Miscellaneous SIG Headdress Notes

Kikas, kokoshniks, ventsy, oh my!: Liudmila makes a "kokoshnik": I finally finished putting up the pictures illustrating the construction of a crescent-shaped maiden headdress that I call "kokoshnik" for convenience, though it really isn't. The instructions are accessible through my Kokoshnik webpage at http://members.aol.com/LiudmilaV/KOKOSHNIK.htm

timbo@marcon.org ('dak) - Unmarried women in late period wore a kika (like a diadem), a ribbon or a tranparent veil (at least those with the funds). It is unclear whether they wore a kosnik at the end of their single braid. They are described as wearing red ribbon at the end of the braid - perhaps the precursor to the kosnik.

From: MHoll@aol.com (Predslava) - In a message dated 11/9/1999 11:37:33 PM Central Standard Time, LiudmilaV@aol.com writes: > "fata" -- veil, in late period Predslava replies: "fata" does not seem to be a period word. Or did you actually find it in a primary source? A lot of scholars use modern words, when Old Russian words are lacking or unclear, to describe an object, and they don't qualify the use of the modern word. The two words I have encountered in period texts are "ubrus" and "povoi" The exact distinction remains unclear. However, the translucency or transparency that the modern word "fata" brings to mind is quite suggestive -- perhaps married women hid their hair, while maidens might emulate married women, but with a twist -- letting their hair show through the veil. Forms of "povoi" have survived, if not till today, at least into my mother's childhood, and refer to parts or the whole of a woman's headdress (in my mother's village, it referred to a soft, kerchiefy, ribbonny thing -- haven't quite figured out how it looks).

A discussion between Liudmila, Mordak and Predslava:

"I am so swamped with mail right now I can't go into details, but are you sure, Mordak? From what I've read I became convinced that kika was strictly a married woman's weadwear (as was kokoshnik, actually). Kika does not look like a diadem, venetz does, and was worn by maidens. "
'dak responds: Interesting question, Mila. My honest belief is that they are two sides of the same coin ....or hat , in this case. Time and the usage of names is the culprit here I suspect. I have a great miniature icon picture from the 16C showing the various headcoverings, but that does little to distinguish names. The problem lies in name use between period and peasants in the 19th & 20th centuries, when most of the current artifacts were collected for the Historical Museum in St. Petersburg. My take has always been that many Russian headresses of this ilk obviously had origins in Byzantine styles. So even by late period, many of them were already considered very old fashioned and worn mostly on special occasions. Maybe the venetz and the kika are differentiated only in size, weight and formality but serve the same purpose for unmarried maidens.
Liudmila responds: I really need to look this up -- but one piece of support for my position is in Domostroi's wedding ritual part. I know that we are not sure if this part is even period, but it certainly isn't 18th century. Before the wedding the bride is wearing a venetz, and during the wedding her hair is rebraided as befits a married woman, and a kika is put on. During the wedding married women guests wear "ubrusy" with pearls, and "kaptury" in winter (a kaptur is a kind of a fur hat). In a "small" wedding ritual ubrus is prepared for the bride to be worn after she is married.
From MHoll@aol.com: Here's what my favorite historian (N. Pushkareva) says: "The distinctive feature of married women's headdress was that it covered her hair completely. Maidens were free of this severe stricture. They often wore their hair lose or braided it into one braid; the crown was always uncovered. In the wedding ritual, from times immemorial, was the rite of changing the hairdo and the headdress of the bride was one of the most important: a maiden became a woman in the eyes of the society not after her first night with the groom, but before that, when she was adorned with a "baba's kika" -- the headdress of a married woman." [Note by Predslava: "baba" means woman (as opposed to man AND maiden}, not peasant woman or grandmother].
"Finds in excavations of "koruny", "venki", "ventsy", and "venchiki" [PV: all refer to crown-like shapes: "koruna" = "korona" = crown], although rare, allow us to form an image. A narrow band of metal or cloth circled the forehead and was fastened at the nape. The more complex and fancy "venchik" was called a "koruna". A representation of the can be found in the 1073 _Sviatoslav's Izbornik_ ("Virgo" of the Zodiac). [PV: the _Izbornik_ is an illuminated manuscript, sort of a prayer book cum almanac]. The "koruna" had a stiff base covered with fabric (sometimes a roll was placed under the fabric), and had particular ornaments. "Koruny" were mostly special-occasion headdresses of unmarried city women, whereas in the countryside, women wore before their marriage mostly maiden's "ventsy". There are three distinct variants of "ventsy": made of plates (silver, more rarely bronze); a headband made from brocade, or even wool or linen cloth, embroidered and richly trimmed; "venets" made from metallic disks threaded on yarn or leather cords. A maiden's "venets" was a specific ornament of a girl's hair style: often two small braids were plaited at the temples near the , and then threaded through temple rings; another example showed loops of hair held up by the venets in front of the ear (in this case the hair was like a "padding" for the temple ornaments). The woolen maiden's headband was often decorated with fringe (apparently as part of a costume including a woolen skirt, the "poneva"), which is confirmed by a female burial from a XIII Viatich burial mound."
Further on, Pushkareva notes that married women's headdresses were even more richly ornamented. This is page 163-164 in P.'s book _Zhenshchiny drevnei Rusi_. [My translation of this section is available at pushkareva.html.] She documents her statements by references to articles which are mostly the descriptions of archeological finds or publications of manuscripts.

