Yesterday I posted a few pictures of the Mongolian wedding dresses that impressed me with their uniqueness and beauty. Today, too, the post is dedicated to the Mongolian women, or rather to their traditional headdresses, which impressed me no less. The most impressive, perhaps, was the head ornament of the married Khalkha women. The main element of their headdress is a special hairstyle, designed to mimic cow's horns. A cow for the Mongols has been the symbol of freedom and nomadic life (I wonder why, because for me there is no more domestic animal than a cow). According to another version, the hairstyle does not imitate horns, but the wings of some mythical bird. In my opinion however, it looks more like horns after all.
As you can imagine, the structure of this hairstyle is very complicated. The basis of it is a small silver cap with filigree, to which numerous silver, coral or turquoise ornaments are attached. The combed back hair is divided into two parts and formed into the "horns" with the help of several silver or bamboo pins. The lower part of the strands is braided in plaits. Rich women allow themselves to further decorate this part of the hair: the plaits are put into embroidered brocade covers with rows of coral and silver bands. For special events or for travelling a pointed hat (malagay) which looks like a crown is worn over the small cap. The hat is usually made of velvet and has colourful ribbons attached at the back. The top is sometimes decorated with a big coral or other stone.
photo courtesy Steve Zarate
The women of other Mongolian tribes, such as Ordos, wear a luxurious headdress consisting of a felt band or a cap, with many beads of coral and turquoise, silver plates and pads sewn on its front and back. Numerous long strands of coral and turquoise beads and silver bells are attached on perimeter. The hair is divided in two plaits and again, velvet or brocade covers decorated with silver plates are put over them. To the ends of each braid small silver bells are attached. Braids are left on the chest, and their ends are tied to the sides of the dress.
A headdress of the Ordos women, Art Institute of Chicago
The back of the Ordos women's headdress, The National Museum of Copenhagen
Aren't they just amazingly beautiful? And as you can see from these postcards, although the design of the headdresses is different for different Mongolian nationalities, but they all have some similar elements - silver ornaments, turquoise and coral beads, little caps.
Previously, such headdresses were worn every day by all married Mongolian women. Now they do it only on special occasions or for weddings. How about you? Did these traditional headdresses of the Mongolian women manage to impress you?
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