Circassians Costumes

& Accoutrements





Amjad Jaimoukha

June, 2009




The North Caucasians have always been known for their vigour, good health, physical strength and longevity. Circassians paid great attention to enhancing the beauty and symmetry of their children’s physiques. This cultic preoccupation with physical perfection meant that for male children of princely and noble descent, a rigorous, almost severe, martial training regimen was part and parcel of the formative years. The use of leather straps and other devices to contract the middle area produced the ideal shape in the folkloric ethos of a lean torso and wide chest. A slender waist for both males and females was at a premium.


Costumes were designed to enhance and highlight the beauty of the body according to prevalent ideals. The Circassians were the fashion trend-setters in the Caucasus. Their reputation for beauty and elegance was captured in the famous saying, ‘Dressed like a Kabardian.’ However, the Circassians donned their most dilapidated apparel when they did battle. According to John Longworth (1840, vol. 2, p51), ‘in general the Circassians, when taking to the field, put on the worst and coarsest attire they can find; but many of their young heroes, out of emulation, a spirit of bravado or aspiring to the honours of martyrdom, render themselves conspicuous by wearing an entari [cherkesska] of the gayest colour.’... Read more in the attached pdf and Microsoft Word files. 


Circassian Costumes.pdf Circassian Costumes.pdf
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Circassian Costumes.doc Circassian Costumes.doc
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