Kargopil people embroidery

Kargopol agricultural months embroidered on a female apron. The end of XIX century. (Kargopol clay toy, GP Durasov

Kargopil people embroidery
Among the motifs of Russian folk embroidery, the northern “circles” or, as the locals call them, the “months”, have never attracted the attention of researchers. Meanwhile, their content is of great interest both for ethnographers and for all specialists who study the people’s way of life. This publication is the first attempt to read the Kargopol folk embroidery – “months” – as the agricultural calendar of this locality, based on an oral farming month.

“Circles” – “months” in the Kargopol region can be found on the ends of old towels, the gaps called here hangers, and aprons. They were embroidered on a kumachu or cotton cloth of “brown” (burgundy) color more often with paper threads, a tambour seam. At the ends of the towels, one large circle was depicted, on other things – three or eight small circles in a row. And almost everywhere circles are surrounded by floral ornament.
“Circle” consists of a flower – “the sun” and the circumcircle ring “month” described around it, from which, it is possible, the pattern and got its name. Petals in the “sun” alternate with twigs. Each of them embroidered four pairs of curls – “curls”, and only one – an odd number (three, often five). In the heart of the “sun” – a cross with bent ends (“zayushka”) or, which is much less common, a lunette. Above the upper petal is embroidered a circle (sometimes incomplete) with rays directed inwards, with a spiral or a circle in the center. The lower petal is like a flower stalk. In some embroideries it rests on three loops, in others – on two spirals along the edges and a loop in the center.
Motives similar to our “curls”, we meet in the Old Russian sewing; The “tree of life” is depicted with branches in the form of spirals. The form of “sun” remotely resembles the Old Believers cast crosses – “a flourishing tree”, where twin curls grow between the beams of the cross itself.
The area of ​​the ring itself, the “month”, is divided by transverse strips. On different embroideries, they can be counted from 57 to 73. On the outside of the “month”, many loops, circles with crosses inscribed in them, spirals and heart-shaped badges, called by locals “curved” appear.

Apricot, Karpogol Museum of Local Lore

The distribution of this pattern is relatively small. Most often it occurs in the Oshevenskoy volost of the Kargopol Uyezd of the former Olonets province (now the Arkhangelsk region), in the villages and villages nearby to the village of Oshevensk. In a significantly changed form, “circles” can be found in villages and villages of Zaonezhie and in the territory of the former Pudozh county of Olonets province. We also have information about the existence of this pattern in the Galician district of the former Kostroma province.
When interviewing residents of villages and villages adjacent to the Oshevenskaya tract (in most women aged 55-88 years), the above terminology of the constituent parts of the pattern was established. But nothing was found out about its content and purpose. One of the owners of the apron sewn with “months” called it a calendar (purchased by the Kargopol local history museum), but she could not explain the contents of the embroidery. The former director of the Kargopol local history museum AN Khromulin, who lived in the village for a long time. Pozdnyshev, located on the Oshevenskaya tract, heard from old people that towels with “circles” hung before instead of calendars. They were protected, handed down from generation to generation.
94-year-old IN Volkova (Filipovo village, Halytskyi region, Kostroma region) told that in their village on the first day of mowing knitted canvas (“innocent”) aprons with three “circles” embroidered “in a row” . Small pieces of “novina” with one “circle” were attached to a ray and hung on a wall instead of a calendar.

The lower part of the apron. Museum of the Moscow Textile Institute

When comparing embroidered on towels, “suspensions” and aprons of patterns – “months” from settlements of the former Oshevenskoy volost, a large number of similar features were seen. So, in the “sun” everywhere there are six petals and the same twigs with “curls”. The upper and lower petals are everywhere different from the rest. Most of the icons on the “month” are tied to a specific place. These embroideries could be more or less detailed, some icons replaced by others, but with the same semantic meaning: a circle with a cross-rosette in the form of a four-petalled flower or a sesquist eight, a single spiral-double.
It is also important to recall that, according to Old Slavic beliefs, the sun has 12 kingdoms. Each of them owns one of his sons who lives in the stars. In the Slavic barrows there are pendants remotely resembling our embroideries: with a sun-cross or a sun and a month in the center and 12 petals around it, possibly signifying the months of the year.
Let’s try to tie to the petals and “curls” that denote the months of the year, icons placed against them. But with what petal to begin our countdown? Suppose that the upper one corresponds to the month of January. Just above it, we see a circle with rays. Is it not a symbol of the “newly born,” “young,” as the people said, the sun? According to popular beliefs, “the old sun is dying, and on December 25 there is a” new “:” January will add two hours “. Apparently, this should explain the image of the radiant circle – the “newborn” of the sun – above the upper petal.
With the imposition of an oral agricultural Karelian month-tree on our embroideries, we see many points of contact.

