"Clothing of Russians of the XIII-XVII Centuries"
by M.G. Rabinovich

Part 1 of Chapter 4 of Drevyaya Odezheda Narodov Vostochnoj Evropy

Translation by Lady Sofya la Rus, Mka Lisa Kies
Updated 15 July 2008

[Translator's Note: As usual, parenthesis are from the original Russian text. Items in brackets are my comments .]  

Literature and sources.  The clothing of Russian population of the European part of our country in the course of four plus centuries, from the second half of the 13th to the beginning of the 18th cent., has been studied unevenly.  Best studied of all is the 17th cent., a bit worse, the 16th, and even less the 13th-15th centuries.  All together, each of these three periods has not only their own pieces of research concerning clothing of one or another social class or territorial group and separate categories of fabric and dress, but also summary works, devoted to clothing of ordinary peasants, city dwellers and higher levels of society for the whole period (Zabelin, 1862, 1869; Bartenev, 1916; Savvaitov, 1896; Prokhorov, 1881; Bazilevich, 1926).  A few of these (Arthsihovskij, B.G.; Gilyarovskaya, 1945; Levinson-Nechaeva, 1954; Gromov, 1977) appeared in the last 3-4 decades.  One can say, that on the whole Russian clothing of the 13-17th centuries has been studied sufficiently.  And all the same there remains still much that is the so-called blank spot.  In the past, not always was managed exact attribution of one or another terms, to give a clear idea of the cut or function of several items of clothing, “to tie in” names found in sources to concrete preserved pieces of costume.  Not always succeeded, as will be shown below, even to precisely clarify the origin either of separate items of clothing, or of its whole composition.

The most reliable sources appear the authentic clothing, preserved until our day in various ancient repositories.  Here in the 1st place, the collection of the government museums of the Moscow Kremlin (For Armory Palace and Patriarch’s vestry), the State Historical Museum in Moscow, the State Hermitage and State Museium of the Ethnography of the Peoples of the USSR in Leningrad [now St. Petersburg].  A relatively small number of objects of ancient Russian clothing are kept in oblast and regional local museums.  In the overwhelming majority are clothing, shoes and headdresses of the 17-18th centuries.  Very rarely (if one does not consider church vestments) clothing of the 16th cent., however it is possible, that a few objects of civilian clothing preserved in the collections of the 17th cent. were made already in the 16th cent.  Exactly dated are only a few objects found in graves:  the monastic schema of Ivan the Terrible, the shirts of his sons, Ivan and Feodor Ivanovich, and the shirt of prince M.V. Skopina-Shujskij, and also the shirt, in which was dressed the doll placed in the grave of the divorced wife of Vasilii III, Solomina Saburova (Koshlyakova, 1976; Veksler et al, 1973, p. 182; Vidonova, 1951; Rabinovich, 1965b, p. 284).  Known also is the volosnik from the grave of a tsaritsa in the Ascension Monastery and a few other archeological finds, about which we will speak in their turn.  We note here, that in the whole, the archeological clothing material gives for examination in this period rather a lot, but all the same relatively less than for the time earlier, for which it sometimes appears to be the only source.

Probably, a more important indication is the various forms of written sources, the number of which increases from century to century.  Will not goin into now in the number of various groups of them (see: Rabinovich, 1982), we note only that especially great materials about clothing can be found in wills, paintings [?] of dowries, marriage contracts, and in merchants expense books.  The first of these three types of documents enumerate commonly the majority of the set of various garments and with these can collect rather precise data.  In wills and marriage contracts, is mentioned sometimes even a whole wardrobe.  Much information is kept in inventories of tsarist property.  Considerable value is presented in writings of traveler-foreigners, because in them is preserved often special descriptions of clothing and the general appearance of Russians.  The keenness of observation of the foreigners, surprised by the unusual costume of a foreign land, compensates for their weak knowledge of local terms.  For all the abundance of information of written sources it is still far from complete for the territorial and chronological relationships.

A special group of sources consists of different types of portrayals – book miniatures, pictures of contemporaries, different forms of papers [?листки], icons, portraits.  Researchers long ago showed the reliability of these portrayals (particularly miniatures) (Artshikhovskij, 1944; Podobedova, 1965).

We wish to warn readers of the necessity of somewhat more strict criticism of illustrations in the works of foreigners visiting Russia, where along with very accurate reproductions occur also drawings imprecise and even fantastical.

Greater difficulty arises with attempt to compare written, physical and pictorial sources, because not clearly to which item of clothing relates one or another name.  Here a great help for researchers is provided, for example, by textbook type of illustrations of primer books, where sometimes directly correlated name of object and its picture.  This can be compared with preserved reality.


Materials.  The material for folk costume serves in this period, as earlier, mainly fabric of domestic production – canvas [холст], linen [полотно], and coarse wool [шерсть]. 

Kholstom, kholstinoj, uzchinoj [] (narrow/tight kholst) are names for linen, and also hemp and cotton materials of domestic manufacture.  They could be white or dyed in various colors.  Dyed kholst was called krashenina, while more dense dyed hemp fabric, kezhej or kezh’ya (Sav., p. 55, 65, 155, 160).  Kholst with a printed pattern, applied with the help of a special carved board, was called vybojka.  Patterned material of intricate fabric was called bran’ya (Sav., 16, 23).  Wool undyed fabric of domestic manufacture, as before, carried the name sermyaga, extending also to garments prepared from this fabric (Sav., 125-126).  In the beginning of this period, as before, was widely dispersed wool checked fabric, ponyova (Aleksandrov, 1971, p. 119-121), but in the 16-17th cent., its use, it appears, was a bit reduced in connection with the appearance of “shubki” and sarafan.  In winter clothing, as earlier, they wore “kurpechatyj mekh” – ovchina, merlushka [sheep fur, sheepskin, lambskin];  for shoes, belts, knives, etc., various types of leather – goat (khoz), sheep (urkha, rovduga)(Sav. 145, 160), cow and horse.  At the end of the period appeared also hard thick soles (Shestakova et al.).

Extremely widened the assortment of expensive fabrics, from which were sewn rich clothing.  This was, in the main, imported material.  The sources name more than 20 types of silk (kamka, tafta, kitajka, atlas, pavoloka, ob’yar’, satyn’, kham’yan etc.) [damask, taffeta, china fabric, satin, паволок, moiré, сатынь, хамьян] and cotton (byaz’, kumach, kindyak, mitkal’, sarapat, satyn’, etc.) [calico, bright red cotton, printed/red, muslin, сарапат, сатынь] material, imported mainly from the east – from China, India, Iran, Turkey, Crimea, Trans-Caucasus, and Central Asia.  Wool fabric was imported mainly from Western Europe – from England, France, Italy, Flanders, Brabant, and the German principalities.  In the sources is recorded more than 30 sorts of just broadcloth [sukno] (aglitskoe, lundysh, frantsuzkoe, skorlat, fryazhskoe, limbarskoe, brabanstskoe, impskoe, kufter’, bryukish, amburgskoe, chemskoe, shebedinskoe, grecheskoe, etc.) [аглицкое, лундыш, French, скорлат, фряжское, лимбарское, Brabant, импское, куфтерь, брюкиш, Hamburg, четское, шебединское, Greek, etc.].  As visible from these names, only individual types of wool material came from the countries of the East (for example, zuf’), the main source of them came from the West.

Besides this, the production of linen, cotton, silk and wool materials of the best quality developed also in Rus.  In the 16th cent. among the urban trades is named not only kholshchovniki [linen-makers], but also sukonniki [broadcloth-makers] and shelkovniki [silk-makers] (Chechulin, 1889, p. 339), the name of Dyers Street in Novgorod the Great speaks about the development of dyed fabrics.  The very names of colors of material:  gvozdichnyj, dikij, lazorevyj, myasnoj, chervlenyj, bagryanyj (orange, gray, light blue, and various shade of red) [literally:  clove, wild, lazuli/azure, meat, “cochineal”, crimson] and others were taken at that time from the Russian language, and not from foreign ones, like, for example, the later terms oranzhevyj [orange], fioletovyj [violet], etc.

Analysis of finds in the excavations in Novgorod of wool fabrics of the 13-15th cent. showed that they were made from the wool of local sheep, and also from wool of Spanish merino, and English fine-fleeced and thick-fleeced sheep, that is, there are both fabrics of local manufacture, and also imported (Spanish wool came via Flanders, English, in all probability, via Holland).  The favorite color of clothing in that time was red, in the second place – black, further – yellow, green, blue and white (Artsikhovkij, B.G., p. 281-282).  The latter predominated numerically (linens, shirts [sorochki], etc.).

If fabrics were mainly imported, then fur, mainly serving for warmth and decoration of rich clothing, was found in Russia, itself, and abundantly exported.  The assortment of it, as in antiquity, was very rich, possessing various forms.  Furriers, which also were named in the list of trades in the 16th cent. (Chechulin, 1889, p. 339), often selected fur for clothing from various parts of the skins of animals (“throat”, “belly”, “backbone”, etc.).

In general, masters making clothing and shoes, made up a significant part of the urban tradesmen.  In these cases, when is known to us the number of craftsmen and their distribution among professions, these masters occupied in number 2nd or even 1st place (Rabinovich, 1978, p. 34-38).


