Библиотека нематериального культурного наследия Республики Башкортостан
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Necklace is a women's traditional jewelry, an addition to festive and everyday clothing. Necklace as a jewelry contains a deep philosophy of Bashkir mythology. According to popular beliefs, the human soul is located in the area of the thyroid gland. Therefore, it was necessary to leave the «entrance» at the neck in order to let the good forces pass to the soul and to put up protection from evil spells in the form of pattern-amulets, corals, coins.
The upper part of the necklace was embroidered with densely arranged corals forming rhombuses, circles and semicircles. In the center of such circles could place a shell – kortbash, which meant «eye of the dragon» – a talisman against evil spirits, semicircles of coral threads were a hint of the solar sign, meaning the sun, energy, life.

The selection of materials for jewelry among Bashkir women was due to the belief in their magical properties. Silver was attributed to a protective, cleansing power, its brilliance and ringing – to the ability to drive away evil spirits, therefore, there were many noisy silver pendants in the suit. The scarlet beads of corals symbolize the genesis, the beginning of a new life.
According to the «Bashkir encyclopedia», necklaces were an addition to festive, ritual and everyday women's clothing. It were worn on a dress (kuldak) or camisole. Jewelry consisted of a dense base – cloth or thin felt trimmed with red cloth, on which corals, beads, cowrie shells and coins were sewn. Heavy necklaces that weighed up to 5–6 kg, with a large number of corals and coins, were mostly worn by married women. Girls' costumes were mainly decorated with necklaces made of woven coral threads.

The book «Bashkir folk clothing» (author – S. N. Shitova) says that ethnographers have repeatedly emphasized the social and symbolic function of jewelry. Coins, corals and other luxury items sewn on necklaces were an indicator of the wealth of a family, testifying to a person's definite place in society. Despite the high cost of necklaces – some of them at the end of the 19th century were equal in value to the price of a horse or a cow – they were numerous at the beginning of the last century. Many of them ended up in museum collections.
The necklaces were called differently: selter, sakal, khakal, yaga, muiynsa, bashkizeu, almizeu, etc. Each of the names was adopted by a limited local group of Bashkirs. These terms often indicated different types of necklaces: the shape, the ratio of coral and silver, the manner of the location of the stripes on the fabric differed.
Southeast and South
Features of the necklace of the southeastern and southern Bashkirs – selter:

• massive elongated trapezoidal shape;

• there is a cutout near the neck;

• wide attached belt and supporting straps;

• in the upper part of the necklace a dense pattern in the form of circles and semicircles was laid out with corals. The edges were trimmed with coins;

• the middle part was marked at the waist level with several horizontal rows of coins;

• the lower part consisted of a coral mesh which ended with a coral fringe (fringe is a corals strung on a wire or thread with coins at the ends – toyak);

• it covered the chest and went down below the waist by 15–20 cm.
Corals in combination with coins predominated in the necklaces of the Southeast. This type of necklaces, with three or four rows of coins at the waist, were worn by the Bashkir tribes Burzyan, Tangaur and Usergan – mainly in the southern regions of this territory.
Eastern Trans-Urals
The necklace of the north of the Uchalinsky district, Chelyabinsk and Kurgan regions – yaga:

• trapezoidal shape: jewelry rounded at the top and slightly widening downwards;

• the edges were trimmed with rows of coins and corals;

• in the upper part the coins were sewn in tiers, from the sides – in several columns overlapping each other. In addition to coins jewelry medallions, mother-of-pearl circles and carnelian plates were used.

• the middle part of the necklace was decorated with a mesh of corals, coins, sulpy and pendants made of large coins and badges sewn on the ribbon-cords (bau). Usually there were five or seven cords, rarely more. In this way the noise effect was achieved when walking and especially in dancing.
At the waist the necklace was held by a belt. In the last century and earlier the yaga necklace in the Eastern Trans-Urals was worn along with the back plate (inkhelek). It was sewn up with small coins, badges, corals, cowrie shells. As on the necklace a coral mesh with a fringe was attached to the back plate. The back plate ended with three tongues covered with mother-of-pearl buttons, corals, beads, coins. This jewelry was connected to the necklace by straps from which a coral mantle with a fringe descended.
The necklace of the northeastern, Ay, Yuryuzan, Upper Ufa districts – muiynsa:

