Pogo, a traditional adornment of the Khakassian women

In south Siberia there is a small republic called Khakassia. As in many other countries married Khakassian women traditionally has a special adornment which signals about their married status - pogo. It is really impressive and looks a bit like a bib embroidered all over with beads, corals and mother-of-pearl. Pogo are highly formalistic in shape, size and decorative style. The central pattern is formed by the large mother-of-pearl circles or buttons easily recognizable as the eyes, nose and ears. A genuine pogo was always a costly garment. It used to be given as a dowry, and years were spent saving up to buy the corals, semi-precious stones and mother-of-pearl for its decoration.

The pogo's pattern resembles a human face so much because it traditionally depicts Mother Umai, the ancient goddess of fertility, guardian of the family and of children's souls.

  The pogo is embroidered without a preliminary drawing. The needlewoman designs the pattern herself and keeps it in her head. First of all, large mother-of-pearl circles are sewn in strictly symmetrical pattern and then finer stitches are added, and the spaces between them filled with beads. The bugles are sewn on last. The material used for the embroidered pattern is so bright and colourful that artistic taste is required of the needlewoman for if the colour scheme goes wrong, the article may turn out crude and gaudy.

Nowadays pogo is worn on weddings and on festival days.
Photos from www.khakasia.com

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