Velvet, gold embroidery over cardboard, gold fringe

An important item of women’s clothing was the shugai, an outer garment with long sleeves and a large collar (or no collar), divided in two parts at the waist or below the breast, with pleats below the dividing line. Shugais were festive cloths and made of expensive fabrics (damask, velvet, brocade) and decorated with ribbons, gold galloon and fringe.

Brocade, gold lace

Velvet, gold embroidery

Fabric, gold threads, spangles, purl, lace, mother of pearl, glass, silk, laid embroidery, stringing

The rich costumes of 19th-century Nizhny Novgorod townswomen were usually sewn from factory-made brocade, velvet, damask or silk cloth. The gold and silver patterns woven or embroidered on their various parts make them glitter from head to foot. Favorite ornamental motifs for the gold embroidery were bunches of grapes, roses or carnations as well as bouquets wreathed in winding vines.

These enormous round-topped velvet kokoshniks adorned with galloon and gold embroidery can have a “wingspan” of up to sixty centimeters.

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