• small in size. It is a piece of woolen trapezoidal in shape homespun covered with a dark paper fabric with a cutout for the neck and a rounded bottom edge;

• the fabric surface was covered with coins in the form of a scaly pattern, sometimes decorated with beads, rarely with corals;

• the bottom row consisted of ruble coins, stamped badges, small coins were placed above;

• the edge of the necklace could be trimmed with braid, chains, also could be decorated with mother-of-pearl or multi-colored glass buttons;

• there were laces for fastening muiynsa on the neck;

• sometimes jewelry medallions with inserts of blue, red and green glass were attached among the coins;
• much attention was paid to the belt of the necklace. It was stitched in a patterned manner, embroidered with silver thread, decorated with applique from multi-colored corners arranged in rows along the belt.

«Perhaps because the jewelry from the banks of the Ay, Yuryuzan and Upper Ufa were less colorful than the southern and eastern ones, they were not ended up in old museum collections. Only at the end of the 1950s two such necklaces appeared in the State Museum of Ethnography in St. Petersburg. At present there is also a muiynsa in the Museum of Archeology and Ethnography of the Ufa Scientific Center», – says the book by Svetlana Shitova.
The necklace of the southwestern Bashkirs – sakal, khakal.

Sakal was found in the regions near Ufa, in the Dyoma river basin and among the Tok-Churan (Orenburg) Bashkirs:

• the sizes of the necklace were different. Sometimes it went below the belt;

• the edge was framed in several rows with coral threads; a strip of corals was surrounded by a twisted chain. Bells, carnelian balls on a metal rod were attached to the edge of the necklace. Many decorations (bells, carnelian pendants, domed badges, corals) were brought from Central Asia.

On the right bank of the Belaya river in the valley of the Zilim river among the Bashkir tribes Tabyn and forest Kypchak the necklace khakal, rounded from below, had a more fractional compositional structure compared to the Dyoma one:

• it had a slightly widening to the bottom spade-like shape;

• the edge was framed with corals, decorated with bells and balls;
• the central field was divided into two parts by a horizontal coral strip;

• the lower part, as on the Dyoma river, was covered with coins and round badges;

• the upper part was sewn up in a certain order with corals;

• between the corals space was left for pendants made of large coins, carnelian plates, and mother-of-pearl circles;

• obligatory were two large badges attached symmetrically on both sides of the chest;

• corals were used to circle the attached collar-necklace.

Closer to Inzer river the necklace, keeping the same ornamental order, approached the eastern and southern rectangular decorations in shape, and a coral fringe appeared at the bottom.

The length of the necklaces could be different: it could reach the waist or, on the contrary, barely cover the chest cutout on the dress (20 cm in length).
North and northwest
Northern and northwestern Bashkirs wore slings – emeylek, deuyet, khesite – from the left shoulder under the right arm. The slings consisted of three-tiered necklaces made of ringed chains, decorated with medallions and coins (khyrga), removable collars with long noisy pendants (yaga sylbyry), ribbons with one or two rows of large coins (muiyn tenkekhe), amber beads (gerebe muiynsak).

In some places, along with the listed varieties of necklaces, there were other jewelries. In the past girls in Burzyansky, Baimaksky and neighboring districts wore a small necklace – bashkizeu or almizeu – trimmed with braid and covered with columns of coins. In recent decades it has moved into the costume of older women. Corals were rarely used for it, but sometimes large beads, mother-of-pearl were attached among the coins.
Local traditions were embodied in the design of Bashkir necklaces. However each jewelry, although it was made according to existing patterns, was individual.
«Bashkir woman, this eternal tireless worker, is the keeper of the art and beauty of her people»
M. A. Krukovsky, 1909
Awakening interest in folk costume...
Albina Iskhakova, born in 1938, from the Abzelilovsky district of Bashkortostan, is rightfully considered the real keeper of Bashkir culture, its traditions and customs. The famous Bashkir grandmother awakens interest in folk costume by participating in all events in national dress. She was one of the first to restore and create Bashkir necklaces, making antique jewelry fashionable. Now with her «workshop colleagues» she teaches this art to everyone.
«My parents always wore such outfits, but we didn't inherit them, I saw them in photographs and all the time I thought: how would I get such an outfit and how nice it would be if we started walking in these outfits again», – the famous grandmother notes.
Albina Khazhimovna is actively involved in social work, became one of the organizers of the society of Bashkir women, led the club of grandmothers in the center of national culture «Ak Tirma». In the Moscow House of Nationalities she organized an exhibition of arts and crafts «I love... Yaratam». Works of macrame, as well as ancient and made by a craftswoman necklaces in the national style – selter – were presented at the exhibition. As part of the exhibition master classes on making national jewelry were held.