Next-to-skin clothing.  Next-to-skin clothing of men and women served, as in the past, tunic-shaped shirt [rubashka] – sorochka, sorotsitsa, srachitsa.  A.V. Artsikhovskij considered the main form of men’s sorochka the kosovorotka [men’s traditional blouse usually with side, kosoj, neck opening], but about the predominance of the kosovorotka or the shirt [rubakha] with the straight neck opening in the 13-17th cent. information is not to be had.  One can, sooner, think, that the slit of the collar for men was, as before, either straight or angled [kosoj] (Artsikhovskij, B.G. p. 277; Gromov, 1977, p. 203).  Women’s rubakha was made long ot the foot, sometimes the same was for the men (especially for peasant boys the rubakha “to the heel” could be their only garment), but for the adult male peasant they went to the knee, for city dwellers – even shorter.  An innovation in this period was the wearing by men and women, besides sorochki, still another upper rubakha – koshuli, verkhnitsy or navershnika (Fig. 18-19).  By this, the sorochka was turned into proper underwear.  In 1373, in describing the destruction of the city of Torzhok, the chronicle noted:  “And women and maiden stripped even to the last nakedness and to the srachitsa” (PSRL, VIII, p. 20).  The wearing by Russian women of 2 sorochkas – upper and lower – was noted at the end of the 16th cent. by English ambassador Giles Fletcher (1906, p. 127).  Setting out on the road, the traveler usually took a spare sorochka, “And bring sorotsitsyu, the sorotsitse I forgot”, - wrote in the 14th cent. Novgorodian Boris to his wife Nastasia (Artsikhovskij, 1954, No 43, p. 44).  “5 rubakh dvoostannykh [two/double-remains?] women’s… shirt mens and childrens 16 pairs, and in that number 6 sewn with gold and silver” (AYuB, III, No 329, stb. 270-272), - we read in inventory of stolen items in 1680 from manor house property.  Here, is visible, both embroidered upper shirt and more modest lower.  In a rich dowry in the city of Penze in 1701 is recorded 20 rubakh (AYuB, III, No 334 – IX, stb. 300-302).

In the life of rich and poor Russian people, the rubakha played a large role.  They were made usually at home, beginning with spinning and ending with embroidery, that demaded from the female part of the family a large expenditure of labor.  Not for nothing is the old saying:  “For the lazy spinner, on her there is no rubakha” (that also could be said for the family) (Dal’, 1957, p. 504).  But in the urban commercial rows it was possibly to buy ready-made rubashky (Petrej, p. 5).  See what impression was made by the women’s smart upper rubakha on foreigners at the end of the 17th cent.  “They wear rubashki, from all sides woven with gold, their sleeves, built with wrinkles with marvelous art, often exceed in length 8 or 10 cubits; gathering of sleeves, continuing by special wrinkles to the end of the arms, decorated with elegant and valuable bracelets” (Korb, 1906, p. 243).  And here documented evidence of men’s house dress:  “From the Bogdanovskij property of Bel’skij 2 rubashki and 2 portki [shirts? Pants?] of white taffeta and for all, along the seams, bands of gold and braids and loops/buttonholes of gold, for all on the collar 373 pearl grains” (Sav., p. 116).  Found among excavations of tombs of tsarevic Ivan Ivanovich and tsar Feodor Ivaonvich in the Kremlin in Archangel Cathedral are rubashki somewhat more modest, but also embroidered (for Feodor Ivanovich – gold, for Ivan Ivanovich – silk) broid along the seams, collar, shoulder and hem (see appendix).  Prince M.B. Skopin-Shujskij was buried in a rubakha more luxuriously embroidered (foliage ornament – Veksler et al, p. 122).  For men next-to-skin clothing included also pants [porty] – narrow pants [shtany] of the same cut as in the earlier period.


Upper indoor clothing.  For women, a “hip/thigh” garment [набеддренная одежда] was supplemented by a sorochka, which they wore at home, and in warm weather they even wore it outside (Fig. 20, a).  In the 14th cent. this was, evidently, that same poneva about which we spoke in the previous chapter.  But after this time the wear of the poneva by women gradually went on the wane.  The poneva was replaced by another women’s indoor garment, which began to spread in the middle or end of the 14th century – the sarafan.  The question of the origin and the spread of the sarafan in the period we are examining is rather difficult and in ethnographic science has not yet been decided conclusively.  The problem in this is that the exact correlation between this garment and its name is still not clear.  The term “sarafan” and “sarafanets” are known in written sources from the end of the 14th century, but until the 17th cent. this term signified not a women’s garment, but a men’s long, open-front garment (PSRL, XII, p. 27).  Along with this garment, is known a women’s over garment of the same period called “feryaz’, sukman, sayan, shubka (Kuftin, 1926, p. 110-120).  Later on these other terms (shushun, kotilan, nosov) coexisting with the term “sarafan”, serve as names for women’s indoor clothing which was worn over the rubakha.  The term “sarafan” for men’s clothing already was not used in the 2nd half of the 17th century.  Thus, obviously, sarafan came to name a women’s garment, existing earlier, and probably even some new type of it, created in the cities under the influence of the garments of the wealthy classes and service class and from there spread to the countryside (Kuftin, 1926, p. 110, 115; Maslova, 1956, p 642-643).  B.A. Kuftin proposes that the garment, later called a sarafan, could have arisen from the original set of women’s clothing with the poneva (either from a “hip/thigh” garment gaining a bodice and shoulder straps, or from an upper body [наплечной] garment lengthened and sometimes losing its sleeves), and that change could have begun already in the period of the settlement of the Slavs in the northern regions of later Russia and proceeded under the influence of clothing of southern and western Slavs, Letto-Lithuanians, Finno-Ugric, Scandinavian and even (indirectly) western European peoples, for example the people of France (Kuftin, 1926, p. 113, 117), to us it seems valid, but there remains in the sources that we spoke of in the beginning of this chapter nothing to either confirm or to refute this proposal, because there remain no original items of the 13th to 16th cent. or reliable illustrations of them, on which is clearly visible the cut of the garment.

In our sources, it is apparent that the sarafan or shubka (both terms of eastern origin in the opinion of researchers), names in the period that we are examining for a women’s indoor garment in the form of a whole dress (with sleeves or, more often, without sleeves) or a high skirt on shoulderstraps, “nakladnaya” (put on over the head) or raspashnaya (fastened in the front with buttons).

For that time, it is difficult to establish the borders of the distribution of the sarafan among the village population, but city dwellers already in the 16th cent. did not know the poneva as a garment, and used only the sarafan.  In written sources of the 15th-17th cent. the poneva as a city garment is not recorded even once.  About the route of penetration of the sarafan in the village environment gives evidence, for example, garment of “odnodvortsev” [title of a class of governmental servitors] in south Russia (Russkie, card 40) – the result of the settlement of Muscovite service people in the 17th cent.

The sarafan was sewn in the majority of cases of beautifu colored material (the simplest of dyed linen, the rich of expensive imported fabrics).  They were decorated with galoon, lace [кружева], valuable buttons (of which there could be 13-15 – Sav. p. 179), more rarely embroidered (Maslova, 1978, p. 16).  Sources record, for example, “women’s light red satin shupka, lace of hammered gold” (AYuB, II, No 126 – XV, stb. 20).  In the will of one shuyanka [? шуянка] is even listed five “shubka”, of which three are taffeta, one kindyachnayaaya [киндячная] and only one of dyed linen warm, that is, an actual shuba and not a sarafan (Ash, No 137, p. 246-247).  We consider sarafans “cool” (without fur) shubki.  For an actual shuba, some sort of fur is always indicated, or it says that the shuba is “warm”.  “Kuntysh kamka-like, lace gold and silver, ogonki beaver” [A kuntush is now a type of kaftan.  Kamka is an expensive imported Chinese patterned fabric, i.e. brocade.  An ogonyok is usually a little fire, but can also mean zeal/ardor/fascination, so presumably here it is the beaver fur edging that is adding extra fascination to the garment…] – thus indicated in depiction of dowry of 17th cent. of a rich, fur-edged sarafan (AYuB, III, No 028 – IV, stb. 266-267).  In another similar depiction is recorded two sarafans – valuable “shushun of red broadcloth with fancy dress” and a rather more inexpensive “dyed linen with fancy dress” (Rovdogor’e 1647 C.E.) (AGO, r. I, op. 1, No 3, sheet 21 ob.)  In the first case, the value was 4 rubles, in the second – 8 grivna.  In the dowry of a Volotskij princess at the end of the 15th cent. we find shubas of red, crimson and light-green color of expensive Flanders and English broadcloth (DDG, No 87, p. 349-350).  The broadcloth sarafan – “women’s shubka of green bryukishna [брюкишна]” – is found also in documents of 16th cent. (AYu, No 248, p. 266).  Besides in the home of a rather prosperous noblewoman in the 18th cent. could be even relatively inexpensive dyed linen sarafans.  In 1680 from the country estate of Andrei Aristov in the Muromsk district in the list of property stolen by thieves “four sarafans of dyed linen” (AYuB, III, No 329, stb 271).  Observing the sources of the 15-17th centuries, the inaccuracy of differentiation of the terms “sarafan” and “shuba”, evidently, existed even in these later times.  Even in the middle of the last century in several northern cities the sarafan was used as a name for an indoor garment with armholes, with a “gold” belt, analogous in cut to an open-front (but, obviously still with sleeves) street garment, which in winter was made with quilting (Semevskij, 1864, p. 82, 1870, p. 127).

