Bashkir Woman in a Folk Costume
This Bashkir woman, seated on the high porch of a log house, was photographed in 1910. The name of the village where the image was made is not recorded, but evidence suggests that it is Iakhino (present-day Bashkortostan), located not far from the railroad between Sim and Ust-Katav on the western slopes of the southern Ural Mountains. The Bashkirs are a Turkic people who have long inhabited this region. The woman is seen wearing the local national costume. Her head and shoulders are covered with a bright red shawl and her tunic consists of rows of metal ornaments, which indicate the wealth and status of the household. The open door on the lower level shows a stone wall enclosing a space that would have been used for storage and perhaps for domestic animals. The family dog is partially visible to the far right of the porch. The image is by Russian photographer Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863–1944), who used a special color photography process to create a visual record of the Russian Empire in the early 20th century. Some of Prokudin-Gorskii’s photographs date from about 1905, but the bulk of his work is from between 1909 and 1915, when, with the support of Tsar Nicholas II and the Ministry of Transportation, he undertook extended trips through many parts of the empire. Prokudin-Gorskii was fascinated by the ethnic diversity of the empire and often took pictures of local people in domestic settings.
Title in Original Language
Башкирка в национальном костюме
Type of Item
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 http://www.loc.gov/pictures/collection/prok/.
Last updated: September 28, 2016