For the great contribution to the preservation of the culture and traditions of the Bashkir people Albina Khazhimovna was awarded with a certificate of honor by the Ministry of culture of the Republic of Bashkortostan. Among the outstanding figures of culture and art of Bashkortostan, public figures Albina Iskhakova enjoys unchanging authority, respect and love.
«At first you hear Bashkir beauty, then you see her…»
The ability to create elements of the national costume is a tribute to the traditions of the people, says the general director of the state enterprise «Agidel» of the Republic of Bashkortostan, which is engaged in Bashkir art crafts, Guzel Bagaeva-Karimova, a native of Fedorovsky district of the republic. She is the creator of the author's traditional and stylized jewelry – necklaces, made in the technique of beading.
«A rich heritage has come down to us from our ancestors traditional clothes and jewelry, which over the centuries have developed their own characteristics that express the aesthetic ideals of the people. Today there is a renewed interest in traditional clothing elements. Kashmau, selter, khakal, yaga, decorated with coins and multi-colored beads, remain the most valuable and beautiful jewelry of the Bashkir women. It is said that at first you hear Bashkir beauty, then you see her. The sound of silver coins lifts the spirits, gives grace to the movement, says Guzel Bagaeva-Karimova. I took over the craft from my mother and grandmother. My mother Bagaeva Khalisa Shagbalovna is a needlewoman with great experience. And grandmother Yomabika was a skilled seamstress. For many years my mother has been pleasing the inhabitants of the republic with her works, takes an active part in all exhibitions of arts and crafts. She is very happy that she was able to pass on her skills not only to me, but also to her granddaughter Zalifa. For me creating Bashkir traditional jewelry is not a job, it is not a hobby. This is part of my life».

Guzel Bagaeva-Karimova approaches the design and creation of jewelry very responsibly and puts a part of herself into it.

«At first, I studied books, looked at museum exhibits, then, on their basis, I began to invent my own ones. Formerly women wore necklaces decorated with silver coins, shells (kortbash). It was believed that they are like a talisman against the evil eye, protect from evil spirits. And they were heavy. If there was no money, the tax was paid in coins from the necklace, and buttons or shells were sewn in their place. I make both heavy bibs from modern coins and lighter ones for everyday wear decorated with natural stones», says the craftswoman.
Guzel Bagaeva-Karimova holds master classes on making both traditional and stylized necklaces, participates with her works in international exhibitions, competitions and forums. The necklaces of the craftswoman participate in fashion shows and photoshoots for glossy magazines.
The following materials and tools are required:
Base fabric
As a basis you need to take a dark medium density fabric in four layers.
Surface fabric
You need a one-color cotton fabric of only red color in two or four layers, depending on the density of the fabric itself.
No. 35 or No. 40 of red color, strictly in the tone of the surface fabric.
The needle number depends on the size of the holes of the beads.
It is advisable to use it with colored caps so that they are noticeable when making a mesh on a pillow.
The color is red. It is necessary to have two or three sizes, because small beads are used on the lower part of the necklace and large beads are used on the upper part.
Preferably gray with the same images, in large numbers and in different sizes.
Size: 20–25 cm, gray or yellow.
Beads, badges, corals, shells, metal pendants
Necklace production technology on the example of selter.
Sequence of work:
1. Prepare the workplace: check the availability of all materials and tools.
2. Make necklace details from base fabric:
– cut out four rectangles from the base fabric with the following parameters: H = 42 cm, B (bottom) = 36 cm, B (top) = 25 cm;

