Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Gift of Mrs. Edward S. Harkness in memory of her mother, Elizabeth Greenman Stillman, 1931
Not on view
This object is from the collection of Natalia de Shabelsky (1841-1905), a Russian noblewoman compelled to preserve what she perceived as the vanishing folk art traditions of her native country. Traveling extensively throughout Great Russia, she collected many fine examples of textile art of the wealthy peasant class. From the 1870s until moving to France in 1902, Shabelsky amassed a large collection of intricately embroidered hand-woven household textiles and opulent festival garments with rich decoration and elaborate motifs. The Brooklyn Museum holdings include many fine examples including the majority of the garments. Portions of Shabelsky's collection are also housed at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Cleveland Art Museum, and the Russian Museum of Ethnography in St. Petersburg.
Traditional Russian costume consists of straight, flowing lines. Beginning at the turn of the 18th century, the sarafan, a long, sleeveless dress, became the most popular article of peasant women's clothing in the Northern and Central regions of Russia. The sarafan is worn with a shirt, belt, and apron. In some areas, the epanechka, a short bodice identical in shape to the sarafan supplemented the basic ensemble.
Marking: (b) Linen label: Stamped in ink, in Russian "Ancient Russian Collection/ N.L. Shabelsky"