Gems of ChinArmArt collection: Replica of the Armenian traditional costume of Karin in China
The center of Bardzer Hayk, Karin, has been a preserving force for the age-old traditions of Armenian material culture and daily life, particularly in the areas of jewelry, tailoring, lace-making, and national costumes. The Treaty of Adrianapolis, signed in 1829, granted Armenians the right to reside in territories under the rule of the Russian Empire. This led to the migration of 90,000 Armenians from Bardzer Hayk, who brought with them the stylistic traditions of their costumes, which they preserved in Shirak, Javakhk, Akhaltsikha, and other regions. In Akhaltsikha alone, 6,000 Armenian families settled, keeping and preserving the traditions of Upper Armenia’s national costume, especially in Kars, Bagrevand, Ardahan, Ardvin, Khoterjur, and Shirak.
The women’s costume sets of Upper Armenia featured four types of dresses, all with the same patterns but differing in the type of material and ornamentation. Dresses made of velvet were referred to as “kherkha” and were preferred in dark red, green, violet, brown, and blue fabrics. These were further emphasized by a “trez” decoration made of thick, twisted threads in gold and silk. Gold and silver-thread embroidery decorated the edges of the hem, sleeves, neckline, waistline, and edges of the oarless of a dress, mostly featuring floral patterns, avian motifs, stylized dragons, and geometrical ornaments, mostly made in convex satin-stitch.
The apron was usually made of intense red fabric and decorated in the same manner as the gown. An ornamented, plaited belt was fixed on the apron, sometimes replaced with silver belts. The lower right and left corners of the apron were decorated with stylized almond-shaped patterns, symbolizing fertility, sometimes including the initials of the owner’s name in their ornamentation.
The headgear with the veil was the most crucial element of female costumes, particularly for married women in Karin. The frontal part of the headgear was embellished with floral patterns of either lacework or beadwork. Women of Upper Armenia sometimes wore a red cap or hat made of the thinnest felt, with a long brush of purple or blue twisted silk threads, approximately 40 cm in length, referred to as “vard” or “rose.”
ChinArmArt’s collection of Armenian national costumes includes a replica of the Karin/Erzrum Armenian women’s ensemble, comprising a dark blue velvet gown with an imitation of gold-thread embroidery, a burgundy apron with almond-shaped decorations, and headgear with handmade lacework and beadwork.