When the words "Russian peasant" are pronounced, the majority of compatriots have before their eyes a powerful man with a beard and a hat, with a tired expression on his face, modestly dressed and shod in sandals with onuchi. The last couple will be discussed today.
How exactly and where did the bast shoes come from in Russia, and most importantly, how many of them did the Russian peasant need for the season?
It is very difficult to say when exactly bast shoes appeared in Russia. Among the written sources, the Tale of Bygone Years was one of the first to recall them, and if you believe its text, then in the 10th century Russian people already knew bast shoes.
However, it is quite obvious that this type of footwear is even more ancient and the moment of its appearance most likely goes back to the time of the resettlement of the Slavic tribes to the lands where we all live today. This means that you can safely discard 3-4 centuries. But why bast shoes?
The answer is really simple: there is no affordable alternative and no production technology.
Leather footwear was known, but its creation was an expensive and complicated matter, and therefore, until the 19th century, only the wealthiest members of society could afford it. The poorest strata, including the peasants, had to be content with wooden and grassy footwear.
Bast shoes - shoes are quite simple, but at the same time quite practical. In any case, in the absence of any other alternative. They are made from bast strips by weaving. The more strips were used for weaving, the tighter the sandals were. Depending on this, they could be "fives", "sixes", "sevens" and so on, according to the number of bands used.
The thinnest bast shoes were usually made for late spring and summer, the thickest bast shoes - for winter. For many it will be a discovery, but there were even festive sandals: these were decorated with patterns and dark woolen braid.
The shape and weaving of bast shoes could change depending on the region of the Slavic lands, but the technology of their production as a whole remained unchanged.
It should be noted that wicker shoes were made not only in Russia. They knew this technology very well in many other regions of Europe, including France and Spain. The principle of creation and the material for weaving in the local bast shoes is most often the same as in the Russian lands. Among the northern peoples, including the Finns, there is a direct ideological analogue of bast shoes, wicker shoes made of straw are shtroshu.
It is quite obvious that bast strips are not the most durable material. Even in modern shoes, the sole is noticeably worn out, what can we say about shoes woven from natural materials. In winter, in the presence of frost and snow, bast shoes served the longest. They wore out in about 10-15 days.
In many ways, the shoes served longer due to the fact that people walked less on the street during the day. In the summer, bast shoes wore out the fastest. Since the peasant was on his feet almost all the time, even well-woven sandals were worn out in 4-5 days, after which they had to be changed. Thus, a Russian peasant had to sew 1-2 pairs of bast shoes per person per week. True, children and women often walked barefoot.