Armenian National Dress

Unique Sample of Armenian Culture

In Armenian reality national dress known as garb (taraz) is one of the traditional elements of culture and lifestyle. Dress, clothing, wear; these words are synonymous with taraz; but it also expresses meanings of fashion and manner. It includes both the elements of vestment and the ornaments framing to them or as people say ”the get-up”.
Armenian taraz has had aesthetic value since ancient times. Being adopted to the climatic conditions and ethnic environment national dresses have been classified by class, gender and region becoming the symbol of tribal, gender and class identity.
Armenian taraz is loose garment in style with grooves in front and by sides, in which the colors of 4 elements dominate. According to XIV century Armenian philosopher Grigor Tatevatsi those colors express ”the black of the earth, the white of water, the red of the air and the yellow of the flame”. The purple is the symbol of wisdom, the red – of bravery,
the blue – of heavenly justice and the white is the symbol of prudence. Here is another interesting fact; by the color and form of Armenian national dress it was possible to guess whether the person is married or not, how many children he/she has and the similar, which made the role of taraz much more important in Armenian lifestyle. For example, the essential part of women’s dress was the apron, on each corner of which a life tree is growing from the decoration patterns. This composition of ornaments expressed the idea of couple’s prosperity. Silken aprons are notable by their red and yellow ornaments: scissors, pitchers, bowls and other goods that women used in lifestyle. The adornment was one of the essential patterns of the national dress, which was intended to protect a woman from evil and symbolized her modesty and gentleness. It should be mentioned that therapeutic significance was attributed to the ornaments as well; for example the pearl was considered to heal night-blindness and other eye diseases. And the belt was symbolic in the men’s attire. The silver belt was regarded as the symbol of manhood and the golden belt–the indicator of wealth. Traditions are consonant with progress. Everything is done to restore and preserve the tradition of Armenian national dress – taraz. Today, a gallery is opened in the History Museum of Armenia, where we can see more than 200 kinds of Armenian national dresses of 18-19th centuries.

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