Table of contents:

The most unusual headdresses of Russian wives in history
The most unusual headdresses of Russian wives in history

In the old days, the headdress was the most significant and elegant piece of a woman's costume. He could tell a lot about his owner - about her age, family and social status, and even about whether she has children.

Image Image

In Russia, girls wore rather simple headbands and wreaths (crowns), leaving the crown and braid open. On the wedding day, the girl's braid was unwound and laid around her head, that is, "twisted". From this rite was born the expression "to twist the girl", that is, to marry her to yourself. The tradition of covering the head was based on the ancient idea that hair absorbs negative energy. The girl, however, could risk showing her braid to potential suitors, but a simple-haired wife brought shame and misfortune to the whole family. Styled "like a woman's" hair was covered with a cap tied at the back of the head - a warrior or a hair worm. A headdress was worn on top, which, in contrast to the girl's, had a complex design. On average, such a piece consisted of four to ten detachable parts.


The border between the Great Russian North and South ran through the territory of the modern Moscow region. Ethnographers attribute Vladimir and Tver to northern Russia, and Tula and Ryazan to southern Russia. Moscow itself was influenced by the cultural traditions of both regions.

The female peasant costume of the southern regions was fundamentally different from the northern one. The agricultural south was more conservative. The peasants here generally lived poorer than in the Russian North, where trade with foreign merchants was actively conducted. Until the beginning of the 20th century, the most ancient type of Russian costume was worn in the southern Russian villages - a checkered poneva (waist-length clothing like a skirt) and a long shirt, the decorated hem of which peeped out from under the poneva. In silhouette, the South Russian outfit resembled a barrel; magpies and kichki were combined with it - headdresses that were distinguished by a variety of styles and complexity of design.


Image Image Image

The word "kika" comes from the old Slavonic "kyka" - "hair". This is one of the oldest headdresses, which goes back to the images of female pagan deities. In the opinion of the Slavs, the horns were a symbol of fertility, therefore only a "mature woman" could wear them. In most regions, a woman received the right to wear a horned kiku after the birth of her first child. They wore a kick both on weekdays and on holidays. To hold the massive headdress (the horns could reach 20-30 centimeters in height), the woman had to raise her head high. This is how the word "boast" appeared - to walk with your nose up.

The clergy actively fought against pagan attributes: women were forbidden to attend church in horned kicks. By the beginning of the 19th century, this headdress had practically disappeared from everyday life, but in the Ryazan province it was worn until the 20th century. Even a ditty has survived:



"Human" was first mentioned in a document from 1328. Presumably, at this time, women were already wearing all sorts of derivatives from the horned kiki - in the form of a bowler hat, paddle, roller. Grown from a horned and a kitsch in the form of a hoof or a horseshoe. The hard headdress (forehead) was covered with richly decorated cloth, often embroidered with gold. It was attached over the "cap" with a cord or tapes tied around the head. Like a horseshoe hanging over the front door, this piece was designed to protect from the evil eye. All married women wore it on holidays.

Until the 1950s, such "hooves" could be seen at village weddings in the Voronezh region. Against the background of black and white - the main colors of the Voronezh women's suit - the kick embroidered in gold looked like the most expensive piece of jewelry.Numerous hoof-like kicks of the 19th century have survived, collected from Lipetsk to Belgorod, which indicates their wide distribution in the Central Black Earth Region.


Image Image

In different parts of Russia, the same headdress was called differently. Therefore, today experts cannot finally agree on what is considered a kick and what is a magpie. The confusion in terms, multiplied by the great variety of Russian headdresses, has led to the fact that in literature, the magpie often means one of the details of the kiki, and, conversely, the kika is understood as a component part of the magpie. In a number of regions, since about the 17th century, a magpie existed as an independent, complexly composed dress of a married woman. A striking example of this is the Tula magpie.

Justifying its "bird" name, the magpie was divided into lateral parts - wings and back - a tail. The tail was sewn in a circle of pleated multi-colored ribbons, which made it look like a peacock. Bright rosettes rhymed with the headdress, which were sewn on the back of the pony. Women wore such an outfit on holidays, usually in the first two or three years after the wedding.

Almost all magpies of this cut kept in museums and personal collections were found on the territory of the Tula province.


