Title of the article:



Elena Iu. Skachkova 

Information about the author/authors

Elena Yu. Skachkova — Postgraduate Student, Member of the Russian Geographical Society, Member of the Russian Religious Studies Society, Herzen State Pedagogical University of Russia, Moika River Emb. 48, 191186 St. Petersburg, Russia.
ORCID ID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2359-2446
E-mail: e.iu.skachkova@gmail.com


Theory and history of culture




Vol. 68


pp. 118–134


February 16, 2022

Approved after reviewing

March 23, 2022

Date of publication

June 28, 2023



Index UDK


Index BBK



Traditional clothing was an integral attribute of the spiritual and cultural space of a Russian village until the 20th century. In connection with the destruction of traditional and the subsequent resemanticisation of folk clothing in the 19th – 21th centuries, there was a need to clarify the main spiritual and cultural content of a traditional costume. Wedding ceremonial clothing was chosen as the object of research due to its high semiotic status and good preservation, which provides extensive research field. The empirical basis of the work consists of ethnographic descriptions of the studied origin regions of wedding suit, private collections, museum funds and the photo archive of the author, formed as a result of expeditions 2018–2019. The article considers the totality of all wedding sets of bride's clothes as a unified semiotic system. The context of this phenomenon is an entire syntagmatic sequence of wedding ceremonies, starting from matchmaking and ending with the last day of a wedding. The wedding in this case is considered as a rite of passage of a life cycle, the main leitmotif of which is the process of “dying-death-rebirth”. Special costume sets mark all stages of the passage (preliminary, liminary, postliminary): “sad” and “grief” clothes are gradually replaced by “kind”, “cheerful”, white and dark shades are replaced by bright, often in red, and, in general, the semantics of death is replaced by the semantics of life. The study also shows that wedding cultures of different villages represent different semiotic systems that function on the basis of a single principle of passage, but some of its aspects and symbolization may be different. At the same time, a complex relationship between the social and spiritual levels of passage is realized, the markers of which may be different characteristics of the same costume complex. In general, the semiotics of wedding ceremonial clothing testifies to the unity of the spiritual and social spheres of a Russian village in the 19th – 20th centuries.


Semiotics, Semiotics of Clothing, Rites of Passage, Wedding Ritual, Wedding Clothing, Liminary, Spiritual Culture.


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