From time immemorial, the Nenets have passed from mouth to mouth many legends and myths related to the sky, nature, water, sun cult worship and sacred family rituals. Often in these myths, divine intelligent beings appear who arrived from parallel worlds or from space. Living among people, they present them with the first knowledge and advice. One of these stories inspired Elina Yar to create her costume.
“It was a long time ago”, the craftswoman begins her story. “A chum stood alone in the snowy tundra. There lived a brave hunter and clever fisherman, old man Irimbo. He had a beautiful daughter, Nareine. On her chest, black braids swayed like two rivers, and she ran faster than a deer. Everyone adored her and called a Girl-Spring.
The suitors began to visit their chum. Nareine rejected all of them and told her father: “I want my groom to be like you in mind, to give people warmth, light and joy. I love only the Sun!” Hearing that, the Sun went lower to the ground, at once the hills got covered with flowers, and the dark night was gone. All over the tundra merriment rang out:
“Nareine brought joy! Thank you, Girl-Spring!” And she was all beaming with happiness and love. Like a light-winged bird, she flew up to the Sun, turning into a long sunny day, giving light, warmth and love to people. Old Irimbo called her day and night but in vain – his daughter did not answer. Grief and longing turned him into a stone cape”.
Elina Yar decided to recreate the image of a gentle, kind bride, who became a symbol of life, love, light and joy.
“The color of the suit is blue, like a spring sky waking up from sleep”, explains the girl. “This is how I imagine Nareine, the legend of which my ancient northern nation cherishes”.
Under the guidance of experienced teachers of the of Decorative and applied arts and folk crafts department, Elina Yar took up the creation of the Spring Girl costume. The set of clothes consists of a parka with a hood, shoes and a traditional Nenets belt, woven of cotton threads to match the parka. The ornaments are made of light, warm tint cloth and decorated with white, blue and pink beads.
“Modeling the parka, I made a modern cut and used the motives of traditional Nenets ornaments as a decor. They are made using the applique technique and are called beautiful antlers and deer trails. The parka is complemented by a headpiece in the form of a hood decorated with beaded signs depicting tearful look of the old man following Nareine flying away, explains Elina Yar and adds: “I dream of continuing the creative traditions of my people”.
Text: Elena Popova, Photo: Norilsk College of Arts