Russian kerchiefs date back to the end of the 17 century and it is due to Russian craftsmen that this head dress is well known all over the world and became a symbol of Russia. But unlike matrioshkas Pavloposadskie platki (babushkas) have a large scale practical application along with esthetic value.
Making these head dresses Russian craftsmen used the famous patterns from other cultures: Indian lotus, designs of antique vases, flowers, birds, ancient symbols and many other patterns. But the main theme of Pavlo-Posadskie babushkas is the life of Russian people. The artists manage to catch in fabric scenes from everyday life: happy and uplifting moments along with hardships and sorrow…
Initially the were hand painted by the craftsmen, which required considerable skill. But on the verge of the 19th century the production was mechanized by the manufacturers the Gutchkovs. And it was then that the Russian head dresses started getting high quality awards at international fares and exhibitions. The manufacturing techniques allowed even then to make both one sided and two sided print. There was a great variety to pick and choose from: with wide selection of patterns and fabrics and specially designed for different occasions. It goes without saying that they were rather up market product affordable only to wealthy merchant wives. The leading manufacturers at that time were Alexandrovs’ factory in vicinity of Kaluga and Labzyn’s & Gryaznov’s manufacture in Moscow region, the latter went on to become the top Russian head dress producer.
Each manufacture had its own distinctive design by which an expert could tell one producer from another. For example Pavlo-Posadskie kerchiefs are distinguished by their lush floral designs along the perimeter, as a rule field and garden flowers typical for this part of Russia, sometimes lilies, which are considered classics, but used less often than roses. The centre is mostly decorated with smaller flower garlands. Another frequent design in Pavlovo-Posadskie babushkas is eastern ornaments which were brought to Russia from Asia. Pavloposadskie shawls have always been cherished for great variety, ingenuity and taste in designs and textures and unmistakable quality. Originally a head dress and scarf was an important and meaningful element of Russian national costume,
so a special piece was kept for special occasions be it a happy or a tragic one, that’s why different patterns suited different occasions. With the changing times the Pavlo-Posadskie babushkas started to be worn in wider contexts and have become a favourite accessory of stylish ladies and even an inspiration for Russian haute couture designers. They are worn in variety of styles, regardless of season, for special occasions and just casually. They are widely regarded as a beautiful, high quality and chick accessory. For many ladies they are a desirable present. This site offers you information on history of the Pavlo-Posadskie kerchiefs, different ways of wearing it,
their part in contemporary fashion, as well as care tips, handcraft projects based on Pavlovoposadskie shawls and finally where to get the authentic masterpieces of this Russian national craft.
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