Armenian Woman in National Costume. Artvin


Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863–1944) was a pioneer in the development of color photography. In the early 1900s, he formulated an ambitious plan to carry out a photographic survey of the Russian Empire. After gaining the support of Tsar Nicholas II, between 1909 and 1915 he completed surveys of 11 regions, traveling in a specially equipped railroad car provided by the Ministry of Transportation. This photograph is of a woman wearing the Armenian national costume. Her blue and red velvet costume consists of a dress and an apron and is adorned with golden thread embroidery. Whereas in many cultures lace and embroidery were the attributes of high society, in Armenia they were part of dress decoration for every girl. In everyday life and for holidays, Armenian women wore a headdress that was often, as on this woman, decorated with golden coins. In contrast to men who dressed in an undistinguished style, which helped them mingle with various ethnic groups and conduct business, women decorated their clothes elaborately. Given that they had few, if any opportunities outside the home, these beautiful hand-made dresses may have been a good way for them to express themselves.

Date Created

Subject Date

Title in Original Language

Армянка в национальном костюме. Артвин

Type of Item

Physical Description

Glass negative (presented as a digital color composite)


  • Prokudin-Gorskii’s photographic work survives primarily in two forms: 1,901 black-and-white triple-frame glass plate negatives, made with color separation filters, which Prokudin-Gorskii used to make color prints and lantern slides; and 12 albums of sepia-tone prints, made from the glass negatives, which Prokudin-Gorskii compiled as a record of his travels and studies. The Library of Congress purchased the glass plate negatives and the albums from the Prokudin-Gorskii family in 1948. In 2004, the Library of Congress had digital color composites made from all the surviving glass negatives using a software algorithm to automatically align the color components. As with most historical photographs, title and subject identifications are corrected and enhanced through new research. Current information on the collection is at

Last updated: November 7, 2017