finest clothing.  These headdresses were often stitched in gold and silver threads, decorated with fresh water pearls, mother-of-pearl chips, beads, glass or stones.  Many had beaded netting or fringe that covered the forehead. They were decorated with care and highly cherished in the family and passed down from generation to generation.  Almost every district in every province had its version of headdress of distinctive shape, methods and ways of decoration.

The three headdresses shown here all have decoration stitched in the distinctive style of Russian fresh water pearl embroidery.  This was accomplished by preparing a raised bed of soft thick threads that are couched to the ground fabric. Then a strand of pearls was laid on the bed of threads and couched down.  Finally the edges of the raised bed were sometimes covered with a twisted gold cord carefully stitched alongside.  The shape of the headdress was made by embroidering directly onto a stiff paper shape which was covered in a decorative fabric that was sometimes woven in metal threads.. 

One Comment leave one →
  1. December 4, 2016 2:41 am

    Those are gorgeous, Penny. Thanks for sharing.

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