– stitch and then quilt cut parts.
3. Make necklace details from surface fabric:
– cut out two rectangles from red fabric with the previous parameters plus 0.5 cm. If the fabric is very thin, then cut out four parts;

– stitch cut parts, except for the neck and the junction of the necklace with the straps;

– iron the seams, turn them out and reduce seams thickness with an iron.
4. Insert the obtained part from the base fabric into the part from the red fabric.
5. Make a mesh:
– the mesh is woven separately on the pillow and then sewn onto the base;

– you should prepare needles, pins, red thread, pillow, scissors, small beads. Measure the parameters of the lower part of the obtained base part;

– insert the thread in four layers into the needle, fix it on the pillow, leaving the end for later adjustment;

– string one row of beads and secure it with a pin on the pillow, then start weaving the second row: at the beginning of the row string seven beads and two ones for the stand, then the thread is wrapped through the thread passing between the 2nd and 3rd beads of the first row, and the thread goes back through the stand;

– then string four beads and two ones for the stand in the whole row. The number of beads in the cells must always be even, except when turning – there are five.

– if the thread ends, then the other threads are only screwed on, in no case are they tied, as they quickly unravel.

– when weaving the mesh do not tighten the threads too much, because when you wear them they will rub against the beads and simply tear.
Toyak making
Toyak is a hanging fringe with a coin at the end, spanning two mesh cells and located along the entire strip of the bottom edge of the mesh. Formerly the width of the necklace was measured by the number of toyak. On average jewelry consists of 20–25 toyak.

Toyak is made immediately after the end of production of the mesh, without tearing the thread.

Eight beads are strung (the optimal number, because if you take 10–12, then the toyak will turn out long and with constant rolling the threads will fray and tear) plus two, then a coin (wrap twice) and back through 8 beads. Then string two ones, the threads are fixed in the middle of 1st cell of the last row of the mesh and back through the last bead. A tassel is formed. And so on to the end of the mesh.

The smoothest and most beautiful beads for the toyak are selected, and the coins must be all the same.
6. The manufactured mesh is sewn onto the base. Toyak should be located outside the base, «in the air».
7. Above the mesh five rows of coins are sewn in the form of a scaly pattern, with each row slightly overlapping the other.
8. On the edges of the upper part of the product beads are first strung in three rows, parallel and tightly located to each other, on a thread, which is then sewn to the fabric with short stitches between the beads; above the rows of coins – four rows; the neck area – two rows.
9. Closely and parallel to the rows of beads in the area of the neck the chain is sewn with inconspicuous stitches.
10. Small identical coins are sewn along the chain.
11. In parallel to the rows of beads located at the edges coins of different sizes are sewn in ascending order, at the same time overlapping them on each other.
12. Empty field is embroidered with beads diagonally, forming a herringbone, the thread that holds the beads is sewn to the fabric with short stitches between the beads.
13. Inspect the finished product, remove the nuances.
Video tutorial from the craftswoman Guzel Bagaeva-Karimova on making traditional and stylized necklaces. Theme: Mesh of beads – the basis of the selter necklace. In the video: the principle of weaving a mesh of beads.
A resident of Bashkortostan Inzira Khabibrakhmanova – a lawyer, a teacher at one of the leading universities in the republic, as well as a designer-businessman – revived the popularity of national jewelry by developing ethno-T-shirts. For modern women and girls knitted shirts with a print in the form of a real Bashkir necklace are produced.
«Now there is a strengthening of ethnic identification against the background of a weakening of the traditional national everyday culture. Throughout the history of mankind clothing has been one of the most important elements in the design of a person's appearance which can give an idea of his social affiliation, cultural and ethnic status, the level of material wealth, says Inzira Khabibrakhmanova. I always wanted to wear the Bashkir necklace as often as possible, because it is very beautiful. But it is also heavy - about three to five kilograms. I wore this one exclusively on holidays, and after that my neck hurt a lot. I always wanted to have an element in clothing that gently emphasizes the nationality, reflects the history of my people. I made my first T-shirt with a necklace in March 2016 – friends and acquaintances, even casual passers-by liked it. People started asking me to make the same T-shirts. Then a collection of eight species emerged, which continues to grow».

