The chest decoration in modern life of Bashkir women: on the problem of preserving traditions  

Khasanova Z.F. Ufa, Russian Federation)


              page 135146


The purpose of this article is to study the methods for manufacturing, wearing and ways of use of the Bashkir chest decorations in the end of the 20th beginning of the 21st c. The research area includes the Republic of Bashkortostan and neighboring regions where the Bashkirs live. Information for neighboring regions was collected using the Internet and social networks: VKontakte, Instagram, YouTube. The chronological framework of the study covers the end of the 20th beginning of the 21st c., that is the time of a renaissance of traditions and the growth of interest in them. Field materials collected by the author during the expeditions in 20102019 to different districts of the Republic of Bashkortostan, archival materials, museum collections of Ufa and Internet resources where old and modern photos with Bashkir chest decorations are posted became the source base of the study. The article uses general scientific methods: comparative-historical, and the method of scientific description and analysis. During the collection of field materials, we relied on ethnographic methods, such as in-depth interviews, observation, and photo fixation. To study the current state of tradition, monitoring of social networks was used. Different types of female bibs used to be popular among Bashkirs selter, sakal, hakal, yaga, muynsa, almaizy and others. They were very highly valued and used as essential part of the bride dowry. Chest decorations made of silver coins and real corals were very expensive. Until the end of the 19th beginning of the 20th c., chest decoration retained its ethnic, social, and sacred functions. In the beginning of the 20th c., the traditional culture was undergoing a difficult period. During the hunger years of the 1920s, the period of the creation of collective farms, many Bashkirs were forced to surrender their jewelry for nothing. In the postwar years, very few people still had their authentic national decorations. In the end of the 20th beginning of 21st c., on the wave of mobilization of ethnic identity and revival of interest in traditions, the bib as an ethnic marker became popular again. It has been revealed that there are five basic trends of manufacturing of the Bashkir bibs: from historical reconstructions to highly stylized pieces, from everyday to festive. Nowadays they are worn both for beauty and designating the ethnic identity, traditions, culture, demonstration of national Bashkir ownership. The initial spiritual and guarding function of chest decorations has now been lost.

Key words: Bashkirs, arts and crafts, chest decoration, amulet, protection from evil spirits, Bashkir women's costume.


Funding. This work was carried out according to the state assignment of R.G. Kuzeev Institute of Ethnological studies, Ufa Scientific Centre, Russian Academy of Sciences for 2020 No. AAAA-A18-118041290047.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License

Accepted: 02.03.2020

Article is published: 05.06.2020


Khasanova Z.F.

R.G. Kuzeev Institute of Ethnological studies, Ufa Scientific Centre, RAS, K. Marx st., 6, Ufa, 450077, Russian Federation