Finally, women’s indoor and in part, outdoor clothing at the end of this period was the skirt [юбка], made of beautifully, richly ornamented material.  In the inventory of a wealth dowry (“in blessing home”) at end of 17th century is listed “skirt of green taffeta, skirt of new green stametnaya [?стаметная], skirt with bustrogom (?) worn vybojchataya [выбойчатая]” (AYuB, III, No 328 – IV, stb. 266-267).  The last, evidently, served as everyday clothing asn was sewn not of silk, but of ordinary printed fabric – vybojki.  P. Savvaitov considered that the mention in sources of “saya” could be not only an open-front sarafan, but also a skirt, which was kept up on the shoulders with armholes or with suspenders (Sav. p. 125).  In this case appears the genetic relationship between the sarafan and the skirt.

The sarafan and yubka were sometimes supplemented by the dushegreya - a short (in most cases without sleeves) women's jacket, open down the front, gathered in back with a multitude of gathers, embracing the body in a sumptuous ring (Giliarovskaya, 1945, p. 43)."

Men’s upper indoor clothing consisted of the upper sorochka described above, pants [shtany] and zipun.  Shtany under this name (and not “porty”) are recorded only from the 2nd half of the 17th century.  In the majority of cases, one can establish that this was upper clothing, rather smart, warm, sometimes leather or even fur – “shtany of chervchatye [“cochineal”?] cloth” (Old Bykhov, 1663), “shtany broadcloth bagretsovoe [shell-fish purple/scarlet], others black” (Rostov, end 17th cent.), “kaftan of yellow goatskin, shtany of goatskin” (Voronezhskij district, 1678-1679 yrs), “5 shtanov” (city of Romanov, year 1678) (AMG, III, No 627, p. 523-524; AYuB, III, No 328 – V, stb. 267-269; T. Vor. UAK, V, No 8182/1956, p. 527, No 8408/2182, p. 598).  From the texts mentioned it is appareant that shtany were worn by both peasants and city dwellers.  About the origin of this part of mens upper costume there exist various opinions.  The problem is that sometimes in the meaning of “shtany” the sources use the term “nogovitsy”, designating, as said above, something like gaiters (Dal’, II, p. 569).  But we see that in these cases they are speaking about lower [under] shtany (Sreznevskij, II, stb. 569).  P.  Savvaitov notes along with lower shtany are also upper (in most cases of silk material), warme quilted and fur shtany (Sav., p. 177).  Above we bring records about broadcloth and leather shtany.  Such would be the route of its origin, a distinguishing feature of mens costume of this period consisting in the appearance of upper (smart, warm) shtany, while the ancient porty acquired the meaning of underwear, like also the sorochka.  The cut of the shtany, as already said, is not exactly known.  M.N. Levinson-Nechaeva proposes that in this period were shtany both with narrow and with wide legs (KO, p. 356).

Men’s indoor on-shoulder garment was the zipun – a wrapped, rather short jacket, worn over the rubakha, but under the kaftan.  Several research propose that the sleevesof the zipun could be of different material than the main part of it (Kostomarov, 1860, p. 68; Filyarovskiya, 1945, p. 67).  However there is only one record known to us of this part of clothing in written sources (Voronezh, 1676) – “zipun white twill” (T. Vor. UAK, V, No 2286/1060, p. 25).  M.N. Levinson-Nechaeva described zipun from the collection of the Armory Palace – quilted, a little bell-bottomed downward, with narrow sleeves of the same color.  It does not have luxurious trim, but the flap and hem have galloon sewn on (Levinson-Nechaeva, 1954, p. 322).  One can think, that the zipun corresponded to the modern vest in the set of men’s costume.  For the ordinary person in the 17th cent, the zipun could serve, obviously, as upper clothing equally with the kaftan (Fig. 21, 22).  This idea is suggested by the enumeration of objectsof clothing in the satirical “Povesh of Foma and Erema”.  Desiring to emphasize that the brothers were dressed mainly identically, the author said: “On Erema zipun, on Foma kaftan; on Erema shapka [hat], on Foma kolpak; Erema in lapti, Foma in porshni; Erema has a moshna [pouch], Foma has a kalita; Erema’s is empty, Foma’s has nothing…”  (RDS, p. 43-45).  While in wealthy men’s costume the zipun was worn under the kaftan.  “On the ruler was a dress,” we read in the description of the “tour” of Alexei Mikhailovich, “zipun in obniz’yu [an ozherl’ye - necklace/collar?]… kaftan stanovoj [standing?] damask kyzylbaskaya [kizil is dogwood aka cornel cherry] on a gold ground herbs and leaves of silver, lining of light green taffeta, buttons strung around with pearls” (Sreznevskij, I, stb. 1200).  Zipun, as apparent, was decorated more modestly than upper dress, and possibly was edged/trimmed around in those places, where was visible from under the kaftan.

We note in conclusion that both names, zipun and kaftan, are of Turkic origin and in Russia could have arrived either from the Turks or the Tatars.

Kaftan was an upper garment of men and (more rarely) women, for indoor and light outdoor wear, and sometimes even for winter (kaftan shubnyj).  Depending on function and style the kaftan was sewn longer or shorter (to the knee or to the ankle), loose or fitted to the body (but always from dense relatively good material, on a lining), and in the overwhelming majority of cases – open down the front, with the right flap laid on the left. 

Along the chest was located usually 8-12 buttons (or strings).  It is difficult to say when exactly the kaftan became so widespread in Rus.  This very name, as said, is of eastern origin.  The Arabian travelor used the term kaftan for the luxurious brocade upper garment in which were buried noble Slavs in Bulgaria in the 10th cent. (Ibn-Fadlan, p. 81).  This term, obviously, was a term usual for the author, and not Russian.  Russian sources until the 15th cent. did not know the name “kaftan”.  It is more important that in the 16-17th cent. it spread to a very wide circle of clothes, so that it was necessary to have additional designations – russkij, turskij, pol’skij, vengerskij, stanovoj, terlik [Russian, Turkish, Polish, Hungarian, district, терлик] (Sav., p. 52-54; Levinson-Nechaeva, 1954, p. 309-328; Gilyarovskaya, 1945, p. 69-72) etc., indicating the detail of cut and trim, connected with fashion.  Thus, the Turkish kaftan was long, loosely cut, buttoned only at the neck, and had long sleeves, sometimes collapsed/folded [gathered up in wrinkles?].  The district kaftan at the end of the 17th cent. was also rather long, with wide sleeves, but cut fitted to the waist (enveloping the figure [?}), while below it had angled wedges [gores]; the Russian kaftan was mainly the same in cut, but the wedges were straight, so that there were coat tails; the Polish and Hungarian kaftans differed primarily in the cut of the sleeves, the richness of ornament and galloon/stripe [nashivka, the front fastener strips?]; the terlik was rather short, with a break at the waist (and even a separate gathered skirt [?]) and had fastener in the form of bodice with a flap on the chest [?] (possibly put on over the head), the emurluk – epancha [long circular cloak], like the kebenyak (kubenyak, ukr. kobenyak) (Sav., p. 54-55) was actually a broadcloth or felt cloak-raincoat – long, with straight long sleeves and small gathers at the sides.  Sometimes the emurluk was even saturated with grease – “emurluk oliflenyj” (Levinson-Nechaeva, 1954, p. 324). Kaftans were sown usually with such calculation that they opened slightly for the boots and did not interfere with taking steps:  the front of it shorter than in back.  The collar was a small standing one or completely absent (then was visible the richly decorated “orzherl’ye” – the fastened collar of the rubakha or zipun).  The standing collar – ozherl’ye – could also be fastened to the kaftan.  The sleeves, if they were not folded, were decorated at the wrist with richly decorated cuffs, the chest with buttonholes/loops, and lace.  Sources name kaftans of valuable materials – satin, velvet, silk brocade, damask, moiré, taffeta, camlet, broadcloth, mukhoyarovye [Asian cotton blend fabric] (Sav., p. 52), and also (for the most part for common people) krashenin [dyed homespun linen], twill [sermyazhnyj], sheep, and goat.

The kaftan was such a widespread garment, that already in the sixteenth century Russian cities were specialist-tailors – kaftan-makers (Chechulin, 1889, page 339).  It is necessary to say that any upper garment were generally called kaftans, and later, when the influence of western European costume strengthened, the corresponding “German” garment – zhyustokor – came to be called a kaftan (Moiseenko, 1974, p. 142-145), while the analogue of the zipun, vesta, worn under it – kamzolom.  Short, fitted at the waist kaftans were called sometimes polukaftan’em [half-kaftan] (Gilyarovskaya, 1945, p. 40-42). This difference between long-skirted long-sleeved kaftans and short-skirted lower/under garment – zipun or kamzol – was distinctly indicated still in the 19th century as made clear from the famous fable of I.A. Krylov “Trishkin kaftan” (Krylov, 1956, p. 105). (It makes fun of Trishkin, appearing in kaftan with tattered sleeves, while the short skirts was no better.)