The basis of the northern women's costume was a sundress. It was first mentioned in the Nikon Chronicle of 1376. Initially, sundresses, shortened like a caftan, were worn by noble men. Only by the 17th century did the sundress acquire the familiar look and finally migrated to the women's wardrobe.

The word "kokoshnik" is first encountered in documents of the 17th century. "Kokosh" in Old Russian meant "chicken". The headdress probably got its name from its resemblance to a chicken scallop. He emphasized the triangular silhouette of a sundress.

According to one version, the kokoshnik appeared in Russia under the influence of the Byzantine costume. It was worn primarily by noble women.

After the reform of Peter I, which banned the wearing of traditional national costume among the nobility, sundresses and kokoshniks remained in the wardrobe of merchants, burghers, and peasants, but in a more modest version. In the same period, the kokoshnik in combination with the sundress penetrated the southern regions, where for a long time it remained the outfit of exceptionally rich women. Kokoshniks were decorated much richer than magpies and kiki: they were trimmed with pearls and bugles, brocade and velvet, braid and lace.


Image Image

One of the most versatile headdresses of the 18th – 19th centuries had many names and tailoring options. It was first mentioned in written sources of the 17th century as samshura (shamshura). Probably, this word was formed from the verb “shamshit” or “shamkat” - to speak indistinctly, and in a figurative sense - “to crumple, press”. In the explanatory dictionary of Vladimir Dal, samshura was defined as "the Vologda headdress of a married woman."

All headdresses of this type were united by a gathered or "wrinkled" hat. A low nape, similar to a cap, was part of a rather casual suit. The tall one looked impressive, like a textbook kokoshnik, and was worn on holidays. Everyday collection was sewn from a cheaper fabric, and a scarf was worn over it. The old woman's compilation might look like a simple black bonnet. The festive attire of the young people was covered with gimped ribbons and embroidered with precious stones.

This type of kokoshnik came from the northern regions - Vologda, Arkhangelsk, Vyatka. He fell in love with women in Central Russia, ended up in Western Siberia, Transbaikalia, and Altai. The word itself spread with the object. In the 19th century, different types of headgear began to be understood under the name "samshura" in different provinces.


Image Image

The Pskov version of the kokoshnik, the shishak wedding headdress, had a classic silhouette in the shape of an elongated triangle. The bumps that gave it its name symbolized fertility. There was a saying: "How many cones, so many kids."They were sewn onto the front of the shishak, decorating with pearls. A pearl mesh was sewn along the bottom edge - down. On top of the shishak, the newlywed wore a white handkerchief embroidered with gold. One such kokoshnik cost from 2 to 7 thousand rubles in silver, therefore it was kept in the family as a relic, passed from mother to daughter.

The Pskov kokoshnik gained the greatest popularity in the 18th – 19th centuries. The headdresses created by the craftswomen of the Toropets district of the Pskov province were especially famous. That is why the shishaks were often called toropets kokoshniks. A lot of portraits of girls in pearls have survived, which made this region famous.



The cylindrical "heel" was in vogue at the end of the 18th and throughout the 19th century. This is one of the most original varieties of kokoshnik. They wore it on holidays, so they sewed it from silk, velvet, gold lace, and decorated it with stones. A wide pearl underside was worn under the "heel", similar to a small cap. It covered the entire head, because the compact headdress itself covered only the top of the head. "Kabluchok" was so widespread in the Tver province that it became a kind of "visiting card" of the region. Artists who worked with "Russian" themes had a particular weakness for him. Andrei Ryabushkin portrayed a woman in a Tver kokoshnik in the painting "Sunday Day" (1889). The same dress is depicted in the "Portrait of the wife of the merchant Obraztsov" (1830) by Alexei Venetsianov. He also painted his wife Martha Afanasyevna Venetsianov in the costume of a Tver merchant's wife with the indispensable "heel" (1830).

By the end of the 19th century, complex headdresses all over Russia began to give way to shawls that resembled an ancient Russian headscarf - ubrus. The very tradition of tying a headscarf has been preserved since the Middle Ages, and during the heyday of industrial weaving it received a new life. Factory shawls, woven from high-quality expensive threads, were sold everywhere. According to the old tradition, married women wore headscarves and shawls over the warrior, carefully covering their hair. The laborious process of creating a unique headdress, which was passed down from generation to generation, has sunk into oblivion.

Popular by topic