There is interest and demand for ethno-T-shirts. The main target audience is, of course, women. Young girls take more often. Many T-shirts are taken as a gift. For example, they are taken away to friends and relatives living abroad. There are also collective orders, says the interlocutress. You can find a collection of ethno-T-shirts on Instagram (instagram.com /maturufa).

The manufacturing technology is not complicated and takes about 40 minutes: a computer design is developed and a necklace pattern is printed on a coated cotton T-shirt. Real necklaces are taken as a basis, which are produced in Abzelilovsky district. Inzira Shamsullovna makes photos for printing future prints herself. Photo print is practical and durable.
«There are a lot of necklace makers. And more and more every year. Making breast jewelry has become a fashionable trend, and this is very gratifying. The most important thing for me is the popularization of Bashkir culture. I study national costumes of the peoples of the world, fashion history, trends, including ethnic- and eco-fashion. Some national costumes are incredibly beautiful. The costume does not just follow changes in society, but most often foreshadows the future. Therefore, modern clothing should not just imitate national features, but creatively transform them», – Inzira Khabibrakhmanova notes.

According to the interlocutress, clothing has always reflected the features of the household, the growth and development of the economy, and even the features of family life. The national costume of the Bashkirs is not just a given, but the embodiment of centuries-old history and traditions, a reflection of the lifestyle and character of the people.
The Bashkir necklace is depicted in one of the most important republican monuments – the Friendship Monument. The monument was erected in honor of the 400th anniversary of the accession of Bashkortostan to Russia. At the base of the monument are two bronze figures – Russian and Bashkir women. They are shown majestically sitting on opposite sides of the «sword», half-turned to each other. Both women hold laurel wreaths as a symbol of peace. They symbolize Russia and Bashkortostan.

According to the portal ufa-gid.com, the sculptor Mikhail Baburin sculpted the figure of a Russian woman with his daughter, and in order to express the national Bashkir character in bronze he and his assistants went to the villages. Full-scale sketches were made, the most characteristic, typical were selected. Nevertheless the sculptor chose a teacher from a Moscow university, Zukhra Muratova, a native of Ufa, as a model for the figure of a Bashkir woman who is part of the ensemble of the monument. At first she refused, but after all agreed, she posed for four months.
A Bashkir woman's dress is decorated with a necklace. According to the author of the book «Bashkir costume: Technology. Design. Decor» by Aigul Kamalieva, the jewelry looks like a stylized necklace.

«Most likely, this is a stylized necklace, but I can't say for sure. I saw a lot of bibs. It would be difficult to cast a traditional bib made according to all the historical canons. But this is definitely a necklace the length is up to the waist, covers the chest, and the bulges – this is how the coins depicted. As a rule, necklaces are made with scaly stitching – everything is sewn together as a whole, but here, on the sculpture, the coins are arranged in places, singly», – Aigul Kamalieva notes.

Aigul Kamalieva
Ph.D. of Engineering Sciences, Associate Professor of the Institute for the Development of Education of the Republic of Bashkortostan
«The Bashkir national costume is so multi-layered, so to speak, it must be viewed through the prism of history», says Aigul Kamalieva, Ph.D. of Engineering Sciences, Associate Professor of the Institute for the Development of Education of the Republic of Bashkortostan.

According to the expert, long-term historical contacts with the tribes that periodically appeared on the territory of the Southern Ural left their mark on culture, in this case – in clothing.

«If you don't know history, you can't understand the costume at all. But this is not enough, you need to study folklore, worldview, philosophy, rituals of the people – in short, everything that those people lived by, in whose era the costume was created. The scientific work of Svetlana Shitova is primarily valuable in that she singled out historical layers. That time was difficult for the scientist, but at the same time blessed for the reason that the population still retained full-scale samples of clothing with a long history. These are dresses, folk costumes, hats. And how valuable and rich are necklaces from a historical point of view!» Aigul Kamalieva notes.