Vasilla says: The style in Vladimir is one (but not "the") of the largest of the flat "fan" shaped hats. It generally is loosely triangular (point at the top center above head, points off to the sides extending from the ears. There's a ornamented netting of metal or beads/pearls for the cap that covers the forehead. These are the types of hats seen in the photos from the turn of the century costume party [the 1903 Ball] that the royal family held prior to their demise.

My hat stands about 10 inches from the top of my head to the top of the peak of the hat. :-)

Question: >My question is this -- is it the shape of the hat, or some sort of infrastructure within the hat, that keps it on your head? - Tasha proud owner of a highly wind-resistant (ie Big Blue Sail)crescent-shaped kokoshnik

Answer: Actually both. The fan portion is shaped to fit on my head much like a modern headband (the u-shaped ones). The back fabric is constructed to cover the back of my head and cup the lower back of my head, using my hair as an anchor (I usually twist my hair into a bun under my pavoynik and ubrus). And the beaded netting on the front also acts as a means to stabilize the whole thing.

Liudmila says: Koruna is a distinct headdress of "venetz" type -- a venetz that has "gorodki" on it, sort of embattlements, coronet-like. This use is late period and post-period (XVIth century and up), though it seems that the name also applied to a venetz with a hat inside worn exclusively by tsaritsas.

"Roga" is another name for "soroka" headdress, also known as "kichka." This type of headwear for married women is known from XII century. The look of the thing is too complex for me to explain in English corectly right now, I will work on my translations and post them when I can...or maybe I can scan the pictures, not sure if it is piracy or not.
Kokoshnik, and here is the scary for me part, is sort of like sarafan in that there appears to be no real evidence of it as such until 1600s. While soroka was an everyday thing, kokoshniks were worn on holidays and were very very dressy. My main reference distinguishes 4 types of them:
1) singlehorned, in three variations, on eof which is crescent-shaped. Spread in central Russia such as Vladimir, Moscow, Yaroslavl, as well as in nearby regions such as Vologda and Vyatka (hhmmm....are those period? must look up)
2) cylinder-like, or pillbox. Used in North-West, including (of course) Novgorod.
3) this one i can't even describe in English right now but since it involved wearing a kerchief I think it is not period (kerchiefs, so traditional in Russia, are not).
4) Doublehorned, or saddle-like kokoshnik -- described pretty much as you would expect by name. Used in Kursk, Orel, and in Kharkov region by russians.
All kokoshniks had countless variations and were kept in familyes for generations as valuables. Kika, by the way, is a Novgorod style of kokoshnik: a pillbox with flattened back and ear flaps...known, again, from 1600s. [Illustrations of regional headresses are available elsewhere on this website.]

Liudmila says: A venets is a type of maiden headwear, and thus leaves the top of the head open. In period it was most likely a highly decorated with pearls and gems cloth-of-gold ribbon, sometimes set on birchbark foundation, worn on the forehead and tied at the back. This headwear is very ancient, though it is not clear to me whether it was called "venets" or not prior to XVIth century. It does not have to have points, You may even remember my complaints at being "advised" not to wear an appropriate for my persona hat (it is not a coronet because it is not metal!). However, in Rus' this style was not at all for nobility -- peasants could wear it all they wanted.

