Flax and cotton threads, branina, cross stitching

Wool, weaving, satin stitch embroidery, cross stitching

Red calico, silk ribbons, fringe, wool and cotton threads, branina, colored interwoven stitch

Galloon, spangles, beads, wool, braid, chintz

Pozatylen (back part of a headdress)
Galloon, wool, beads stringing

Cloth, beads, little beads, stringign

Breast Decoration
Beads (strung)

An outstanding collection of national costume, festive aprons, ponyovas and beaded decorations was put together by V. A. Faleeva in Kaluga Gubernia. It is interesting to note that some of the ponyovas were woven and embroidered in 1940 — that is how long this traditional costume was worn in these parts. The rich choice of colors, the abundance of embroidery and the sparkling beaded breast and back decorations are stunning.

“The local ponyova is of the old variety, wrapover (i.e. not sewn together at the front), common to all parts of Kaluga Gubernia and much of Oryol Gubernia too. It is made from three cloth panels and gathered at the waist with a spliced woolen string. The ponyova is often tied below the waist, beneath the stomach” (Grinkova 1927).

An open-front ponyova is a rectangle sewn from three cloth panels. Every locality had its own way of wearing it: with one or two laps tucked into the sash making a type of “bag” at the back which was sometimes smoothed out somewhat or, on the contrary, left sticking out, in which case it was known as a “nozzle” (Svyatsky 1910). The ponyova was decorated in one part on the outside, and in another, on the inside. The wrap-over ponyova was worn with an apron in front. However, when peasant women went to town they untucked the ponyova laps as it was considered shameful to go to town with them tucked in.

“Shirts in the Kaluga costume were worn with “bosom” — overhanging the sash, giving the whole a somewhat awkward effect, but one which was considered to epitomize beauty by local standards” (Grinkova 1927).

The bead decorations of the Kaluga peasant women are rare items of beauty. The costume is threaded with beads and glass from top to bottom. The old peasant women from Berezhka village near Zhizdra gave a poetic description of the female costume: “We have flowers in the meadows and our women are like flowers” (Moiseenko, Faleeva 1990, 157).

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