Ukraine

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Towel avaThese are Ukrainian ceremonial towels used as wedding and ritual accessories and décor items. Many countries around the world have this accessory in their folk culture, especially Slavic countries, but the design of ceremonial towels (by the way, they are called “rushnyk” in Ukraine) you’ll see below is very unique and unusual. We’re not sure if you can find such colorful and naive ornaments anywhere else on this planet. These ceremonial towels impress by their cheerfulness.

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Podillia shirt avaAn embroidered shirt was the basic garment, both male and female, on the territory of modern Ukraine since Kyivan Rus’ or even earlier. It was an underwear item, on top of which people put trousers, skirts, outer garments, etc. Only some parts of these shirts were usually visible – sleeves, cuffs, neckline, sometimes the front, and the hem in women’s shirts. That’s why only these sections were adorned with embroidery. In this material, we’ve gathered for you cute female shirts embroidered with predominantly red threads, predominantly white threads, or predominantly black treads. They have a stylish and sophisticated look.

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Podillia men avaIt is true that Ukrainian museums and private collections have a very limited collection of authentic male embroidered shirts. Usually, such shirts were so worn down that people simply didn’t donate them to museums. So, we’re more than happy to share with you a few extremely beautiful and sophisticated men’s shirts embellished with whitework and other embroidery techniques. They are in mint shape and overwhelm you with their uniqueness and the amount of labor and skill needed to produce such artful pieces of clothes.

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Galicia avaIn the mid-13th century, Kyivan Rus’ fall into pieces after the Mongol invasion. And one of these pieces – the Kingdom of Galicia-Volhynia – was ruled by the king Daniel of Galicia. Historians know exactly how he looked like and dressed. So, let’s see on his example and the example of his closest royal men, what clothing the European royalty wore in the 1200s. The outfits we’ll show you are modern and very accurate replicas of authentic costumes. Though, they are exhibits in a museum and so are made from cheaper materials – no gold, real pearls and gems, etc.

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Rushnyk1 avaUkrainian embroidered ceremonial towels from different parts of the country look alike; there are certain rules as to how they should be made, what embroidery patterns should be used, and so on. But there is a small region in Ukraine that is famous for its absolutely special and unique ceremonial towels. Just look at these embroidery designs! They are so childish, so cheerful and bright, so unlike any other in the world, they catch your eye immediately and brighten up your mood. In modern life, such art pieces could be used to kill depression.

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Podillia avaThere is a huge variety of Ukrainian folk embroidery patterns used to decorate the clothing. In the past, every woman made unique shirts, there weren’t two identical garments because it is too boring to hand-embroider several shirts with the same pattern. These pieces we’d like to show you are not like the modern machine-made clothing, they are personalized and one of a kind. These are embroidered shirts from Vinnytsia region (Central Ukraine), the mid-19th – mid-20th century.

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Pocket avaThe pocket is a fairly modern invention, at least if to talk about pockets as we know them now. First pockets appeared in the 1600s, but they were separate items attached to a belt or to the waist. Much later, in the late 19th – early 20th century, pockets became sewn to the clothing. Ukrainian folk dress of the 1700s-1900s also had various pockets. And in most cases, they were beautiful and ornate because they served not only to carry goods but were used as adornments of the outfit. Let’s see how they looked like.

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Cossack avaNot many people around the world know but in the 16th-18th century on the territory of modern Ukraine, were formed special semi-military communities of local people called “Cossacks”. They were fierce warriors and skilled horse riders. They were something like elite military forces in the area, and their clothes deserve our attention. In this material, we’d like to show you how they looked like and what they wore. Mostly, these are wealthy Cossacks and the military leaders, so their outfits are lovely. But their weapons are always more ornate, exquisite, and expensive than the costumes.

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Clothing avaUkraine is a comparatively large country, so its clothing traditions are diverse. Ukrainian folk costumes can vary so much that it seems like the outfits belong to different countries. Sure, every geographical area has its own peculiarities and typical features in traditional embroidered clothing, but some of them are more distinct than others. For instance, the central regions of Ukraine are characterized by a very special embroidery technique – the whitework. It doesn’t mean that all the authentic costumes are embroidered with white threads but the majority really are.