The “circle” is the “month”. Fragment of apron. Kargopol Local History Museum

So, circles with crosses everywhere will correspond to the sunny days associated with the annual circle of fieldwork (some of these days are the main holidays of the agricultural calendar), as well as the signs on the weather that determines the future harvest. Most of them occur at the time of “dying” (autumn) and “awakening” (spring) of nature. The loops indicate the days of sowing and harvesting bread and on days when they were guessing about the future harvest. Heart-shaped badges are the most important phases of development of winter crops. Our assumptions are confirmed by comparison with the terms of field work in Kargopol and neighboring districts of the region, and by comparison with carved wooden calendars.
Below is the proposed reading by the days of the year of one of the Kargopol “months” and coinciding with it on the same days of the oral agricultural Kargopolsky month.
On the drawing of the pattern of interest to us by Arabic numerals, we numbered in order all the icons located at the very “month”. Roman numerals indicate the months of the year; dashed
On some sewn months Egoriev, the day is also denoted by a large sprout with a heart-shaped badge. In Kargopol it is said that from this day the rye grows two weeks, two weeks grows green, two weeks it ripens, two weeks blossom, two weeks are poured, two weeks are ripening.
Before us came the sewn Kargopol parasitic goods only late XIX – early XX century. This is indicated by the use of cotton “brown” material, paper threads, as well as the technique of embroidery with a tambour seam. Undoubtedly, before us, the monthly deeds have already come in a considerably changed form. Previously, in Kargopol, apparently, there were such embroideries in “novina”, made, for example, the more ancient in this region by a bilateral seam.
Note, however, that not all embroideries of interest to us could equally serve as a calendar.