According to her, now there are many needlewomen who interpret folk motifs in modern clothes.
«It is important to have a sense of taste an innate sense of taste and harmony. Moreover, it is necessary to study the ideological basis of the costume, its philosophy. You need to understand that folk costume is native, close, untouchable, and if someone starts to interpret the costume in ultrafashionable trends, people can perceive this as a personal affront. But if you follow all the traditions, create a harmonious costume, then the perception will be completely different. Another important aspect: folk costume is morality, it is based on the spiritual component. Therefore, there is no doubt that a necklace, perfectly made in the best traditions, which will be worn on a bare breast, will cause outrage. When a folk costume is attributed only to material culture – this is wrong: in folk art the spiritual and the material were as whole and fed off each other. The Bashkir costume has evolved over the centuries and the worldview of an entire nation is embedded in it. For example, the necklace is one of the oldest elements of the costume. Even its prototype, if you read the book by Niyaz Mazhitov «History of Bashkortostan. Antiquity. Middle Ages», was extracted from the archaeological site of the Sintashta culture of the Bronze Age (II early I millennium BC). Scientists have extracted details, individual elements of a metal necklace, which in ancient times were sewn onto a leather base. The leather dissolved in the ground, and the metal elements remained in the position in which they were sewn. Now necklaces are made from a fabric base in several layers so that the fabric does not tear at the places where coins are sewn. If we compare the compositional arrangement of the details of an ancient necklace and a modern one, they are very similar», – says the expert.

Aigul Kamalieva believes that the use of folk costume elements in modern everyday clothes requires great delicacy. She is sure that each of us has memories of our grandmothers in long dresses and with headscarves, of our grandfathers' skullcaps, etc. And in her opinion, these symbols of our origins «should be handled very carefully and responsibly».
«I have repeatedly said that it is necessary to use national elements in clothing, the question is how to do it. Recently I saw a story about a young businesswoman: she used printing on fabric to decorate white T-shirts with photos of Bashkir necklaces, statuettes from the Sarmatian gold collection, etc. The idea is very interesting and the result is worthy. I think people who are not indifferent to their culture will be interested in her products. The trouble with our society is that our clothes are impersonal, we do not wear symbols of our origins and traditions, and therefore we are slowly losing touch with our ancestors. We did not notice that it is during national holidays that a sense of unity with our people arises, because we are immersed in the world of the past, we have the opportunity to listen to folk songs, eat national dishes, and look at artists in national costumes. Therefore, the more often and more amicably we bring national elements to our image, the more chances we have to preserve our national identity», says Aigul Kamalieva.
Avizhanskaya S. A. Jewelry made of corals, beads and coins // Avizhanskaya S. A., Bikbulatov N. V., Kuzeev R. G. Decorative and applied art of the Bashkirs. Ufa, 1964; Bashkir breast jewelry made of coral and coins: [album- catalogue]. Ufa, 2006.

Kamalieva A. S. Constructive solutions of Bashkir folk clothes: Monograph. – Ufa: Republican educational and scientific methodological center of the Ministry of education of the Republic of Bashkortostan, 2006.

Shitova S. N. Bashkir folk clothes. – 1st edition. – Ufa: Kitap, 1995.

Article «Breast jewelry» on the website of «Bashkir encyclopedia».

The website of Moscow House of Nationalities.

Material «The history of native land. Breast jewelry of the Bashkirs» on the website of educational Internet project «Infourok».
1) From the book of S. N. Shitova «Bashkir folk clothes»:

Muiynsa in the Northeast

Selter in the Southeast

Deuyet in the Northwest

2) Khakal in Trans-Belaya region (Archive of the Department of Ethnography of the Institute of History, Language and Literature of the Ufa Scientific Center).

3) Yaga in Eastern Trans-Urals // Rudenko S. I. Bashkirs: the experience of the ethnological monographs. Part 2. The daily life of Bashkirs / Notes of the State Russian Geographical Society. Volume 43, issue 2. P. 145, figure 131.

4) Types and scheme of necklaces – from the website «Bashkir encyclopedia»
  • Author (compiler): K. Kalinina, 2020
  • Oleg Yarovikov, Ksenia Kalinina, Guzel Bagaeva-Karimova, Inzira Khabibrakhmanova, press service of «Gazprom transgaz Ufa», LLC
  • Guzel Bagaeva-Karimova