The kaftan was a necessary part of the clothing of poor people and wealthy and, depending on the intended use, could be made of luxurious material on valuable furs or from the simple sermyaga [homespun wool twill] on sheepskin. In wealthy property were many kaftans. Thus, among the property of prince Yu.A. Obolenskij, in the middle of the 16th century were named five kaftans: “Kaftan on pupkakh [navel] sable, colored sash with gold, 9 buttons, kaftan greene on white cherevyakh [belly fur]… kaftan damask… slanting collar, lined with taffeta, Turkish kaftan 10 buttons of silver… kaftan with slanted collar…” (AFZIKh, II, p. 207-211). In the year 1680, from the house of landowner A. Aristov (from Whiryaevo Moromskij u.) were, among other property stolen, eight kaftans: “Kaftan kindyashonj [red or printed cotton fabric], buttons silver vol’yashnye [?] (obviously, belonging to nobleman himself. – M. R.), and two valuable childrens kaftans, buttons silver… four kaftans of sheepskin” (possibly, the house-serfs) (AYuB, III, No 329, stb. 270-272).  At the end of the 18th century, in the description of one rich dowry (city of Rostov) were enumerated ten kaftans – brocade on fox, Turkish with golden stripes [nashivka], green satin light/cool kaftan, brocade silk, remaining a bit simpler-two new sheepskin, two broadcloth, two bright red cotton warm “childrens” (AYuB., III, No 328 – V, stb. 267-269).  It is interesting that in the list was given children’s kaftans. They, as in previous cases, were not especially rich.  In peasant families were “ two kaftans broadcloth, shubka borlovaya [spotted cotton fabric?] women’s” (T. Vor. UAK, V, No 8701/2478, p. 652).

Among the objects of clothing, the closest in function to the kaftan should be called the kabat – a long warm garment with long sleeves.  The kabat was worn only at home and sewn, therefore, of modest materials (Levinson-Nechaeva, 1954, p. 309).

In the 16th century in the courtly environment appears a special garment for riding – the chuga, resembling the caftan, but with a break fitted to the waist. This garment could be compared to the Caucasus chohkoj – urban clothing disseminated, as the researchers think, from the cities of the northern Caucasus and Trans-Caucasus (Studenetskaya, 1974, p. 263). It’s penetration into the territory of the Moscow state is made clear, evidently, by the lively political and cultural ties with the northern Caucasus, when tsar Ivan IV married princess Maria Temryukovne.

Not completely clear is the function of the feryaz’ often recorded in sources among objects of clothing.  Most of all this was a long (almost to ankle) loose upper garment with long, gathered at the wrists sleeves, open down the front, fastened on 3-10 the buttons or ties, decorated with long sewn on loop/buttonholes.  The feryaz’ could be cool (on a lining) or warm (on fur). Sometimes it was thrown over the shoulders over the kaftan, shuba or polukaftan [half-kaftan] as a cloak (there also existed a feryaz’ without sleeves), sometimes it was worn under the kaftan like the zipun (Sav., p. 157; Gilyarovkaya, 1945, p. 41).  It is possible, that the Arabian word фараджийя (in Turkish pronunciation feradzhe, feredzhe), indicating for the Turks men’s and women’s long dress with wide sleeves, served as the name (“feryas”) for several garments, differing in cut and function.  V.O. Klyuchevskij considers that if for prosperous people the feryaz’ was worn on the kaftan, for common people it was worn on the rubakha.  A courtier, going outside, put it on over the feryaz’ still the okhaben’ (Klyuchevskij, 1857, p. 72).


Upper outdoor clothing.  Upper dress was, in the examined period, same for men and women only among the common people.  Such was, for example, sukna or svita — not very warm wide garment of broadcloth on a lining.  There were also fairy expensive sukni of imported materials on a silk lining (Sav., p. 139).  There existed also votoly, sermyaki, and svitki, about which we spoke in the previous chapter.  But the votola in the 14th century already seems to not be considered decent clothing even for peasants and ordinary citizens.  Probably this is why metropolitan Kipriana forbade, for example, to wear the votola to confession and to communion (Poppe, 1965, p. 152).

Probably, the most characteristic women’s upper garment was the letnik – a loose, not very long-skirted (since was visible the foot) with wide sleeves, which were called napapkami and decorated with additional special sewn-on strips – voshvami – of other materials : “Letnik damask crimson voshvy brocade with golden green” (AYu, No 248, p. 266) (And 23).  Voshvy, evidently, were kept separate and could be sewn on different letniki.  Thus, in the will of the volotskij princess Yuliana (year 1503) were named 4 letniki without voshvy and separately 12 voshvy.  “Voshna on one sleeve sewn with gold and sazhona [?] was with pearls and pearls from it removed, and remaining on it a few” (DDG, No 87, p. 349-350).  The precious voshva was, in this form, “robbed”, but kept in the trunk of the princess.  In the opinion of I.E. Zabelin, the letnik was for the most part put on over the head, but there were made also open-front letniki, which were called “opashnitsa” (Zabelin, 1869, page 634).  At the same time in the description of letniki almost never is recorded buttons.  The letnik was worn over the sorochka and sarafan.  This was, along with the headdress, a specifically women’s garment, which men never wore.  A warm letnik with the same sleeves and voshvy, but lined with fur was called kortel’, kortli, or torlop (Sav., p. 63, 148).

Another upper women’s garment was called the telogreya (Fig. 24). It was also worn over the sarafan and was similar to it in cut, but had long, narrowing to the hand sleeves, sometimes – collapsing/folding [pushed up on the arms in wrinkles?].  The telogreya was open down the front with a multitude of buttons (from 14 to 24), which usually were not all fastened.  It was sown of silk material, on a silk lining or on fur. The telogreya was widespread already in the middle of the 16th century.  In any case, A. Kurbskij reproached tsar Ivan the Terrible that instead of answering in essence, he mixed important and everyday details, he wrote “about bed, about telogreya” (Perepiska, p. 115).  The telogreya was very elegant: “Telogreya kuftyanay [?] damask colored, al sholk [silk?] and yellow, hammered gold lace, buttons of gilded silver” –we read in the description of a dowry, enumerated also 3 such a luxurious telogreya of chervchatogo [“chochineal’] and alogo [scarlet] (that is various shades of red) color (ASh., No 103, p. 185-188).  But on the whole the telegreya is met in documents of the 17th century not often, and more rarely than other objects of women’s clothing.

The favorite outdoor garment, worn by men and women in spring and fall (as we now say – two-season), was the odnoryadka (Fig. 25).  Odnoryadki were sown of broadcloth or other wool fabric “in one layer” (that is evidently, without a lining), which one thinks caused also its name.  This was an open-down-the-front, long, wide garment with long folding/collapsing sleeves and a slit for the hand at the armholes.  The skirt of it was made shorter in front than in back.  “Odnoryadka women’s broadcloth, karmazin [thick red broadcloth] raspberry color, on 12 large silver buttons of filigree work, and an odnoryadka women’s cherry” – said in description of property of landowning person in on the year 1672.  We meet in descriptions also record of pieces of fabric:  “broadcloth for odnoryadka blue”. “Odnoryadka azure blue [lazorevaya] bryukishna [?]” recorded in a will from the beginning of the 16th century (AYu, No 415, p. 445).

In summer, prosperous men and women wore over the shoulder, “na opash”, light silk opashni of loose cut with long narrowing-to-the-wrist sleeves, on a silk or cotton lining.  The skirt of the opashna, like that of the odnoryadka, was longer in back; it was worn with sleeves, but not belted (Sav., p. 93). Such an opachen was found during the construction of the Moscow subway in cracks in the wall of Kitajgorod (Kiselev, 1936, p. 158; Rabinovich, 1964, p. 281).

A specifically men’s garment was the okhaben’ (okhoben’, okhobenek) – similar in cut to the odnoryadka, but with a large laid-down collar, hanging below the shoulder blades.  (Sav., p. 95) (Fig. 26). It had also long (even to the hem, reaching the ankles) folding/collapsing sleeves and a slit for the hand.  The opashen’ was decorated with large buttons. “Opashen velvet green with gold eleven buttons pear-shape [?грушчатых]… opashen camlet light-green amburskyj [Hamburg?] nine silver, pomegranate-shaped buttons..  Created an “ – you read in the will of prince Yu.A. Obolenskij, compiled in the middle of the 16th century (AFZIKh, II, No 207, p. 207-214).

The sarafanets – a long, rather narrow open-down-the-front men’s garment, giving, as noted already, its name also to the women’s sarafan, evidently was not very widespread. Recorded at first at the end of the 14th century, it was kept until the middle of the 17th century only among the nobility.  Prince Obolenskij had a yellow silk sarafanets, fastened with 23 gold and silver buttons.

The armyak (Iranian, urmak), which ordinary people sewed of thick homespun broadcloth – armyachiny, was a loose khalato-like [a khalat is a bathrobe, dressing gown, etc.] upper outdoor garment.  But noble people wore armyaki only at home (Sav., p. five) and sewed it of more valuable fine fabrics.  Prince Obolenskij had “armyak mukhoyar [Asian cotton blend fabric] azure” and “armyak fine linen”.

