Origin: Russia | Eastern Mari culture
Era: Early 20th century (circa 1910-1930)
Condition: poor; heavy wear; repairs; stains; missing sequins; fading; fraying; recommended for display only
Measurements (with garments laying flat):
Across front: 20″
Additional Notes: What this dress lacks in condition it makes up in rarity. A unique handmade garment from the eastern Mari ethnic group living in eastern Russia. Authentic elements of Russian traditional dress are rarely seen on the market and even more rare in the west are pieces belonging to any of the ethnic minorities. This dress is part of the local everyday dress that has clearly seen heavy wear, likely by more than one generation of owners. The embroidery colors have faded from repeated washings, but the ancient protective motifs are still visible in the dense designs that decorate the front opening. All openings of the dress (collar, cuffs, bottom hem) are decorated with red embroidery and trim to protect the wearer from evil spirits. The bottom hem is further embellished with metal sequins and glass beads that are intended to offer additional protection and deflect the evil eye. This would have been layered with other dresses and garments in the fashion shown in the last photo above. The bride on the right of this photo is wearing this style dress between her other garments as evidenced by the red trim at the bottom. A fascinating piece of history that is by no means wearable, but serves as a great link to the past.
Suitable for display only
Early 20th Century (circa 1910-1930)