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Shoes avaUkrainian authentic shoes may look a bit weird but that’s what people wore 100 years ago. This footwear was not as comfortable as modern high-tech shoes, but these pieces fit their time. And, as you see, our ancestors used to put a lot of effort, taste, and time into making every small clothing article, including shoes – they often are adorned with embroidery, beading, cutting, and stamping on leather, even the buckles were decorative. Such vintage footwear is now displayed in museums and kept in private collections, but looking at these shoes, you can easily imagine people wearing them in daily life.

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Crib avaThere are many specific clothing traditions regarding children in Ukraine. In the past, people used to pay a lot of attention to kid’s costumes. Most of the old customs originated from ancient beliefs that only amulets and protective patterns can keep a child safe – several hundred years ago mothers didn’t know much about viruses, bacteria, immunity, etc., so they protected their babies with sacred knowledge they had. Let’s find out more about the authentic clothing of Ukrainian kids.

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Gorgeous avaThese very elegant, ornate, and colorful wedding costumes are traditional bride&groom’s outfits used in Ukraine 100 years ago. The wedding clothes had to be bright and eye-catching so that each guest could distinguish the bride from the crowd. The costumes in this collection are complemented with modern bridal wreaths and jewelry – wonderful pieces that are replicas of authentic Ukrainian accessories or unique products of artisans’ imagination. Enjoy the bright colors and lovely wedding dresses!

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Sample avaThese are a collection of striking embroidery samples from Ukraine. They are beautiful, very delicate, and seem simple but are charming when you pay attention to details. And it doesn’t matter the embroideries are machine-made. Most of these embroidery patterns are whitework, which is typical for Central Ukraine. Some designs have teeny-tiny spots of red or blue intertwined with white. Some even are created with several different colors and shades. But isn’t whitework the most noble-looking and sophisticated needlework ever?

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Western2 avaTraditional male garments from the 19th – early 20th century seldom get to museum exhibitions because they are too worn and can’t be preserved in good enough condition. Also, men had fewer clothing articles than women – 100 years ago or today, it’s all the same! So these costumes are that much more valuable. Welcome here to view several beautiful men’s handmade and hand-embellished outfits from Ternopil region of Ukraine.

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Embroidery avaIn the past, when most clothing pieces in Ukraine were handmade (woven, sewn, and decorated by hand), there was a comparatively little assortment of thread dyes available. The most popular were read&black colors of embroidery, but in some areas, people preferred white threads, indigo-dyed threads, or colorful patterns (yellow, brown, green, blue, orange, etc.). If a 17th-18th-century woman saw modern mouline threads with hundreds of colors and shades, they would be wonderstruck.

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Tools avaWe’ve already published lots of photos of vintage spinning & weaving tools (Vintage wooden spinning and weaving tools, Old Ukrainian spinning and weaving tools. 5,000-year-old loom, etc.), but there’s never enough because every piece is handmade, thus unique and special. This collection of female craft tools (usually, women did the spinning, weaving, embroidering, etc.) is exhibited in Reshetylivka museum, Poltava region of Ukraine. They are wooden, they are hand-produced, and they are worn – remember that they’re at least 100 years old.

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Western avaThe national clothing of Ukraine can be so ornate and beautiful that foreigners find themselves captivated or even taken aback by the view. We’ve prepared for our readers a number of photos which show Ukrainian folk dress in detail – headdresses, embroidery patterns, accessories, jewels, etc. The costumes are from western (Ternopil, Ivano-Frankivsk, Chernivtsi) and central (Poltava) regions of the country. Let’s admire these showpieces together.

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Spin weave avaThe traditional spinning and weaving tools are similar around the world: weaving looms, spinning wheels, spindles, combs, flying shuttles, etc. But because these items are handmade, each and every one of them is unique and original. Some of these tools are roughly and crudely made, others are delicate and decorated with intricately carved patterns. Here are images of vintage – appr. 100-year-old – spinning and weaving tools from Ukraine. Really charming stuff!