And the other hand, an extraordinarily formal upper garment of the Moscow nobility in the in the 16th-17th centuries was the ferezeya – a long, straight, somewhat widening downward, wide garment, with folding/collapsing sleeves.  It was sewn of valuable broadcloth, decorated with embroidery and even stones, lined sometimes with valuable fur (for example, sable), and worn over the feryaz’ or kaftan.  The ferezeya, as several researchers think (Gilyarovskaya, 1945, p. 72-74; Levinson-Nechaeva, 1954, p. 312-315), was in the 17th century even something like an official formal costume of the stol’niki [a court title, a department head] of the tsars court.  In any case, the Russian ambassador to France, stol’nik P. I. Potemkin, is pictured in a portrait precisely in the ferezeya.

The epancha about which we spoke above as a different form of kaftan (yaponchitsa, ermuluk, Turkish yapondzhe) could appear also as a sleeveless cloak of the burka type [the burka is a felt cloak from the Caucasus].  The warm epancha on fur was called also mentenya (Sav., the 76, 183-184) “mentenya of brocade on belly fur of fox… on navel fur of stable”) (AFZIKh, II, No 407, p. 207).

It remains for us to speak a little about sleeveless cloaks, which in this period gradually receded to the background in the set of Russian clothing.  Replacing the long cloak [korzno], for the nobility, as already said, arrived more wide and short cloak –the privoloka.  It was sewn of valuable gold material.  The tsarist privoloka of Dmitri Donskoj is recorded by the author of the story of the Mamaev battle (PKB, p. 66).  Privoloka of damask and velvet “with ermine” is recorded in the wills of the princes Rostovski and Obolenskij in the middle of the 16th century (AYu, No 420, p. 451-454, ZIKh, II, No 207, p. 207-214).  Is possible that these privoloki were also often military equipment.  Along with richly decorated edging and even voshny, privoloki were also women’s garments (Sav., page 110 to-111).  Sleeveless cloaks were also recorded in the 14th century, votola, kots, myatl’, and finally the epancha, about which we only just spoke.  A somewhat more widespread sleeveless cloak was received later, in connection with western European fashion.


Winter upper clothing.  Warm winter upper clothing of men and women was various forms of shuby (this term is of eastern origin – “dzhubba”).  Differing extremely in cut and material, shubas had, in essence, one sure general feature – they were fur-lined.  Poor people – peasants and city dwellers – wore, as in antiquity, shuby mainly of ovchiny – sheep skin, rather more rarely – of goat skin.  In the course of this whole period, in the ordinary persons environment was the kozhukh, that is a naked shuba, not covered by material.  But in the urban environment, and especially for prosperous city dwellers and nobles, the shuby were made from carefully selected, sometimes expensive fur, covered with beautiful material, decorated with embroidery, lace, etc.  Even the kozhukh, if it was worn by a prince, could be sewn with stones and plaques.  Ivan Kalita had, for example, 4 kozhukhy, sewn with pearls, among them one raspberry (chervlenyj) [“cochineal”] and two – decorated with, besides pearls, also metal plaques [blyakhami] – alamami (DDG, No1, p. 8; Bazilevich, 1926, p. 28-30).  But it is necessary to say, that the idea of the kozhkh as a naked shuba in that time, evidently began already to be lost; sometimes even a shuba covered with fabric was also called a kozhukh.  One of the kozhukh of Ivan Kalita was covered with yellow moiré, while 150 years laters Verejskij prince Mikhail Andreevich willed to his son-in-law, prince Dorogobuzhkskij, “kozhukh covered with damask, lined with sable” (DDG, No 80, p. 312; Bazilievich, 1926, p. 28-30).  On the other hand, the term shuba was sometimes used for a naked garment, the actual kozhukh, for example, in the description of peasants property – “shuba naked ramskin” (T. Vor. UAK, V, No 8162/1936, p. 522).  Shuby, like also kaftans (as we saw, existed also the term “kaftan shubnyj”), existed in various styles depending on fashion, in particular, already in the 15th cent. was known the Russian shuba, and later – the shuba Turkish – terms, analogous to the names of styles of kaftan.  Rich people had many shuby.  In the middle of the 16th century, in the wardrobe of prince Obolenskij were 6 shuby:  “shuba velvet on sable, shuba damask on sable with 11 buttons carved pomegranites, shuba navel of sable naked, shuba martin naked… two shuby ermine”  (AFZIKh, II, No 207, p. 210).  In 1668, in the city of Shue, V.I. Bastanov gave in dowry for his daughter 5 shuby: “Shuba satin gold with lace… on ermine, shuba kufternaya yellow damask on sable, hammered silver lace, buttons gilded silver; shuba colored satin on martin, lace tsepkovoe [?] gold, buttons of gilded silver; shuba kufternaya scarlet damask on ermine, lace hammered gold, buttons gilded silver; shuba colored taffeta on back fur on white, lace hammered silver, buttons gilded silver” (Ash, No 103, p. 185-188).  This enumeration of rich shuby became in the 17th cent. a target for democratic satire:  in “Inventory of dowry” records “shuba sable, and another sheat-fish” (RDS, p. 125) (that is “on fish fur”, so loved to joke later).  A simpler shuba, on sheepskin or rabbit fur, was covered with krashenin [dyed linen homespun] and was called koshulya.  The koshulya was worn by men and women (Sav., p. 65).

About the cut of the shuba we have little information.  One can at least say, that the shuba was usually made open-down-the-front, wide sleeves narrowing to the hand; existed also folding/collapsing sleeves (for the Turkish shuba they were considered the usual) (Gilyarovskaya, 1945, p. 75).  The length of the shuba changed depending on the style – the shuba could be just a little lower that the knee and almost to the heel.  The collar was fur, in various styles (for example, for the Russian shuba had a laid-down collar).  This was, in general, a loose garment, but the Turkish shuba was cut like the khalat, while the Russian was more fitted at the waist.  Decoration were the same as on other upper garments:  loops/buttonholes, buttons, hammered lace, fur edging.  As we will see below, the shuba was, probably, the most formal garment of Russian nobles and prosperous city dwellers.  For wealthy people there were special shuby with different names (for example, dining hall, sleigh or riding, etc.).

For poor people was sufficient one, completely not luxurious shuba.  Such a simple shuba was worn, for example, by metropolitan Phillip in the period of his exile (1566-1569) (Fig. 27).  It was kept as a relic in the Patriarch’s vestry (Levinson-Nechaeva, 1954, p. 309-310, Fig. 1).  The shuba is long, straight, not widened by gores downward.  The sleeves are very wide above, narrowing to the hand; buttons (in all, 30) are sewn on the right flap, the loops are on the left (consequently, in the 16th cent. the closure was already not only on the left side, but even “mens” was on the right).  As material for the shuba served homespun black-brown rough broadcloth, covering the usual brown sheepskin.  From sheepskin was also the small laid-down collar.  But in cut the shuba was the same as that worn by the nobility.  In details, Great Prince Vasilij Ivanovich, father of Ivan the Terrible, is shown in a protrait in a shuba of the same cut.


Headdress.  The headdresses of Russian in the 13th-17th cent. were extremely varied.  Their composition and construction reflected both ancient tradition and also various influences.  The most traditional were, probably, women’s head dress.  Its composition and construction were dictated in that (as already said in the previous chapter) from long ago was considered that married women must never show their hair, and if she would “let shine hair”, then from this could come even some harm for those around.  “Save me form sorcerers and from maids with smooth hair and from bareheaded women”, said an old proverb (AGO, r. II, op. 1, No 65, l. 8 ob).  But maidens, not bound by this, had hair curly or smooth, and could be proper with head uncovered at home and in the summer time and also going outside (see Fig. 20b) (more precisely – with uncovered darkness [temenem?].  “Maidens go with uncovered heads, wearing only reinforced on the forehead a rich band; the hair of maidens hangs down to the shoulder and with proud elegance plaited in a braid”, wrote a foreigner in 1698 (Korb, 1906, p. 577).  In the 16th-17th cent. maidens often also curled their hair (possibly in order not to be “smooth-haired”), and wore it loose or plaited into a braid (in this, it was attempted to braid possibly looser, so that the braid appeared thicker) and intertwined string with the strands (Zabelin, 1869, p. 577).  The girls’ braid was decorated with a kosnik or nakosnik – braided into it gold thread or, more often, a triangular ornament, usually on a firm foundation, richly embroidered with threads and pearls, and edged with lace or metallic plaques.  Around the head (whether the girl had plaited a braid or wore her hair loose) was a perevyazka – a silk ribbon, and for the rich – of gold threads.  Decorated on the forehead with embroidery (sometimes with pearls), it was also called chelom or chelkoj; if the ornament went along a whole circle – venok or venets.  A venets with teeth along the upper edge (gorodki) was called koruna (Zavelin, 1869, p. 577-580; Gilyarovskaya, 1945, p. 105).  We see that the maiden’s head dress preserved a lot in general with the ancient, about which we spoke in the previous chapter.

The women’s headdress is reflected in sources rather detailed.  The basic parts of it are enumerated in the wedding rank [?], recommended in the 16th cent. by the Domostroj.  In preparing for a wedding was recommended on the platter beside the “place” of the youth in the home of the bride “laying the kika and laying under the kika the podzatyl’nik, and podubrusnik, and volosnik, and pokryvalo” (DZ, st. 67, p. 166-167, 175-176).

