« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
secured by straps of leather to the girdle. The soles, like the legs, have the hair outwards, and this is found a great convenience when walking
When an Ostiak leaves home on a journey during winter, his travelling dress consists, in addition to the malca and the parka, of a third garment, much more capacious than the others, and which is likewise made of reindeer skin, with a hood for the head, and no opening in the front. This garment is put on over the two others, and is called a gusia. A man so clad loses the last vestige of human form.
Under such a heap of furs one may, without fear, expose himself to cold fifty degrees below the freezing point; and that people, so dressed, can, without injury, defy the most intense frost, I may adduce in proof that the inhabitants of Berezov cannot remember a single instance of any person having perished from cold in their vicinity; whereas, in our own country, where the winter is comparatively mild, such incidents are of frequent occurrence. I did not wonder at this fact, when I compared the clothing of the northern Siberians with that worn by our peasantry. For
what protection against cold can he derive from a sheep-skin coat (kozuch), accessible on all sides to external air, though it is the chief article of his clothing? Or what comfort from his boots, or the wretched rags or straw round his feet? Can these be any way compared with the boots and large fur stockings, which incase the feet of the Ostiaks?
When the frost is most intense, and mercury itself freezes, it no doubt happens that some parts of the face, if at all exposed, are frostbitten. In such cases, brandy is applied to the frozen part, and the frost gives way to a red spot, such as is produced by a blister. These spots, in course of time, gradually diminish, and in a few weeks entirely disappear.
Even during the summer, the Ostiaks make scarcely any difference in their wearing apparel ; except that, perhaps during the warm season, they wear garments which, from being long in use, have become very thin, and have the hair rubbed off. On their gala-days and festivals, the summer dress consists of a shirt, commonly of red or yellow cloth, and sometimes of white
linen. In the latter case, the collar as well as the borders below are of black cloth, trimmed with divers-coloured beads, and shining tin or brass plates ; shoes of cloth, of all colours, very clumsily made, with long, pointed toes, much too large for the foot, complete this costume.
The every-day apparel of an Ostiak woman resembles in all points that of the man, except that she wears a veil, which cannot be laid aside even when in her own yourta, as she may meet persons of her own family before whom it is deemed indecorous to appear with uncovered face—as her father-in-law, and her husband's elder brother. She is not forbidden to uncover her face in the presence of strangers. The veil, when worn with the every-day dress, is a sort of coloured neckerchief of Russian manufacture.
But, notwithstanding that the ordinary costumes of the two sexes so nearly correspond, the holiday attire of the Ostiak women differs ma
erially from that of the men. They are indeed wont, like the men, to plait their hair in braids, one on either side of the head; but their braids admit of much more adornment. Hanging
down from the shoulders, their ends are united by a string, or flattened cord, about three inches broad, richly studded with beads. From this point the two braids fall together; and at certain distances, several other strings of beads are attached, and in that manner the hair descends almost to the heels. Each string of beads is, at its termination, fastened to a circular metal plate of the size of half-a-crown, which, at the least movement of the head or body, striking against the glass beads, keeps up an incessant jingle, not unlike that of the Cracovian horseharness. This kind of head-gear is exceedingly cumbersome and heavy, and constrained the Ostiak belles, I observed, to hold their head constantly erect, and in a backward position. With this head-dress is united a costume, composed of a shirt, of various colours, over a cloth petticoat, trimmed with fringe. Over all is a caftan, also of cloth, and invariably of some bright colour, with the borders embroidered, to a breadth of from two to three inches, with various-coloured glass beads, intermixed with glistening small tin plates. This short, tight caftan is tied with leathern straps ; and at each knot, exactly where
the leathern straps are sown, are small bells of the size of our billiard-table bells, whence it may easily be imagined what a jingle there must be when several Ostiak women make their appearance attired in their holiday dresses. This dress is remarkably short, which renders it the more striking. The shoes are of coloured cloth, similar in shape to those of the men, and nearly as clumsy. Some are ornamented with beads. The whole attire is completed with the veil, which commonly is of rose-coloured taffeta, with borders of light blue, or these colours are reversed. The borders of the veil are trimmed with large fringes, and when thrown over the head, it is broad enough to cover both the face and shoulders. This veil is called the wakshim.
A singular custom prevails among the Ostiaks, both men and women, of puncturing the skin with figures, which, by the infusion of a bluish liquid, become indelible. This custom, if I am rightly informed, they have in common with some wild tribes of North America, which seems to prove that the people of the two disrupted continents were at some early period in commu