Accessories in Early Rus

Collars, Cuffs, Voshvy, and Borders
"Navesni" decoration

by Sofya la Rus, mka Lisa Kies
Updated 1 April 2007


    17th cent. barma The majority of garments did not have collars. The Russian rubakha in the 13th-17th cent, as in the 9-13th cent. remained "goloshijkoj", literally, bare necked. But a richly embroidered collar, ozherel'e, could be attached to the rubakha, zipun, kaftan and even the odnoryadka as an important ornament. (Rabinovich, 13-17th c.)

    In frescos, the garments of princesses have only turned down collars as in the Byzantine tradition. This ozherelya/pectoral, a circular stiff flat , highly decorated, detached round collar could be worn over the outer rubakha on festive occasions. It was laid over the robes and covered the breast, shoulders and upper back. (Kireyeva) and (Pushkareva97 and 89)

    But among material remains of women's clothing of 12th cent. frequently are found another type of ancient Russian collar - standing. The bottom of these collars preserve traces of fastening to garment (the so-called pristyazhnyye). (Pushkareva89)

    Whatever form the collars took, they were made on stiff base of leather or birchbark, covered with the finest fabrics the owner could afford - silk, velvet or brocade, and expensively embroidered, with colored threads, with gold and silver, pearls and gems. (Kireyeva) and (Pushkareva97 and 89)

    For the wealthy, both men and women, the ozherel'e was embroidered with pearls and decorated with buttons. The ozherel'e sewn with pearls was very valuable. Among the property of a Moscow gentleman was listed an ozherel'e worth 700 rubles, another worth 400 rubles, and two listed as worth 300 rubles each. There were 14 collars in his property all together, both standing and laid-down collars, and the women's seemed to be more expensively decorate than the men's. A fur standing collar was also called an ozherel'e. Prince Obolenskij had one of beaver fur. (Rabinovich, 13-17th c.)

    Collars were preserved in the costume of nobility over several centuries. In the 13-15 cent. embroidered collars were part of garments even of women not of the priviledged class. Such things were transmitted with love from generation to generation. Volotskaya Princess Ul'yana left to her children a precious ozherel'ye embroidered with some 3,000 pearls. (Pushkareva89)

    By the Muscovite period, according to E. Tolmachoff, the wide turned-down circular collars, barmy, were worn exclusively by the highest ranks of royalty and the clergy.

Kolchin's Collars:
    Vorotnik collars - collars attached to the garment, various forms (standing, etc.)
    Ozherl'ya - standing collars that are NOT attached to the garment.
    Ozherl'ya-oplech'e or opleche - wide, flat collars NOT attached to the garment. aka barma
Vorotnik collars:
    In the results of the excavations of cemetery of g. Suzdal were investigated the details of clothing, belonging to collars. They are found in the burials of the end of the 11th to the middle of the 12th cent. The largest group belongs to standing collars with the opening to the left, fewer are collars in the form of square, one collar in the form of a trapezoid, one rounded form, belonging to the so-called "golosheyke" [from golaya sheya, bare neck]. It is interesting that almost in all burials of contact stud of the fastening were located to the left of the necks, including in the burials where the remains of the collars themselves are not found. Exceptions are rare. (Kolchin)

    The details of Suzdal collars are made from Byzantine silk fabric. They are decorated with golden fabric bands, and also with embroidery with silk and gold threads, one collar is decorated with pearl obniz'yu [edging, string] – the work of Old-Russian mistresses [female masters]. (Kolchin)

    For the standing collars are characteristic the presence of a rigid foundation (birch bark, leather), an ornamental strip on the top of the collar and an opening to the left. Their height is 2.5-4 cm. The bottom edge of all the enumerated forms of collars is punctured by needle - traces of fastening to the clothing. The presence of fragments of cloth on the wrong side of the collars make it possible to determine that the clothing itself was both of threads of vegetable fiber and of silk. All forms of collars found in Suzdal, are known in the traditional Russian clothing of the 19-20th cent. and they are characteristic for shirts of different cut. Bringing is the shirts of 19-20 centuries as analogies made it possible to identify the details of standing collars from the burials in comparison with the standing collars of men’s blouses [kosovorotka], and collars in the form of squares and trapezoids in comparison with the adornments on some Russians’ wedding shirts, and also give evidence to transfer the discovered details to the adornments of shirts. (Kolchin)

    The collars of men’s blouses of the 19-20th centuries, just as our collars, are standing with a height of 2.5-3 cm. They are decorated with diverse embroidery and the recent fastening of factory-made buttons are analogous with the ancient closures in the form of metallic ovoid shank buttons, and, as on the Suzdal collars, on the right side of the collar of is sewn the button, and on the left – the thread loop. In late shirts, collars in the form of square and trapezoid, just as on the ancient shirts, are decorated with embroidery and sheathed by ribbon, folded at right angle along the sides of the neck. It has a slit to the left, descending along the left side of collar. In such shirts, fastenings were of various types: on shank buttons and on ribbons. (Kolchin)

