Today I will continue my article on the Armenian costumes of the Lake Van region, by talking about the men.
Men in general are less inclined to hold onto a unique ethnic costume, being more motivated by practicality and by the need to interact with the larger society in order to do business. Thus, in any society they are more likely to wear a more general, uniform outfit. Armenian men changed to western suits quite early. Let us take another look at this drawing of a family from Van.
In this image, the man is wearing standard Ottoman urban attire. slip on shoes, stockings, shalwar, sash, linen shirt, vest, and fez with kerchief wrapped around it. This same outfit was worn by men of various nationalities in cities all over the Ottoman Kingdom.
In the Lake Van region, it was more typical to see the outfit worn by the man in the photo at the head of the article. This is a studio photograph of a rich man from Sasoun. This was more of a regional costume than an ethnic one. Compare the photo to this one of a Kurdish man.
Or to this photo of Chaldean men.
This costume belongs to the Armenians as much as it does to anyone, so I will examine it in some detail. Here is a screenshot of the Armenian dance group Vaspurakan.
Here is a museum display of an Armenian costume from Shatakh [Çatak]
This display shows all the basic features of the outfit. Extra vests and jackets were also layered on the torso.
These were bleached, or not, according to whether they would be used for dress. This one seems to have been lengthened at some point.
Likewise simple cotton or linen drawstring pants, tiumban, were also part of the foundation layer. These examples are from Bitlis and Shatakh, but these did not vary much.
This was sometimes worn as is, in extremely hot weather, or for work in the fields, with the addition of headgear, sash, and footwear. This painting seems to show this, with only a single extra white garment worn on the torso.
Some examples are much simpler. This set is from the city of Van and is made of relatively plain brown stripes.
The pants were made of home woven cloth. When weaving cloth by hand, the finished product is about 16 inches wide. It is not practical to make it any wider, as it would be very difficult to reach the edges in order to pass the shuttle through. The various ornaments were added with supplemental weft. The cut used for the pants is a common one, and requires 4 lengths of cloth. Thus you need a length of cloth 4 times longer than the finished garment, plus enough to turn under for the cuffs and drawstring. Here is a diagram of the cut. The gusset is cut from the area between the two middle fields. The circumference of the waist is thus about 60 inches, losing an inch for each seam.
Here are some more examples of jackets that were meant to be layered over and under. They were made in a wide number of materials and colors.
One type of vest in particular was unique to this region, and was always worn on top of the others. This was called aba or kaziakhi. The back and shoulders were woven of a heavy wool with long strands of wool hanging off the cloth. These strands were looped into the weave of the vest and left hanging on the outside. The Transcarpathian Ukrainian Hunia is similar. The front opening was covered with gold cloth, often with a purple frog. Short epaulettes were sewn to the shoulders and also had fringe. These two are from Khizan and Shatakh.
There exists a simpler version of this vest, also called aba. The cut is much the same, except that the short sleeves are sewn closed on the bottom and it is made of simply woven wool.
In either case, they normally had a kerchief, usually of silk, rolled and wrapped around the base.
Padrik has a sketch of a man from Sasoun wearing a headdress like this.
Men who were more well off or more urban would replace these with shoes, either of fiber or leather.