Thursday, August 30, 2012

Costumes and Embroidery of Ingria, part 1

Hello all, 
Ingria or Ingermanland is home to some of the smallest national groups in Europe. The Izhorians and the Votes. In my last posting, I covered the costume of the southern Karelian Isthmus, some of the wearers of which had moved to Ingria under the period of Swedish domination, but these two peoples have been living there much longer. The Izhorians are thought to have moved there from Karelia roughly 1000 years ago. The Votes have been there longer, as their language is closer to Estonian than to Karelian. Small numbers of Votes, Izhorians, Ingrian Finns and Karelians still live in Ingria. For more information about these peoples, see these articles in 'The Red Book of the Peoples of the Russian Empire'. 

Most of the material which I am presenting today I got from the website of the Finnish Museums online. It is a bit frustrating, as Finnish is a language in which I have no competence, and I am sure that some of the questions which I have were answered in the text which i cannot understand. Here is a link to their website, there is a huge amount of very interesting material contained therein. 

Because of this, I am not entirely certain which costume belongs to which nationality. Today I am going to cover the costume which is pictured above in a painting by Gustav-Feodor Khristianovich Pauli, which would have been done between 1857 and 1862. I believe that this is a costume of the Izhorians, but I am not completely certain. Here is a map of western Ingria, showing the distribution of the Votes [in orange, red, and purple], The Izhorians [in blue] and the Ingrian Finns [in green]. At the lower left is the Estonian Border.

 Here is another look at the costume which I will be presenting from this region of Western Ingria.

As you can see, it consists of an embroidered chemise, a sarafan, and narrow embroidered side aprons hanging from a belt or sash. A long white linen headdress was worn at least by some, and apparently sometimes a more regular apron as well. Here is a doll from the region.

 The foundation of the costume is a chemise with a standard Slavic cut, insets sewn onto the tops of the shoulders which is made of red cotton patchwork on linen, and a very distinctive type of embroidery, which is typical of this entire region. 
Here is an example from the district of Narvusi. As is often the case, the bottom part, which does not show, is made of a coarser material.

 A closer look at the embroidery on this chemise.

A few more examples, all from western Ingria, the district of Narvusi.

The district of Soikkola

The district of Kattila.

As is typical for folk costumes, there is a variety of detail within a definite vocabulary. The technique of Holbein stitch embroidery spread over a very large area of Northwest Russia.

The sarafans of the region show a similar range of similarity.




In the district of Kattila, linen sarafans with embroidered fronts were also worn.

  The hip aprons are called liina or vyöliina. They are also worn by the Votes. They have a wide range of embroidery designs, mostly based on Holbein stitch. 

One of the headdresses worn in this region is the long white one which we see on the doll above. Like most places, a headpiece like this is worn over a frame which gives it shape.

The sorokka is also worn in this region, as it is in Karelia. Often it is worn over a cap or frame like this one to give it the distinctive shape.

Some examples of sorokka from this region. The embroidery seems to be different from that in the Karelian Isthmus. These examples are from Kattila.

 This one would be worn by an older woman or widow.

The sorokka type headdress worn in Narvusi and Soikkola is made somewhat differently, and resembles that worn by the Votes. I will cover that in my next posting which will be on the Votic costume of this area.

A simple red sash may be worn with this costume.

Under the Swedish occupation, many orthodox residents of this area relocated to Tver Oblast. It is interesting to see the similarities of this costume from Tver.

Here is a photo of a woman wearing this costume. You will see a woman wearing a version of the rekko costume on the right, and a woman wearing one of the Votic costumes on the left.

Here is a photograph taken in 1926, taken in western Ingria, in what the Russians call Kingisepps Raion, which includes the three districts which i have referenced in this article.
She is wearing this costume with what looks like a block printed skirt and linen apron.Note she is wearing a shorter version of the white headdress.

This is still seen today.

Just a couple more images of this costume. You will notice that these women are wearing the type of sorokka from the provinces of Narvusi and Soikkola, which is also worn by Votic women.
I will present more examples of this type of sorokka in my next posting on Votic costume.

 I will continue this series on the costumes of Ingria with a few more postings.
If anyone has more information on costumes or embroidery from this region, please let me know.  
 Thank you for reading, I hope that you have found this interesting.

Feel free to contact me with requests for research. I hope to eventually cover all of Europe and the Former Russian Empire/Soviet Union. I also gratefully accept tips on source materials which i may not have. I also accept commissions to research/design, sew, and/or embroider costumes or other items for groups or individuals. I also choreograph and teach folk dance.
Roman K.


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