Women’s Hairstyles and Head Ornamentation of the Yakuts in the 18th century
Vestnik arheologii, antropologii i etnografii, 2021, ¹ 4 (55)
Mass Christianization of the peoples of Yakutia (Eastern Siberia) at the end of the 18th century led to the development of a demotic Christianity throughout the 19th century. There were new rules, according to which a woman was not permitted to appear in public with her head uncovered, and therefore the marking function of the hairstyles became obsolete. This could explain the absence of rituals and rules associated with women’s hair and hairstyles in the Yakut culture of the 19th–20th centuries. The aim of this study is to prove a hypothesis, according to which pendants of hair ornamentation duplicate braids, and studying the pendants of the headrest ‘nachel’nik’ allows recreation of women’s hairstyle that had been in use before the period of mass Christianization. The article is based on the analysis of written, material, and visual sources of the 18th–19th centuries. Information about the hairstyles and adornments of the Yakuts is contained within the records of travelers of the 18th–19th centuries. Among the ethnographic works on the peoples of Siberia, one can find drawings depicting maidens and women, where particular attention is given to their hair. These materials were correlated with the data of the archaeological excavations of Yakut female burials of the 18th century. The obtained results were compared with the materials from the 19th century — photographs of women in national costumes and jewelry from museum collections. According to the results of the study, it can be stated that there was a tradition of changing maiden’s hairstyle to woman’s hairstyle in the context of the wedding ritualism. New rules of conduct, social roles, especially regulations on the appearance of women, were formalized in the society in the 19th century with the mass Christianization of the peoples of Yakutia. There were new rules, according to which a woman was not permitted to appear in public with her head uncovered, and therefore the marking function of hairstyles became obsolete. This could explain the absence of rituals and rules associated with women’s hair and hairstyles in the Yakut culture of the 19th–20th centuries.
Keywords: head decoration, hair decoration, hair, braids, rite, tradition, funeral monuments.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Article is published: 23.12.2021
Prokopeva A.N., Institute for Humanities Research and Indigenous Studies of the North of Siberian branch of the RAS, Petrovskogo st., 1, Yakutsk, 677027, Russian Federation, E-mail: email@example.com,