The podubrusnik or povojnik appeared as a light soft cap of colored material, under it was gathered the hair of women braided in 2 braids.  Behind was tied for the identical purpose with the povojnik a many-colored scarf [platok] – podzatyl’nik [literally, on back of head].  Over it all was worn the ubrus – a linen, richly embroidered headdress pinned with special pins (its other name – shlyk) or the volosnik – a net with hat band from gold or material embroidered with gold.  Archeological finds of volosniks (in graves of noble women) date from the 16th-17th cent. in Moscow on Frunze street (in the territory of the former Znamesnkij monastery) under a grave slab of the year 1603 was found a volosnik, on the hatband of which was embroidered depictions of unicorns (Grigor’ev, 1954, p. 328-329) – symbol of death.  Possibly, this volosnik was prepared by the housewife especially, as a death garment.  In the opinion of I.E. Zabelin, the volosnik was worn sometimes along with the ubrus – under the ubrus or over it (Zabelin, 1869, p. 600).

Finally, the main part of the headdress was (evidently in those cases when over the volosnik was not worn the ubrus or shlyk) the kika or kichka – symbol of marriage.  The kika had a soft crown, surrounded by a firm, widening upward podzor [valance].  It was covered with bright silk fabric, in front it had a chelo sewn with pearls, at the ears – ryasy [hanging strings], in back – zadok [back] from a piece of brocade or sable skin, covering the back of the head and neck from the sides.  Over the kika was worn sometimes another scarf, so that the chelo remained visible (Gilyarosvskaya, 1945, p. 103).

Besides the kika, sources of the 17th century name also the soroka and (more often) kokoshnik (Fig. 28), but there is no research about the construction of this headdress.  The character of the records do not allow to judge about this.  Researchers note the connection of kika, soroka, and kokoshnika recorded in the 16-17th cent with women’s headdress, existing among peasants and even among city dwellers still in the middle of the 19th cent “In many remote places,” wrote P. Savvaitov, “still even in our time one can see not only peasants, but even female city dwellers’ headdress, similar  to a beet [burak?] or basket, sometimes with horns, made of a bast strip or glued-up linen, covered with galloon/braid or fabric of bright color and decorated with various embroidery and beads, and for rich women – even pearls and valuable stones” (Sav., p. 56).  But differences between the kika, soroka and kokoshnik Savvaitov did not see.  V.I. Dal’ in the middle of the 19th centy worte about the soroka:  “This ugly, but very rich headdress, is already disappearing from custom; but I still happened to see a soroka in [worth?] 10 thousand rubles” (Dal’, IV, p. 281).  The richly embroidered wedding soroka is the zolotolomka – which the bride wore for holidays and in the first 2-3 years after her wedding even in the 19th to the beginning of the 20th cent., noted G.S. Maslova (Maslova, 1978, p. 16).

The headdress and its parts enumerated usually in the composition of the dowry.  In 1668, in the city of Shuya describe 3 volosniki:  “Volosnik with oshivka [?], oshivka strung with grains (pearls – M.R.) halfway with stones and with emeralds and with ruby/sapphires and with grains; volosnik gold with oshivka, oshivka sewn with beaten gold obnizaniya [strung?]; volosnik gold, oshivka sewn with gold threads with grains; oshivka tsepkovaya [tenacious?] double” (ASh, No 103, p. 188).  In the same city in the year 1684, evidently, in the family of a noble was give in a dowry 3 kokoshniki; “kokoshnik strunk on chervchatomy [“cochineal”] satin; kokoshnik sewn with gold on taffeta; kokoshnik taffeta with silver galloon” (Ash, No 163, p. 298).  In 1646, in set of property of a landowning person – Shuanina [female citizen of the city of Shua] was, among other things, “8 soroki sewn with gold… kichka dorogil’na [valuable?] green, ochel’e sewn with gold” (Ash, No 61, p. 110-112).  In the year 1690 in one Moscow will is recorded “kokoshnik strung with ruby/sapphires with emeralds” (AYuB, I, No 86 – III, p. 563).  In the year 1694, in the city of Murom in the dowry of a maiden from the Suvorovyj family – “kokoshnik strung, 5 kokoshnikov sewn with galloon, 5 podbrusniki satin and damask, oshivka strung, oshivka tsepkovaya” (AYuB, No 334-VI, p. 294-295).  In the year 1695 A.M. Kvashnin gave to his daughter 11 kokoshniki – 3 formal and 8 simpler.  A kokoshnik was received in the dowry also the daughter of A. Tver’kovoj from the city of Kashina (AYuB, III, No 336-V, p. 312).  In the year 1696 gost’ [honored guest? A ambassarial title?] I.F. Nesterov gave his daughter “kokoshnik pearl with stones” (AYuB, III, No 336-VI, p. 313).  The differences here, are more social than territorial:  soroka and kika – for landowning people, kokoshnik – for nobles and highest level merchants.  If one recalls that in the middle of the 17th cent, Mejerberg pictured  Moscow peasant women in kichka-shaped (widening upward) headdress (Mejerberg,  1903, l. 86),  then one can propose that in the central Russian lands – the former Moscow and Vladimir principalities – at least in the 17th cent. there was the women’s kichka-shaped headdress.  Kokoshniki were accessories of the toilet of noble and rich women everywhere.  In the previous chapter, we said that in northern Russian lands such headdress on a rigid foundation existed up to the 13th cent.  But the kika and its accompanying pieces of headdress, about which we spoke above, probably had a large distribution and therefore already in the 16th cent. was included in that all-Russian guide in construction of family life, the Domostroj.

Thus, the traditional very complex in make-up headdress which was not removed evn at home was characteristic for all this period and was kept in some social levels also significantly later, still almost 2 centuries.  Going outside, women put on over this headdress a scarf [platok] or (for prosperous levels of society) cap [shapka] or hat [shlyapa].  The sources know, besides the general names shapka and shlyapa, also special terms describing women’s outdoor headdress of various styles:  kaptur, treukh, stolbunets and even chepets.  Women’s hats were round, with small flaps, richly decorated cords of pearls and gold threads, and sometimes – valuable stones.  Hats were fur, for the most part – with cloth above.  The hat stolbunets was tall and resembled the men’s gorlat hat, but narrowing upward and had additional fur trim at the back of the head.  The kaptur was round, with blades/flaps covering the back of the head and neck, the treukh was reminiscent of the modern ushanka [cap with ear flaps] and had an upper of valuable fabrics (Zabelin, 1869, p. 577-603; Sav., p. 149-150; Gilyarovskaya, 1945, p. 105).  Sometimes a scarf – fata – was tied on above fur hats, so that its corner hung down on the back.  “Shapka Polish with martin, above damask, ears martin upper izobravnoj [?]”; “hat womens sewn with beaten gold threads with lace… hat gorlatnaya fox” (in all enumerated 5 hats); “kaptur sable naked”’ “chepets slanting damask red, circled gold with silver” (in all, enumerated 3 cheptsy) (Penza, 1701 yr; AYuB, III, No 334-IX, stb. 300; Shuya, 1668 yr; Ash, No 103, p. 186-187; 1576 yr, AYu, No 248, p. 266; end of 17th cent. AYuB, III, No 328-IV, stb. 267).  Such are the records of women’s headdress in sources of the 16th-17th cent.

Men’s headdress also undergoes in the 13th-17th cent. substantive changes.  Was changed even the very hairdo.  In the 13th cent. in style was loose hair, cut a little above the shoulder.  In the 14th-15th cent. in northern Rus, at least in the Novgorod land, men wore long hair, and braided it in a braid (Artsikhovskij, B.G. p. 29).  In the 15-17th cent. hair was cut “in a circle”, “in parenthesis” or cut very short (Gilyarovskaya, 1945, p. 82-83).  The later, evidently, was connected with the wearing at home of the small, covering only toe top of the head, round cap like the eastern skull cap – taf’ya or skuf’ya.  The habit of wearing such caps was so strong, already in the 16th cent. that Ivan the Terrible, for example, refused to take off the taf,ya even in church, ignoring the demand of the metropolitan Philip himself (Kostomarov, 1860, p. 71).  The taf’ya or skuf’ya could be simple dark (for monks) or richly embroidered with silk and pearls.

Probably, the more widespread form of actual hat was the kolpak or kalpak – a tall, upward narrowing (sometimes such that the top was bent over and hung down).  Below the kolpak had a narrow cuff with one or two breaks, to which were fastened decorations – buttons, zapony [cuffs?], and fur edging.  The kolpak was distributed extremely widely.  They were “knitted” [term includes the naalbinding technique] and sewn from various materials (from linen and cotton to expensive wool fabrics) – sleeping, indoor, outdoor, and ceremonial.  In a will from the beginning of the 16th cent. the curious story of how Russian prince Ivan took from his mother – a Volotskoj princess – “for temporary use” various family valuables – including earrings of his sister’s dowry – and put them on his kolpak, and so did not return them (DDG, No 87, p. 349-350).  It must be that this kolpak was very elegant headdress of a dandy.  A century later among the property of Boris Godunov is recorded a “kolpak sazhenoj; on it 8 zapon [?] and on its breaks 5 buttons” (Sav., p. 55).  We already spoke in the previous chapter, that the kolpak or, as it was then known, klobuk was widespread in Rus even in antiquity.  A variation of the kolpak in the 17th cent was the nauruz (the name of Iranian origin), having, in distinction from the kolpak, a small flap and also decorated with buttons and tassels (Sav., p. 84).  The flap of the nauruza was sometimes turned up, forming a narrow nook/corner [ugolok], which miniaturists of the 16th cent. loved to picture.  G.G. Gromov considers that here this Tatar kolpak had also a pointed top, then as a Russian headdress it was rounded off on top (Gromov, 1977, p. 206-208).  The men’s shlyapy had rounded flaps (“polki”) and were sometimes made of felt, like the later peasant shlyapi.  Such a shlyapa with a rounded crown and small, turned-up flap, belonging, evidently to an ordinary citizen, was found recently in the city of Oreshka in a layer of the 14th cent.  (Kirpichnikov, 1969, p. 24).

