Men's Hair and Accessories in Early Rus
Updated on 15 July 2008
Hair was worn “semi-long” in the back. It was trimmed evenly in a semi-circle in the back and then either combed outwards from the crown, occasionally with bangs covering the brow; or was combed back. Short hair was a sign of servitude. Other hairstyles are known, but they were atypical. (Stamerov)
Men always wore a beard with side burns and a moustache. (Kireyeva)
Hairstyles underwent significant changes in the 13-17th cent. In the 13th cent. loose hair cut a little above the shoulder was in style. In the 14-15th cent. in northern Rus, or at least in Novgorod lands, men wore their hair long and braided it in a braid. (Rabinovich, 13-17)
For men were various styles – both for time and for territory. We already said that in the 15th cent. in Novgorod the Great and Pskov (possibly, in all the Novgorod land) men also braided hair in one braid. The wear of beards, evidently, was accepted for mature people. People younger might or might not wear a beard. We note that in the Novgorod initials part are depicted beardless people, at that the beard was not worn not only by the fishermen, but also the town crier – an official figure. Interestingly a description of marked simultaneously 26 robbers (city Shuya, year 1641). More than 2/3 of them (18 people) wore a beard (indication of color – for example “chermna ikrasna”, in other words, as would say now, red-haired; “pale” – and size – “great”, “small”). About 2 was said, that “they shaved”, about one – “sechet” [slashed? torn? whipped?], about 4: “youths, beards none, still not shaving”, finally about one simply – “beard none”. Until 15-16th cent. the beard and long hair and dark color of clothing was not required even for clergy. (Rabinovich, 13-17th)
I have noticed a fairly wide variety of hairstyles in period art.
In studying headdress of the 9th-13th cent., it is necessary to consider that ancient depictions cannot give exhaustive information, in that the hierarchical presentations of that time compelled artists to depict men for the most part without headdress, in particular if in the drawing was a prince, which necessarily was drawn in a hat [In the presence of the prince, everyone else had to take their hats off.] Exceptions were made for a few church hierarchs, who are depicted in klobuki [ecclesiastical headdress]. Important depictions of skomorokhi [bards] are on the frescoes of the stairs of St. Sofia cathedral in Kiev. On their heads, two musicians have pointed hats [kolpak, колпак], with ends hanging a bit in back. A similar kolpak is on the head of the gusli player depicted on one of the Rusalka bracelets of the 12th century. Among archaeological finds is a dark-gray felt hat from the city of Oreshka and a round summer hat plaited from pine roots with a flat crown and rather large brim from Novgorod, reminiscent of the later Ukrainian bril’ [бриль], or stylish at the beginning of our century, kanot’e [канотье]. But this find is connected to a later period, the 14th to 15th centuries (Artsikhovskij, b.g., p. 286). One can only propose that peasants and ordinary city dwellers wore hats of fur, felt, and wicker, and that the fashion in headdress was diverse. (Rabinovich, 9-13th)
Conical caps with pointed tops made of felt or cloth were favored by commoners. Boyars tended to wear more rounded tall hats, or low semi-circular hats of expensive patterned fabrics. The hats could be lined with fur or also fabric, and constructed to make a roll or cuff, sometimes including earflaps. (Stamerov)Besides entire robes, in the archaelogical monuments are known diverse parts of clothing, which were preserved almost completely. Thus, in the 13th century layers of Novgorod is found a man’s felt cap [shapka] in the form of a kolpak with a height of 20.5 cm. (Kolchin)
Men's headdress underwent significant changes in the 13-17th cent. (One of these is the use of the skull cap, tafya or skufya. Starting in the 15th century?) (Rabinovich, 13-17th)
Just as with the other garments worn in layers, for ceremonial excursions, one might wear several hats: a tafya (after the 15th cent), under a kolpak, under the gorlat hat! (Rabinovich, 13-17th)
In the period of the 13-17th cent. the more widespread form of hat was probably the kolpak or kalpak. It was a tall, upward narrowing (sometimes such htat the top drooped over and hung down). Below, the kolpak had a narrow cuff with one or two breaks to wich were fastened decorations - buttons, zapony (cuffs?), and fur edging. The kolpak was distriubed extremely widely. They were "knitted" (the term includes naalbinding, crochet, etc.) and sewn from various materials, from simple linen and cotton to expensive wool. And they had various functions - sleeping, indoor, outdoor and ceremonial. A certain 16th cent. prince appropriated family valuables from his mother, including jeweled earrings for his sister's dowry that he used to decorate his kolpak, and never returned. Such a hat must have been quite elegant. The kolpak, or klobuk as it was then known, was widespread even in antiquity. (Rabinovich, 13-17th)
Fur shapkas - treukh, malakhaj, gorlatnaya shapka, cherev'i:
Jewelry was finely made. Pearlwork, silverwork, filigree and enameling are particularly prominent. (Kireyeva)
Grivni – an ancient form of necklace in the form of a heavy hoop of jute or braided wire, worn mostly by men. (Stamerov)
Earrings – earrings were worn by men, but only in one ear. The noble’s “three-bead” style was particularly popular. (Stamerov)
Rings - Among women's ornaments especially widespread in 10-15th cent were perstni (rings set with stones), although they were worn also by men. Perstni are one of the most numerous archeological finds among ornaments. They frequently repeated the forms of bracelets (twisted, woven, plastinchatye, etc.). The seal/signet persten had an individual form, as also Novgorodian perstni with settings - green, blue, light blue, black, transparent glass. Seal/signet perstni and Novgorodian with settings received dissemination not earlier than 13th cent. and existed right up until 15th cent. and even later. Representations on the signet/seal perstni (birds, wild animals, flowers, triangles) served also as personal signs of owners, if imprinted on wax after text of document, they countersigned the transaction. (Pushkareva)
Metalwork was highly developed in Kiev. Embossing, engraving, stamping, casting, granulation, filigree, and enameling were widespread skills. (Stamerov)
See Jewelry for more information.
Navesni Ornaments - removable collars, cuffs, etc.
Cuffs – removable ornaments for the wrist on ceremonial occasions. Made to match the pectoral. See below. (Stamerov)
Ozerelya – a broad circular removable collar, richly ornamented even with pearls or gems,
buttoning in the back, worn over the outer rubakha for holidays, but perhaps only by
royalty and the highest nobility. (Kireyeva)
See Accessories for more information.
Belts and purses
Kalita – the bag-purse hung from a man’s belt. (Kireyeva)
See Accessories for more information.
Onuchi – foot and lower leg wraps made of long strips of linen fabric, up to 2 meters long. (Kireyeva and Stamerov)
Boots – worn by wealthy peasants and the nobility. High boots without heals were made of leather of various colors. Boots with heels appeared in the 14th century. (Kireyeva)
Common boots were usually short in the toes and high in the back with a knee-high, soft boot top that was cut straight across. The boots of the ruling class could have turned up toes. Some boot-tops were cut at an angle - higher in front than in back. None of the boots had heels. They were made of hide colored balck, brown and dark yellow. The nobility could also afford red, violet, dark blue or green, with tooling and embroidery in stripes, circles and dots. (Stamerov)
Lapti – traditionally woven of bast (from tree bark) and bound to the feet with lacing threaded through eyelets in the sides. These laces extended up to the kneed to bind up the onuchi. (Kireyeva and Stamerov)
Shoes – porshni-postoli made of a single piece of untanned hide might be worn instead of the bast shoes. The hide was turned up at an angle in the front and sewn to form a toe, then on the back and sides the leather was turned up and held in place by straps threaded through holes in the hide. These straps were then bound around the shins. (Stamerov)
See Footwear for more information.
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