    In the archaeological monuments of ancient Russia, the collars of forms described above are widespread. Standing collars are found both in the women’s and in the men’s burials, while collars in the form of squares - are more frequent in the men’s burials. (Kolchin)

    Thus, in Ivanovovkoj province, the collars from the golden-fabric bands which had the square form with the slit/opening to the left were discovered in the men’s burials. Trapezoid-form collars of the golden-fabric bands were established in old Ryazan. All the same, standing collars with the opening to the left are predominant in the monuments of pre-Mongol Russia. They are found everywhere in the strata of Old-Russian cities (in old Rus, in old Ryazan, in Smolensk). They are known also in the treasure hoards. Some of the collars reach a height of 7-7.5 cm. Besides the embroidery, they are decorated with pearls and plaques. (Kolchin)

    Such a wide distribution of standing collars with openings to the left demonstrates the predominance of clothing with the fastening to the left side and its existence in various levels of society. (Kolchin)

    Ozherl'ya (standing ozherelki) were neck adornments similar to the collars described above. They are sewn on to the cloth and frequently underlaid with birch bark or leather. They were not sewn onto the clothing. Usually the entire surface of the ozherlya was covered with embroidery, ornament or golden-fabric ribbon, and also rows of plaques and blocks. Plaques and blocks edged with pearls or beads. Inside the plaques are inserts of stones and colored glass. In contrast to the collars [vorotniki, discussed above], the ornamental strip was decorated with the not-sewn-on ozherlya and from underneath. Judging by the images on the Old-Russian frescoes, standing necklaces were included in the complex of the ceremonial clothing of the upper layers of society. Thus, on a 12th century fresco in the Kirillovskoy church of Kiev is depicted St Evfrosin'ya in rich clothing, embroidered with platelets, with oplech'e [wide collar, see below] and standing ozherlya. The latter is differentiated from our ozherelki in the fact that the fastening of the stoechka [literally, stand] was located in the center of the collar. (Kolchin)

    Both ozherelki and the plaques from them are known not only in the complexes of rich burials and treasure hoards, but also in the layers of Old-Russian cities, and also in rural kurgans. In 12-13 centuries they are widely extended throughout the entire territory of Russia, including the outlying lands. (Kolchin)

    In the Russian folk costume of the 19-20th centuries were widely disseminated neck adornments in the form of stoyechki, which were made on a rigid foundation, decorated with pearls, beads, embroidery and rows of plaques. (Kolchin)

    Ozherl’ye -oplechye are on top of ceremonial dress and made of cloth with adornments. In the literature it is still called a barma. Fragments from similar oplech'ya, decorated on the chest with silk gold fabric, golden-fabric bands and metallic plaques with insets of glass and carnelian, were discovered in Chernigov near the foundation of the 12 cent. church of St. Mikhail. The hem of this dress was also decorated with plaques. The image of a dress with a similar oplech'em can be seen on the frescoes of Kiev’s Sofia cathedral and on the above-indicated 12 cent. fresco of Kirillovskoy church in Kiev. Such oplech'ya decorated both women's and men’s dress. (Kolchin)

    Remains from the necklaces are found not only in the ancient tombs, but also in the rural kurgans. In contrast to the magnificent oplechiy known these represented breast adornments of inexpensive silk cloth with embroidery and they finished the top of clothing obviously sewn from homespun fabric. Thus, in Moscow region (Domodedoj region) in the female burial of kurgan 5 near d. Novlenskoye in 1969 was discovered a fragment of silk cloth. It lay on the chest. At the collar [neck opening], the fabric was sheathed with a golden-fabric band. On the cloth was preserved embroidery of gold thread in the form of cherekh-petalled [cherekh probably supposed to be chetyre, or four] rosette. Inside the petals of the rosettes are sewn embossed plaques from gilt silver. Plaques stamped into a triangular form are inverted in the center of the rosettes. On them were three holes for the sewing to the cloth. Date of the burial – 12th cent. (Kolchin)

    One additional so-called ozherlya was found near the Pushkin railroad station in the Moscow region in 1925. The ozherlya was made up of several fragments of silk. Its separate fragments are put together into a rectangular piece of cloth. It was sheathed by golden-fabric ribbons along all sides. Sewing is made gold and silk threads "into prikrep" [v prikrep]. The ornament of embroidery represented four trees inscribed into round medallions. This, more likely, chest ornament, the so-called "voshva". Analogous ozherl’ya are known also in several burials of the Moscow, Ivanovo and Vladimir provinces. They are known in both women’s and men’s burials. (Kolchin)

    Zarukavya The sleeves could be without trim, or sometimes they were finished with a zarukavya, a narrow ornamented cuff. Pushkareva states that the sleeves were held up by "naruchami" - hoops, bracelets, which are frequently found in women's burials. (I'm not sure what the exact difference is, if any, between the poruchiv (Stamerov's term), the zarukavya (Kireyeva's term), and the naruchej (Pushkareva's term). (Pushkareva89.)