The end of the towel FA Novozhilova. Village of the River. 1911

So, if the patterns on aprons kept in museums – Kargopol local lore, the Museum of the Moscow Textile Institute, at the ends of FA Novozhilova’s towel, could serve the farmer as a fairly accurate month-syllable, then in “circles” on the edges of flooring, N. V. Okrelilova (der ) And MI Tretyakova (Bolshaya Kholui village), in other embroideries known to us, although the traditional scheme is preserved basically, but a number of designations are already disappearing.
AN Nikulina’s apron (Pogost Navochnychny village) has already embroidered three “circles”. The “sunshine” scheme is not broken, but the “month” consists of only a few wavy lines. There are no divisions and signs on it. In relation to the lower edge of the apron, the pattern is rotated 180 °, which indicates complete oblivion of its original purpose.
Here we see a significant transformation of the pattern, but still it should be noted the resilience of its main elements: “sun” “month”. On this more ancient basis, it must be assumed, the sewn months were formed. The motif of the month and the sun inside it is found in the embroidery ornament on towels, hem of shirts, “suspensions” from the vicinity of Oshevensk.
How to interpret the meaning of these elements?
In our opinion, the basis of the Kargopol “circles” – “months” is the desire to ensure not only the future fertility of the fields, but also the multiplication of the human race.
In Russian legends it is said that when the sun turns from winter to summer, it dresses in festive sarafan, kokoshnik and goes to warm countries. April 8 is considered among the people the day of the meeting of the sun with the month. Good meeting – it’s a clear day and a good summer is expected, thin is bad weather and bad summer. On St. John’s Day, the sun, according to the belief, leaves its palace to the month.
It dances and scattered the rays of fire in the sky. This day is considered the day of the marriage union between the sun and the month. Among the inhabitants of the Kargopol region, one can also hear of a somewhat different connection between the sun and the month: they are also called sister and brother. On a number of pendant lunnits we see the same scheme of the cross (the sun) and the month described around it. Note that the month here is also turned horns down, as on AN Nikulina’s embroidery.
In pagan religions, the sun and the month were considered patrons of marriage, and, presumably, that is why in the house where the wedding is celebrated, it is possible to see “hanging” on the bed of newlyweds, sewn “in circles”. Recall that in Russian wedding lyrics the bride and groom are called “bright month” and “red sun”, “prince” and “princess”. People also call the sun and moon.
On Easter and Ilyin the day, connected in the public consciousness with celebrations in honor of the sun, in Kargopolye “curls curl”. From unleavened dough with a large content of eggs a circle is rolled out – “juice”. From the edges to the center it is notched and very similar to the “sun” on our embroideries. “Suckling” is lowered into the melted hot oil, where it curls into a tangle of amber color. “Golden-haired,” “twisted-round” was called the people’s sun.
“Curls” were closely connected with the wedding ritual, For example, the day after the wedding, the mother-in-law brought her son-in-law “hlibiny” (refreshments), and among them there must have been “curls”. In with. Tikhmanga, after the wedding night, the curls brought only one young woman to the “boom”. And in with. Hotenove mothers “on porridge” along with pies served all the same “curls”.
The idea of ​​fertility in the popular consciousness was closely connected with the moon – the month. The peasant believed that the moon influenced the development of plants. The farmer turned to the young month with a prayer for the harvest. By the lunar periods, village residents timed field and domestic work. “It is good to sow in the full month,” says the peasant. They believed that if you sow in the new moon, the bread will soon grow and mature, but the ear will not be rich in grain.
At the same time, the bread sown on the full moon, although growing slowly and the stalk short, but the kernel and abundant in grain. To grow long and fibrous flax, it is sown in those days when the sky is a young month. In the village of Kargopol, even the braids of the girls were cut only when the month was spent on profits. There was a belief that if you cut your hair at another time, your hair will grow poorly, get punctuated and climb.
The image of the month was cut and painted on the seamstress. In the village. The mistress’s river baked “months” for Christmas trees, and the girls made guesses on them about the narrowed.
In Oshevenskaya and Nifontovskaya volosts, women also wore “gold plates” depicting the month, the moon and the stars. In other volosts on these boards only individual solar motifs were embroidered.
Kargopolsky shishy messengers was formed in the circle of popular beliefs and beliefs, whose roots go deep into the depths of the pre-Christian beliefs of the Slavs. The embroideries we considered, as we have already noted; are the monthly list of the year. And in the peasant way of life, they may have been not only a decorative ornament of clothes and towels, but, above all, a faithful assistant in the annual household of the farmer. The shiny months reminded of the timing of field work, and the time of sowing and harvesting.
Along with the sewn, there was a more ancient oral month, which had many corrections and refinements depending on the weather conditions. So, for example, the beginning of sowing of spring oats in the village. The river said: “On what week of the Great Post pine needles fall from the tree, that week after Easter you can start and sow.”
The first sowing was carried out a fortnight later after the arrival of the larks: “In this mud, you will be a prince.” The landing of the onions started before the blossoms blossomed and only on the day when the wind blew from the west (as they said, “across the road”), or after the bloom of the bird cherry bloom. But these terms had to be determined in advance by the same signs, by which they learned what the summer would be like. So, if a dry year was expected, onions were planted in the first term, rainy – in the second.
The peculiarity of the Kargopol sewing month is also that it is attached to the conditions of the northern edge and marks the main periods associated with the cultivation of winter rye.

Kargopil people embroidery

The existence of sewn monthtslovkov in Kargopol Uyezd is associated with the main occupation of local peasants – the farmer 30. Peasant allotments in 1912 accounted for 48.9% of all the land of the county. 67% of the fields were fertilized soil (the highest percentage in the province). In the Olonets province, the lands of Kargopol were considered the most fertile. 42.3% of the land was occupied by winter rye.
The usual harvest here was rye. But on the best lands he reached the self-20. In one ear there were up to 70 or more large grains. Almost every year Kargopolye sold up to 10 thousand quarters of flour to Vytegra, Pudozh, Petrozavodsk, Povenets, to Arkhangelsk Province. Kargopolskaya land was considered the bread granary of the Olonets province.
The shiny monthswere reflected the aspirations of the inhabitants of this region – the desire for a high yield on their fields.
In conclusion, I want to note that our embroidered messengers have a related relationship with the calendar depicted on the ancient Slavic vessel, the contents of which were read by BA Rybakov. In it, as in the Kargopol Shit Monthly, an important place is given to the periods of growth and ripening of the loaves.