Lipkowie/Lipka Tatar

Ethnolinguistic umbrella: Turkic. I’ve been digging around trying to identify, specifically, which ethnic subgroups were involved in the migrations to Lithuania, and I’ve begun to believe that it’s not a meaningful question – class differences were often drawn along ethnic lines within a single geographic population in Central Asia during that time; there were several internal waves of migration and assimilation  within Tatarstan and Crimea in the centuries immediately prior to the first migrations to Lithuania; and the waves of northward migration lasted from the early 1300s to the early 1900s, from various places of origin within the region (and classes – see above). I’m working on a theory that the specific people I’m interested in – the descendants of the military elite and common soldiers delivered by Tokhtamysh Khan to Grand Duke Vytautas under the terms of the treaty of 1395, and their wives and camp followers – were mostly Qipchaq/Nogai in ethnicity. There are a very few late-period and just-post-period pictures of Kazan Tatar women’s costume, particularly pictures of Söyenbikä Xanbikä (1516-1554) (who was Nogai), so that’s what I’m working from.

Target time period: early to mid 15thth c.


  • Kangasvuo B gömlek (this overview of contemporary traditional Tatar dress has a gömlek patterning that is indeed dead-on identical, so my earlier conjecture seems to have been right!) and salwar.

Skirt/Dress and Overgarments:

  • Definitely entari. There are period pictures of court women, and post-period pictures of brides, wearing huge, bell-sleeved, conspicuously impractical hirka, but I haven’t been able to determine whether all three layers are appropriate for the kind of working garb I’m making, and I’m going to be wearing this outfit in the foothills of the Rockies in the peak of summer, so entari only it is. Maybe I’ll make a court hirka later.

Belts, bands, and aprons:

  • Leather belt


  • Knee-high Mongol-style boots


  • Tarpus and yaşmak -tall conical hat; long and drapey unadorned white veil

Neck jewelry:

  • Multipendanted necklaces
  • Yaka chylbyry – a choker with a front-center decorative plaque from which five pendants descend, similar to a modern Afghani kuchi plaque.

Torso jewelry:

  • Khesite – a decorated cloth-metal-and-gemstone bandolier, draped from the left shoulder under the right arm.

Arm jewelry:

  • hinged cuffs or vambraces

Other accessories:

  • Quiver and bow case

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