Karakalpaks. Saukele - wedding headdress




The traditional wedding ritual of the Karakalpaks included consecutive ceremonies. The move from the father's house to the groom's house was important rite. The girl was dressed in a wedding suit, an important component of which was the saukele headdress. Her brother's wife put it on her head. The history of this headdress dates back to the deep past. The Karakalpak people kept in their memory the epic poem "Kyrk Kyz" about 40 female warriors. The main heroine of the epic, the brave Gulaim, getting ready for battle, jumps on her horse and puts on her saukele. The roots of this poem are linked with the traditions of the Sako-Massaget tribes of the Aral Sea region in the second half of the 1st millennium BC. The possible real existence of the saukele as an element of a protective female costume is evidenced by a fragment of the famous Karakalpak “Tale of the Women's Kingdom”, which tells about the rebellion of men against women's power. “Give us your iron helmets and hats,” the men demand, “take your copper boilers and kumgans ...” The Russian Ethnographic Museum has 5 saukeles and two metal caps-tops "tobelik" crowning it. All monuments date from the 19th century. Saukele - a helmet-shaped headdress on a felt basis, covered with red cloth or black velvet, with headphones and a braid. The traditional decor element of the saukele part - the upper cap "cuff", is a pair of intersecting strips of fabric, contrasting with the main field of color: black on red or red on black. On one saukele from the museum's collection (col. 8763-672), this cross-shaped composition is marked with stripes of embroidery. A “khalkha” braid was sewn to the lower edge of the cuff, embroidered with silk threads and consisting of two parts: the upper one was made of red and black cloth, decorated with geometric tambour stitch embroidery, and the lower one was sewn from several narrow strips of cotton fabric with a floral pattern embroidered with a satin stitch. The strips were not stitched at the bottom, additional wedges were inserted between them, which, expanding, resembled a bird's tail. The lower front edge of the saukele turned away with a narrow strip of fur. The entire surface of the headdress was richly decorated: in the center of the lower edge, marking the middle of the forehead / bridge of the bride, a large silver plaque “zhyga” (Karakalp. “circle”, “crown”) with a convex central part topped with a large coral was attached; to the headphones - large curly plaques "kyran" (Karakalp. "sharp", "beating without a miss" - the epithet of a bird of prey) with coral and turquoise inserts were sewn on. The saukele jewelry decor was complemented by a grid of large corals, leaf-shaped stamped plaques and a low of large plaques in the form of a truncated cone with coral, turquoise or green paste in a high caste. Multi-row beads were sewn to the bottom of the saukele. Silver "tobelik" - pommel - consists of a metal bottom and two curved plates (frontal and occipital). Its gilded surface is decorated with stamped geometric and vegetal ornaments, large cones/umbos with inserts of coral or green paste, pendants with metal plaques and coral beads


E.L. Kubel. Researcher of the 1st category, Department of Ethnography of the Peoples of the Caucasus, Central Asia and Kazakhstan