Among the prosperous layers of society in the 17th century were widespread murmolki – tall hat with a flat top, narrowing upward, resembling a truncated cone, and with a fur cuff in the form of a paddle/blade, attached to the crown with two buttons.  Murmolki were sewn of silk, velvet, and brocade, and decorated fully metallic clasps (Sav., p. 80).

The warm men’s headdress was the fur shapka.  Sources name it treukh or malakhaj – shapka-ushanka, just as for women.  The most formal was the gorlatnaya shapka, which was made of the throat fur of rare animals.  It was tall, widening upward, with a flat crown.  Along with the gorlat hat is recorded also cherev’i, that is made from fur taken from the belly of the animal. 

Similar to what was accepted to wear for ceremonial excursions one garment over another (for example, zipun – kaftan – odnoryadka or shubu), worn also several hats:  taf’ya, on it kolpak, and over that still the gorlat hat (Kostomarov, 1860, p.72).

The basic headdress (different types of klobuki) were for ecclesiastical figures of various ranks.

An important regalia of rulers remained the princely shapka.  Characteristically, what appears for the Moscow Great Prince in the 14th cent. “gold shapka”, later (in the beginning 16th cent.) called “shapka of Monomakh”, was made with such details in order to resemble the old princely shapka.  A gold skullcap of Bukhar work was provided with traditional Russian sable edging (Artsikhoskij, B.G., p. 293; Rabinovich, 1957, p. 48-49).  Above was placed a cross, however, in antiquity the princely shapka was not crowned with a cross.  Thus was created the traditional form of crown of the Moscow tsars; all the later tsarist crowns of the 16th and 17th cent. imitated in their form the “shapka of Monomakh”.


Belts and ornaments.  An important role in Russian clothing was played by different types of belts – from the simple braided [same term is used for card weaving] belt of the peasant and ordinary city dweller to the valuable gold belt with stones – regalia of a prince-commander, belt, which once even ignited a feudal battle.  In examining the objects of upper and domestic clothing, we said which of them were belted.  But people going outside, wore one on another several such items, both for men and for women for this could be several belts.

The most simple were belts of fabric, braided [card woven] and twisted [?], such were kept in peasant life even in the 19th cent. (Russkie, karta 61).  One patterned wool fabric belt was found in an excavation in Moscow, in a layer of the 16th cent. (Rabinovich, 1964, p. 281; Gromov, 1977, p. 214).  With such a belt, and also twisted cord, was belted men’s and women’s rubakha, sarafan.  On a Novgorod icon of the 14th cent. the children are shown in rubakhas, belted with belt-cords with tassels on the ends.

The place that the belt occupied in life, was made more precise by fashion.  In the 17th cent., for example, the style was belting below the waist, in order to bigger show the belly – as was considered “more solid” (Olearij, p. 172-173).  Some researchers propose that even at that time youth all the same tried to look slender and were belted at the waist (Gilyarovskaya, 1945, p. 81).  Upper clothing belted with a strap belt (finds of buckles are common) or cloth sash.  Sash, worn over the kaftan, was of fabric of bright colors – kumachnye [bright red cotton], cotton and for the rich – of expensive imported material, with especially decorated ends, which hung below.  Among tsaris garments in the museum of the Moscow Kremlin was kept and expensive, woven with gold and silver sashes in the number of 12 sashes, given in 1621 to tsar Mikhail Fedorovich by Persian shah Abbas (Levinson-Nechaeva, 1954, p. 345-346). For prince Yu.A. Obolenskoj was even “sashes cotton trimmed with ermine” (AFZIKh, II, No 207, p. 211).

Higher commanders, great nobles, and princes wore also expensive gold belts.  Not for nothing foreigners called members of the Novgorod Council lords “gold belts” (Nikitskij, 1869, p. 300). In spiritual letters – wills of Muscovtie great prince and tsar – not once named these family valuables.  For Ivan Kalita were 9 valuable belts, for Ivan Krasnoj – 4, for Dmitri Donskoj – 8 (Bazilevich, 1926, p. 8-12).  The sons of great princes received in inheritance not only domains, but also valuables, among which necessarily was also the gold belt.

On the belt, be it a leather strap belt or gold, was hung, as in the previous period, various necessary things, including a knife in a sheath and the necessary pocketbook, taking the place of the pocket (in that time pockets did not exist either for women or for men).  Only at the end of this period – in the 16th and 17th centuries –appeared pockets which began to be attached to clothing (kishen’), which later became sewn in (zep’) (Sav, page 56-57, 40). Such pocketbooks (more accurately, small box [korobochka]) of valuable metal were called kaptorga, the leather pocketbook – kalita or moshna, however, the last two names already very early acquire a general meeting of purse [koshel’ka, ]; already in the 14th century, kalita was, as known, a nickname for miserliness even of the very Moscow prince. In the spiritual letter [wills] of Dmitri Donskoj we find a “belt gold with kalita”.

Leather kalitas are found in excavations in Novgorod the Great and in Moscow (Izyumova, 1959, p. 218-220; Rabinovich, 1964, p. 112-115). Similar pocketbooks wore men also in western Europe, both on the belt and over the shoulder (TWW, t. 1, tabb. 9, 19, 21, 25 u. a.).  Among the Germans they were called, in the 14th to 15th century Reisetashcen and combined sometimes with a small dagger. These pocketbooks usually never were decorated, at the same time as Russian kalitas were often richly ornamented (Fig. 29).

So, the belt with kalita was not only a usual part of the toilet, but also an ornament. Thus can one can say about collars and cuffs of garments.  The majority of items of clothing about which we spoke earlier, did not have collars.  The Russian rubakha remained, as in the 9th to 13th centuries, “goloshijkoj”  [literally, bare neck].  But a richly embroidered collar – ozherel’e –attached to the rubakha, kipun, kaftan, and even to the odnoryadka was also an important ornament of clothing.  For wealthy people, men and women, the ozherel’e was embroidered with pearls. “ozherel’ya zazhono, a ispodnij row snizan”…, “ozherel’ya 3 pearls…” (DDG., No 87, p. 349; AYuB, III, No 328 – V, p. 268) – we read often in letters.  Buttons also served as decoration of the ozhrel’ya: “ozherel’e seeded [sazheno] with pearls, 6 buttons of pearl” (AFZIKh., II, No 207, p. 210).

The ozherel’ye sewn with pearls was very valuable. Among the property of Moscow gost’ Grigorii Yudin was a women’s ozherel’ye with a value of 700 rubles, two women’s ozherel’ye for 300 rubles, a man’s ozherel’ye 400 rubles, ten men’s ozherel’ye, standing and laid-down, with pearls, and stones listed without price (AGR, I, No 110, p. 389). Indirectly this description shows also that women’s ozherel’ye were decorated more expensively than men’s.  The fur standing collar was also called ozherel’ye, buttoned/fastened to the shuba.  Prince Obolesnkij had, for example, “ozherel’ye beaver” (AFZIKh, I I, No 207, p. 211).

Similar to the ozherel’ye were embroidered cuffs called zarukav’ya or zapyast’ya and were also widespread in men’s and women’s clothing. For example, when were worn upper clothing with folding/collapsing sleeves, one could thrust hands through splits near the armholes and show off valuable zarukav’ya, buttoned/fastened to the rubakha, zipun, or kaftan. “zapyast’ye seeded with pearls” – we read in some will of the 16th century (AFZIKh, II, No 207, p. 24).

Clothing was decorated also with embroidery at the neck, shoulder, chest, buttonhole/loop, cuff, and hem, with sewn on plaques – alamami. For this wide was used edging of galloon and strip buttonhole/loops of silver and gold cords with pearls and stones.  The edge of clothing was trimmed also with lace – metallic hammered, braid [card weave?] or strung with pearls.

As an important decoration of clothing, has already stated, served buttons, which for the rich were silver, gold, pearls, etc.. This use was general for all Europe.  In Russian clothing were even buttons of Lithuanian and German make (Sav., p. 113). P. Savvaitov brought in interesting information about the number of buttons on different items of clothing.  For the kaftan used 13-19 buttons, for the opashen 11-30, for the odnoryadka 15 to 18, for the feryaza 3 to 10, for the chuga 3 to 22, for the shuba 8 to 16, for the zipun 11 to 16, for the kozhukh 11, for the epancha 5, the armyak 11, the terlik up to 35, telogreya 14 to 24 (Sav., p. 114).  However, any dandy could sew onto clothing also rather more buttons: “kaftan broadcloth… 42 buttons long drawn out… loops of gold cord” (Sav., p. 101).  Instead of buttons sometimes were sown special kostyl’ki [little spike?] – klyapyshi, also beautiful and expensive.