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Couple avaAt the beginning of the 20th century, people in Ukraine still wore folk clothes in day-to-day life, especially women. Mostly, the outfits were handmade, but fabrics were already industrially-made. And the embroidery designs on costumes changed in the 20th century – floral patterns replaced geometric, cross-stitch replaced more authentic stitches. At the same time, Ukrainian men started to wear military uniforms after World War I, which they’d brought from the battlefields. Such outfits were more affordable and cheaper than to produce clothing by yourself. Here are a few photos of authentic costumes and replicas from that era.

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Doll avaThis is a fine collection of motanka dolls from Reshetylivka museum, Poltava region of Ukraine. Motanka doll is a traditional Ukrainian toy made from yarn and fabric. It is a little bit similar to the famous American rag doll, but motanka is usually produced without any sewing. These particular dolls are dressed in folk costumes of Ukraine. All the woven and embroidered garments are real but tiny, just like jewelry pieces, headwear, and other accessories. It’s a great tradition to make such motanka dolls for kids.

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Fashion avaBrides in Ukraine traditionally wore very large, ornate, and beautiful wreaths for their wedding. Today, women prefer veils or hats as bridal headwear, but in the 17th-19th century, all of them used wreaths, which showed their marital status. We’d like to show you a nice collection of such headdresses of various shapes, designs, made from different materials, using different techniques. These pieces are modern but very accurate replicas of authentic bridal wreaths from the 19th century.

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Wreath avaIn Ukraine, there was a tradition for young girls who were ready for marriage and for brides to wear a wreath – female headdress made from fresh or artificial flowers, fabric, straw, or wood and embellished with beads, sequins, flowers, coins, pom-pons, metal adornments, etc. The wreath was a symbol that showed a woman’s marital status. It could be round or horseshoe-shaped. And the bridal wreaths were really ornate and exquisite. Here are some examples of such festive and wedding wreaths from the 19th – the beginning of the 20th century.

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Weaving avaIn the old days, fabrics were handmade only and people invented different tools that helped them make the cloth. For instance, various spinning and weaving tools. On the territory of Ukraine, the first evidence of woven fabric date back to the Cucuteni-Trypillia culture (appr. 4800-3000 B.C.). Although Ukrainians usually use industrially-produced fabrics today, there are still many vintage spinning&weaving tools in local museums, private collections, and in possession of artisans who still produce hand-woven cloth.

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ukrainian wreath avaHeadwear is among those most informative accessories ever. They can give info about gender, age, marital status, social class, financial well-being of a person, etc. And Ukrainian folk headdresses are no exception. Today, we’d like to show you the best, most unusual, and even bizarre headgear that occurs in this rich European culture. While day-to-day headpieces were very alike throughout the country, the bridal and festive headdresses often varied in different regions. So, let’s have a look at all those coifs, kerchiefs, headbands, wreaths, bonnets, and other female headdresses used in Ukraine since ancient times till now.

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Boots avaRecently, we’ve got a rare opportunity to dive into a museum storage and make photos of exhibits that are seldom seen by ordinary visitors. Usually, you’re able to observe such vintage pieces only through glass, and even then, only some of them are exhibited. So, this is your chance to see authentic Ukrainian shoes from the 19th-20th century in detail. This footwear is from different regions of the country, made from various materials, decorated with various embellishments, and produced by skillful artisans. The shoes in this collection are male, female, and – more often than you would think – unisex.

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Hutsul avaThe Hutsul clothing tradition is interesting because of its peculiarities and uniquity. Local craftsmen were (and still are) especially skilled in working with leather and metal. We’ve already written about Ukrainian traditional jewelry made from brass. And now, we’d like to talk about folk clothing accessories used in the Carpathian region – ornate leather shoes, belts, and bags. These pieces are so very beautiful and remarkable that we can’t miss the opportunity to show them to you.