On 1/18/01 LiudmilaV@aol.com answered the following questions: << Can anyone tell me the difference between a kokoshnik and a kika? >>

"I can try. The following is a direct quote from my Collegium class notes, the late period headwear part. If anyone wants details on cited sources, let me know, but beware -- they are all in Russian. I begin with ubrus, in response to earlier discussion about veils. Note that all headdresses listed here are for married women...
When the ubrus was not worn, a married woman's head was often adorned with a "kika." A kika was a soft cap surrounded by a hard "podzor" - a strip of varied width and shape, often wider on top. According to Giliarovskaia (p. 101), fish paste was used to glue plain fabric to a stiff foundation, all of which was then covered in satin or other silk fabric. The front of the podzor (mentioned earlier chelo) was decorated as richly as the owner's income allowed. At the back a piece of velvet or a sable skin covered the nape of the neck, while at the front pearl riasy and a podniz emphasized the whiteness of the wearer's skin.
"Soroka" and "kokoshnik" are the headdresses mentioned in XVI-XVIIth century written sources, but the details of their construction in period can only be inferred from headdresses of the same names worn in Russia through the XIXth century (Rabinovich, p. 81). Rabinovich also suggests that some kind of stiff-based headwear similar to a kokoshnik existed before the XIIIth century, even if it was not known by that name. Sosnina and Shangina (p. 309) refer to soroka as to one of the most ancient Russian headdresses, spread all over Rus' since the XIIth century. They describe post-period soroki as multi-part headdresses incorporating a plain kika-like hat in various shapes covered with a fancy shell, soroka proper. Like kika, it included a pozatylnik. Soroka was sewn of several parts, known as "chelo," wings, and a tail, the word "soroka" itself means "magpie" in Russian.
While soroki could be of any shape in any region, Sosnina and Shangina (p. 117) describe 4 territorial types of kokoshniki. In Central Russia (Moscow, Vladimir, etc.) there existed three variations of a single-horned kokoshnik. The best known and probably oldest version had a soft back and a high, hard front shaped like a crescent with rounded edges or sharp edges lowered to the shoulders. The front of such a kokoshnik was adorned with gold and pearl embroidery, and sometimes with gemstones. The back was also commonly embroidered in gold. Single-horned kokoshniki usually had pearl podniz attached to cover the forehead almost to the eyebrows. In the North-West (Novgorod, Tver', etc.) kokoshniki were cylindrical, or pillbox-shaped. They also had podnizi, and pozatylniki (like kiki), as well as small earflaps. The third type of kokoshniki also existed in some Northern regions, though not widely spread (and most likely not at all in period). Such a kokoshnik had a flat oval top, a protuberance over the forehead, earflaps, podniz, and a pozatylnik. Finally, in the South, a kokoshnik was two-ridged, or saddle-like. Its top was slightly elevated in the front and higher in the back, like a saddle. It was worn in combination with a "nalobnik" - a narrow strip of ornamental fabric tied around the head, as well as a pozatylnik. This type of kokoshnik also does not appear to be period. All 4 types in the XIII-XIXth centuries were commonly worn with "platok," a square of decorative fabric, which leads to a suggestion that period forms of them could be worn with ubrus or other similar head coverings. It is worth noting that kokoshniki were considered to be very fancy headdresses, and were highly valued and passed down through generations. "
Veils, ubrusi, etc.

MHoll@aol.com (Predslava) - In answer to a question about veil styles available to a 10th-12th century Rus in Kiev: Skull cap to cover the hair, a headband to secure the veil to or a hat/kokoshnik/kika/etc. to hold the veil down. The veil itself is a long, scarf-like veil. Let the ends fall down your back, then bring them toward the front right to left, crossing them at the nape. The "scarf" should be long enough to fall below your shoulders. The veils could also, apparently, be square - with weighted corners and beads all over.

Vasilla uses an ubrus that is really simple. Based on research by Mistress Tatiana (not to be confused with Mistress Tatjana), the ubrus is typically a rectangle that is 40-60 cm by 2 meters (if she remembers her dimensions correctly... she uses a width of about 50 or so cm - a lightweight cotton with a loose weave and washed in really hot water and dried on high to make the weave tighten. Then cut the rectangle and finish the edges. The ends of the rectangle can be embroidered with designs.
As for the pavoynik, Mistress Tatjana devised a workable pattern that is a 3" band that encircles the head at the forehead, with a circle that is the top of the cap. Then a third piece that is cut as an elongated semicircle is attached to the back with the curve hanging down on the neck. A drawstring is put on the edge of the curve so that you can gather the edge up under your hair. We use brocades mainly for the band part that will show and do a bit of beading on it. Remember to put an ubrus over it.
She is in the process of rethinking the pavoynik pattern because she thinks there's a more accurate solution, i.e. that the back of the pavoynik is a bit more decorative and that the shape of the cap is a little more form fitting to the head.