As concerns actual decoration not directly fastened to clothing, in the 13th to 18th century there happened a fundamental change.  The ancient colorful tribal costume with its characteristic temple rings died out, and simple women – peasants and city dwellers – began to wear rather less ornament.  Following this ancient style one can see in embroidery of headdress and nonmetallic decoration– “pushkakh” [fluffy white down ornaments], “kudryakh” [curls?].  But wealthy women had a multitude of valuables.  The descriptions of property, dowries, wedding contracts, and wills is sprinkled with records of perstni [rings], obruchi (bracelets), monisty [necklaces], and sergi [earrings].  Something of this wealth is preserved in our museums.

Earrings put into the ear lobe appeared as gold or silver rings or small hooks [kryuchek] with ornaments of metal beads or, more often, valuable stones.  Among the ornaments of earrings are named odintsy, dvojni, trojni [single, twin, triplet] (Sav., p. 126; Bazilevich, 1926, p. 6-8).  Even men wore one earing.  This ancient custom traced, as we have seen, already from the 10th century, existed also in this period.  Moscow great prints Ivan Ivanovich in the year 1356 willed to his under age children – Dimitri and Ivan – one earring with pearls each.

On the neck women more the monisto – a necklace [ozherel’e] in our modern idea of the word.  Sometimes also grivna.  The man’s grivna in the 13th to 16th century is not recorded.  The monisto was made of beads, more or less expensive, depending on the fortune.  On the wrist were worn bracelets [obruchi, literally hoops], on the fingers – rings [perstni].  Rich women wore on every hand several bracelets and rings.  Men’s gold rings were called zhikovina or napalok. The ryasy – strands of pearl grains – decorated women’s headdress, zanoski – little gold chains [tsepochki] for crosses and simple gold chains [tsepki] were worn on the neck (Bazilevich, 1926, p. 28-29).

Here is an example of the set of expensive ornaments of a wealthy Russian woman at the end of the 15th century: “2 earrings yakhonty [ruby/sapphire], and another laly [valuable stone, often ruby, sapphire]… 3 earrings, 3 yakhonty, and a 3rd laly… necklace large gold and 3 bracelets gold… necklace on gajtan [cord/braid]… 2 bracelets gold… and 3 bracelets gold… rings gold 17” (DDG, No 87, p. 349-350).  “Earrings pearl twin – rings 8 gilded… 2 little chains silver” were given in the end of the 17th century in a rich dowry in the city of Rostov (AYuB., III, No 328 –V, p. 267-269).  “Lace pearl on hat of value ruble… zolotnik [1/6 ounce measure, spangle, grain, piece of native gold?] pearl with ¼ [chetvert’yu] value 20 altyn [a 3-kopecks coin]… koshel’ki (earrings, braided of pearls. – M. R.) value 2 rubles… earrings silver under gold with chains of silver and 2 crosses value 8 grivna” – all this was given in dowry of a dvoryanin [noble] girl from Rovdogor’ya in northern Dvina in 1647. Here is interesting the abundance of pearls and their relatively low value that was characteristic for the Russian north (AGO., r. I, op. 1, No 3, l. 21 – 21 ob.).  In marriage records of ordinary peasants in the 16th century is recorded only silver earrings.


Shoes.  The most widespread men’s and women’s shoe in the 13th to 17th centuries was lapti.  They were worn by almost all peasants and sometimes city dwellers.  There was developed also the production of lapti for sale.

Another type of shoe widespread among ordinary citizens were porshni of approximately the same configuration as we described in the previous chapter.  Finds of leather porshni and their parts are found in excavations in cities, however more rarely then finds of other leather shoes.  Different types were considered morshni or uledi, made of oxen rawhide leather and combining, apparently, a leather bottom with a felt upper (Sav., p. 155).  Part of a leather shoe, lined (beside a felt insole) with felt in order that the foot was covered above, was found once in excavations in Moscow, in Zaryad’e, in a layer of the 16th century (Rabinovich, 1964, p. 228).  It may be that this was the uledi.  Is known a shoe of the porshna type called stupni.  One foreign merchant, living in Pskov in the beginning of the 17th century, translated this name to German word Schuhe (Khorshkevich, 1967, p. 208).

In cities more widespread were choboty, chereviski, and sapogi (Fig. 30).  Choboty and chereviki differed from boots mainly in that, like later shoes:  they were short, without a boot top in the actual idea of this word, and in front could have a slit or was gathered around the leg on a cord-retainer.

In archaeological excavations in Novgorod, Moscow, Pereyaslavl Ryazanskij and other cities parts of choboti and chereviki – are and found often, met mainly in the 13th to 15th centuries (Izyumova, 1959, p. 214; Rabinovich, 1964, p. 288; Shelyapina, 1973, p. 152-153; Oyateva, 1974).  Among them are even some richly decorated with bossing or with openwork ornament.  In later cases, probably, in little holes were passed through colored threads, forming many-colored patterns.  The majority of objects were made of black leather, but there were also more ordinary choboty of various colors and materials – Moroccan leather, satin, velvet (the fabric – with embroidery) (Sav., p. 165-166).

Boots [sapogi] (the most widespread shoe of city dwellers), as before, had a relatively short boot top.  “The boots they wear for the most part are red and moreover very short, such that they do not reach to the knee, and the sole is nailed on with iron tacks” – wrote S. Gerbershtejn in the 16th century about Muscovites (Gerbershtejn, 1906, p. 123). Boots, like also bashmaki, were made of different sorts of leather.  Expensive ones were not only black or red, but also yellow and green; a special variety of colors distinguished Moroccan leather shoes.  By way of decoration widely was used embossing, by which a more complex pattern was imprinted on the boat top, and on the front of the boot was embossed more often an imitation of the natural creases of leather, but more regular and fine.  Besides that, sometimes the edge of the boot top was decorated with colored material, and the whole boot covered with valuable embroidery.  Thus in the year 1252 prince Daniil Galitskij wore, “sapogi green x”za [хъза]embroidered gold” (PSRL, I, STB. 814). In the 17th century in northern Dvina, in Rovdogor’e, to a wealthy bride in the dowry was given 2 pairs of boots: “sapogi calfskin red with silk and another sewn” (AGO, I, No 3, l. 21 ob.).

Styles of boots and bashmaki changed agreeing with fashion in depending on the availability of various sorts of leather.  As we already said, the more ancient shoes were made of thin leather and were therefore soft, sewn with the turned-out method.  The sole was made of several layers of leather.  Soft boots – ichegoty, chedygchi (this name is of Turkish origin) – were even in the 16th and 17th centuries (Sav., p. 43).  But beginning with the 14th century, there appeared also thick, hard soles.  E.I. Oyateva noted that of 110 fragments of boots, found in the layers of the 14th-17th century in Pereyaslavl Ryazanskij, 103 were boots of hard construction and only 7 – soft (Oyateva, 1974, p. 189-192).  For this gradually changed to sew also symmetric souls “on both feet”.  In cases, described E.I. Oyateva, even the soft shoe was in the majority asymmetrical:  on the right or on the left foot, and only one example was symmetrical.  Soles were sewn to the front and, for strength, nailed on with nails, and on the heel – even a horseshoe [a curved metal reinforcement like in some modern cowboy boots?], the back packed with birchbark. In the 16th and 17th centuries became predominant shoes on a medium or high heel.  The heel was made of many layers of leather, sometimes fastened on with metal brackets, and nailed on also a metal horseshoe. The toe of the boot and bashmaki, depended on the fashion, was rounded or a little turned up (the narrow toe of the sole was sewn with a special slit in front for this).

Along with fashionable urban shoes in the sources of the 17th century are noted also “boots men’s peasant” (T. Vor. UAK, V, No 8108/1882, p. 506-507), probably, such were working boots of the bakhil [a peasant work shoe] type. In the majority of cases sources do not make a distinction between holiday, every day, and work shoes of men and women.

Besides the choboty, chereviki and sapogi that, S.A. Izyumova defined still half-boots – with more short boot top than sapogi, and a soft (without birchbark packing) back (Izyumova 1959, p. 205, 213).  However written sources of the time of the Middle Ages did not know such a term, and we are forced to consider the half boot as a type of boot.

All the more widespread were chulki– “knitted” [probably naalbinding] and sewn of silk material.  Warm chulki were lined with fur.  The length of the chulki was, obviously, varied (in the description of the property of Ivan the Terrible were listed chulki “full” and “half-full”). Chulki were worn on garters (Sav., p. 168). The C.O. Klyuchevskij considered that “knitted” shall be redistributed only in the 15th century (Klyuchevskij, 1867, page 190). Savvaitov also distinguished “chulki knitted of German make”. However, as already was said, knitted chulki were also of local production.

On the hands they wore rukavitsy [mittens] – rukavki [long women’s gloves?] and perchatki [gloves] – rukavki perschatye, that is with all fingers.  They were made of leather, Morrocan leather, “knitted”, broadcloth, and finally, of silk and gold material.  Rich rukavitsy were decorated with valuable embroidery.  They had cuffs – zapyast’ya, which were mainly for decoration, like also the back side of the hand.  “Warm” mittens and gloves were on fur, “cold” ones –simply on a lining.

An important addition to the costume were the richly embroidered platochki [little kerchiefs] – shirinki of linen, heavy cloth, muslin, plain calico, and various silk materials. A special role it played in meals, visiting, and various rituals about which we will speak below.

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