    19th cent. poruchi Rubakha sleeves were sometimes finished with naruchi, narrow ornamented cuffs which helped hold up the extra long sleeves. These cuffs often made of rich golden fabric with couched metallic wires, pearls and gemstones, much like the ozherelya collar. The sleeves might also be fastened at the wrist with bracelets. (Pushkareva89)

    Similar to the ozherel'ye collars were embroidered cuffs called zarukav'ya or zapyast'y and these were also widespread in men's and women's clothing in the 13th-17th centuries. For example, when upper clothing with folding/collapsing sleeves were worn, the wearer could put their hands through the splits near the armholes and show off valuable zarukav'ya buttoned/fastened to the rubkakha, zipun, or kaftan. (Rabinovich, 13-17th cent.)

    See also the Bracelets on the Women's Jewelry Page.

    Opyast'ya (cuff of sleeve, zarukav'e), poruchi - known as the name of opyastij in the clothing of clergymen. Finds of the adornments of sleeves, opyastij, in the Old-Russian monuments are extremely rare. (Kolchin)

    A well-preserved opyast'e is found in the tomb of Prince Vladimir Yaroslavich, dead in 1052. The opyast'e is a rectangular piece of fabric with a length of 23 cm and a width of 4.5 cm. Two buttons are sewn on one of the short sides, on the other - thread loops. The distance between them is 20 cm. The cloth is red satin weave. Gold embroidery is located on it. Ornament consists of the strip of krinov [fleur-de-lis type motif], inscribed into the heart-shaped figures, between which are stitched sprouts, folded at the base with triangular expansions in their upper part. (Kolchin)

    From the 12th cent. were preserved the famous poruchi in the form of trapezoids, belonging to Varlam Khutynskiy. On them were preserved figural/facial and ornamental sewing with gold and silk thread, and also pearl obniz' [edging, outline] (Kolchin)

    Findings of opyastiy in the [rural] kurgans are almost unknown. M.T. Fekhner reports only about one sleeve decoration from the meeting GIM. It was preserved on the right of forearm of the burial, found in the Moscow region. It is decorated with golden-fabric ribbon. The absence of opyastiy in the kurgan burials is evidence that the expensive imported fabrics and ribbons were not sewn on opyastiya of burial clothing - they were decorated only with the collar [vorot]. (Kolchin)

    Detachable, highly ornamented appliques of expensive fabric...
    Kajma [border] - ribbon/band, used for the edging of clothing (oshivka, voshva). The researchers of ancient Russian clothing have already long ago focused attention on the fact that the clothing of pre-Mongol time was edged by various ribbons. Among the archaeological cloths of GIM a large quantity of material belongs to the diverse ribbons, coming from ornament of the edge of clothing. M.A. Novitskaya investigated silk fabrics, including ribbons with embroidery, found in the Ukraine. On the position of the details on the clothing was not preserved any information. Using information, gotten in the ancient monuments of art (on frescos, icons, in the written sources, etc.), she compared the archaeological material with the adornments of the different details of ceremonial clothing. Of the entire mass of material (ochel'ya, opyast'ya, ozherl’ya, collar [vorotnik]) she isolated the ribbons, which went into the adornments of "hems, edges of cloaks – korzno [cloak], and ribbons which were located vertically along the middle of the dress". (Kolchin)

    As the example of the cloth which decorated dress "from top to bottom", from the collar to the hem, it is possible to give one of the fragments of the 1903 Mikhajlovsk hoard in Kiev. This is a strip of cloth with a width of 14 cm. It is cut from silk of a dark-pink color. On it was stylized plant ornamentation, made by gold thread. The ornament on the fragment indicated it was laid vertically and consisted of two figures located in parallel. Ornament with vertically laid figures exists on the fragments from the Vladimir hoard of 1865. A twisted/twining vine/twig is depicted on it, and the fragment itself is folded in half on a vertical line, this last fact makes it possible to presume that the kajma decorated the edge of front-opening [raspashnoj] clothing or imitated such an edge, imitating the known ceremonial clothing. Obviously, for the bands which decorated dresses from top to bottom, it was characteristic to place the ornament along the ribbon. (Kolchin)

    In recent years in the southern Russian steppes in the 10th cent. graves of Pechenego-Khazarskogo area and in the Polovetskij kurgans of the 12th cent. were discovered clothing of the short caftan type. The Byzantine kajma on the Polovets caftan is analogous to the kajma from the old-Russian Sharogoroda, which gives the right to assume that and the kajma from Sharogoroda are related to the caftan. A caftan is depicted on the 12 cent. fresco of the Kirillovskoy church of Kiev. (Kolchin)

    From the Old-Russian hoards are known wider kajma. With them, as proposes M.A. Novitskaya, were decorated the hem of the long clothing, similar to the clothing depicted on the fresco of Sofia's cathedral in Kiev, where it is possible to see the group portrait of the family of Yaroslav Mudry, and also on the fresco of Sofia's cathedral in Novgorod, where Prince Yaroslav Mudry is represented. A wide kajma is known from Vladimirskoj hoard of 1865. The kajma is made from many-layered [mnogoslojnoj] silk byzantine cloth. On it – a stripe/chevron of gold thread in the form of triangles, filled out ornamentation in the form of bindweed [v'yunka] with krinami [fleur-de-lis like motif].

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