On 1/18/01 LiudmilaV@aol.com answered the following questions: << Can anyone tell me the difference between a kokoshnik and a kika? >>

"I can try. The following is a direct quote from my Collegium class notes, the late period headwear part. If anyone wants details on cited sources, let me know, but beware -- they are all in Russian. I begin with ubrus, in response to earlier discussion about veils. Note that all headdresses listed here are for married women.
Ubrus, one of the most ancient Russian head coverings, was an embroidered rectangle of linen or silk (usually red or white) closely draped around the head, with the ends left dangling over the woman's shoulders in front and back. Special decorative pins were used to hold the ubrus in place (Giliarovskaia, p. 100). A XVIth century ubrus of Anastasia Romanovna, first wife of Ivan the Terrible, is made of scarlet taffeta 2 meters long. In the front middle part it is adorned with a blue silk damask rectangle, 40 cm long and 16 cm wide. This rectangle, "ochel'ie," is richly embroidered in pearls and gold with enameled inserts. The embroidery runs along the main body of the ubrus towards its ends. The ends themselves are trimmed with the endings made of 36.5 cm of the same fabric with slightly different embroidery (Iakunina, p. 74 and Figure 32). Unfortunately, my source does not allow establishing the width of the ubrus."

In March 2006, Nadya (hlaislinn@earthlink.net) shares: "I wrote an ebay seller and asked if a rushnyk she was selling would work for an ubrus. She confirmed my theory that ruchnyki were worn as ubrusy for centuries and became modern-day table linens when the restriction on covered hair were lessened last century... Here is her email on rushnyki:

"Stephanie,about ubrus, yes, this towel will be perfect for wearing on the head. It'll look very nice, as ubruses that our ancestors had many centuries ago. Usually the lenth of the ubrus was about 2 metres, so this towel would be perfect for wearing as an ubrus. About plahtka? do you mean an old style skirt??? It modern language it means blanket. You impress me with your knowledge of very ancient Slavic words: Ukrainian and Russian, Polish, Slovenian, Czech words. If you ask any modern Ukrainian or Russian person about meaning of words: ubrus or plahtka , so 100 % of 100% people will not know the meaning of those words. We don't use them in our language any more. Slavik people used them many centuries ago during the times of Kiev's Rus." - Nadya

Temple Rings and Kolti

LiudmilaV@aol.com replies to the following: << According to the book in front of me, the enamel-work items you are describing are called "kolty" (kolt, singular), and the plain metal items are temple rings (visochnye kol'tsa). Since they both hang from a headdress of some sort, I guess the only difference (that we know of) is what they look like. >>
Actually, they are more different from each other than that. Temple rings were flat metal pieces, and could be worn in the hair as well as on a headdress. There was a lot of regional variety in their design. For example, for Slovenie in Novgorod they were made as large rings with diamond-shaped decorations. Viatichi, residents of the Oka valley, wore seven (3 on one side of the face and 4 on the other) seven-bladed rings. West of them, Radimichi wore similar temple rings with seven beams on each. Still farther west, Severyanie wore temple rings made of wire spirals. In many tribes, women wore one or two small wire rings, while Drevlyanie, who lived in the Volyn region, wore multiples of such rings. In Polesie, Dregovichi wore temple rings with added granulated copper beads. Beginning in the XIIth century, the temple rings started to loose their regional specificity. For example, temple rings with three smooth or lacy beads, produced in Kiev, were known all over the Ancient Rus' territory.
Kolty, on the other hand, were hollow metal ornaments (shaped something like closed clamshells or flat balls) decorated with enamel, granulation, or blackening, and secured to the headdress at the temples. They developed later than the temple rings, and were worn primarily by city women.
Most of this information is from: Rabinovich, M. G. Drevnerusskaia odezhda IX-XIII vv. (Ancient Russian dress of IX-XIII cc.). In Rabinovich, M. G. (ed.) Drevniaia Odezhda Narodov Vostochnoy Evropy. Nauka, Moskow, 1986, pp. 40-62. (this volume also has pictures of many regional varieties of the temple rings)

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