Russian Foundation for Basic Research
Grant numbers 19-512-44002 («Народное декоративно-прикладное искусство ойратов Монголии и калмыков России: общее и особенное в сравнительно-сопоставительном анализе»)
Patterned Stitching of Fabric and Felt: On the Genesis of Ornamental Decor (On the Material of the Exhibits of the Zaya-Pandita Museum of Traditional Culture of the Kalmyk Scientific Center of the Russian Academy of Sciences)
The article is devoted to a comparative analysis of the ornamental decor of felt and fabric of the Oirats of Western Mongolia and the Kalmyks of Russia based on the exhibits of the Zaya-Pandita Museum of Traditional Culture of the Kalmyk Scientific Center of the Russian Academy of Sciences with the involvement of collections of other museums in Russia. The interdisciplinary study of artistic traditions uses the methods of history, ethnology and art studies used in museology. The author reveals the significance of felt in the culture of nomadic peoples and describes the ornaments used to symbolically designate world space, natural phenomena, and seasons. An analogy is traced between the Kalmyk signs of property and the “symbolic writing” of the Mongolian peoples. The patterns decorating the objects of traditional life of the Kalmyk people are considered: felt mats, panels, blankets. At the same time, typical techniques of ornamental decoration of these products, the most common forms of patterns are identified and described, color and compositional solutions are characterized, and ornaments are connected with the traditional worldview of nomads. The loss of significance of the tradition of felting among the Kalmyks at the turn of the 20th century is noted. Further development of this industry among the Oirats of Mongolia is considered up to the beginning of the 21st century. The examples of the decor of women’s clothing items from Hoboksar (Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, PRC) revealed the unity of the ornamental tradition of the Oirats, which applies not only to felt, but also to fabric. The corresponding parallel is drawn with respect to the Kalmyk cloth pouches. The general motifs of the ornamental design of the carpets of the Noin-Ula nomads (end of the 1st century BC – 1st century AD) and Kalmyk felt mats are revealed. The Kalmyk technique of application “zeg” is considered and described, its significance is established as the formative basis of the folk arts and crafts of Kalmykia. It is established that the geometric quilted pattern of felt of the Oirats and the Kalmyks is a concentrate of the nomadic artistic tradition. Kalmyk embroidery and patterned felt in the initial basis of stitches are genetically interconnected by the geometric pattern “zeg”, which is a transformation of the quilted pattern of felt. The embroidered decor of the Kalmyk costume compensates for the lost position of the artistic metal that prevails in the aesthetics of the Oirat folk costume. Patterned felt, the original material of Kalmyk life, and its ornamental decor preserve the traditional cultural code, transmitted as the artistic heritage of the nomads.