Materials for the Manufacture of Outerwear of Ukrainian Peasants in the Second Half of the 16th Century (According to the Sources of Volynia)

Vladyslav Bezpalko
Research Institute of Ukrainian Studies (Ukraine, Kyiv),
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On the example of the everyday life of inhabitants of Volhynia, the author investigates the materials for making the outer clothing of peasants of the early modern period. A considerable amount of information on the material life of peasants, clothing in particular, was found in the documentation of the borough and zemsky judiciary in the Volyn Province of the 16th century. The nobles, whose circle of economic interests included dependent peasants, often wrote complaints into the acts of the borough courts with detailed listings of the stolen, damaged or destroyed peasant property.

Numerous documentary evidence of the purchase of imported woolen fabrics by peasants reveals the close connection of the peasant household with the market. The using of imported fabrics in bright colors is due, among other things, to the importance of clothing as a communicative tool in the early modern society, as the materials from which certain items of clothes were made were one of the sign characteristics. In this way, through the clothes peasants could show their wealth.

Relaying on unpublished archival sources, the author shows a variety of fabrics and furs, variability of colors and other features of making clothes, and also traces certain fashion trends in the culture of the peasants of Volhynia in the second half of the 16th century.

In particular, for the first time the turnover of the local broadcloth (which was called ≪sermyaga≫) is covered, as well as a variety of items that were made from such fabric, and the variability of the name ≪sermyaga≫ depending on the place of its manufacture.

The study of the everyday life of an ordinary person, who belonged to the lower tiers of the hierarchy of the Ukrainian society of the early modern era, through the study of clothing, is one of the perspective directions.



Volyn, XVI century, peasantry, clothes, cloth, fur, fashion, everyday life.



Центральний державний історичний архів України, м. Київ [The Ukraine State Historical Archive in Kyiv].



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