Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Georgian Folk Costumes

By Edith McClintock

Below are historical drawings of Georgian folk costumes (with hats) grouped by ethnicity, region and class, followed by current versions of folk costumes from a Georgian youth dance festival I attended a few years ago. Can you sort out what region the Georgian youth folk dancers are from based on their costumes? There is one male costume that is similar to all three regions. Do you see it?

It dates from the Middle Ages and is called a chokhaIt's calf-length with a tapered waist and bandoliers (shoulder-belts with loops or pockets for cartridges) sewn across the breast. Accessories typically include a hat (which can be felt or shaggy--see my friend wearing a shaggy tourist version at the very end), tall leather boots, and a belt that holds a dagger called a khanjali.

East Georgians: Kartlian peasant, townsman-craftsman, townsman-merchant, upper class Kartl-Kakhetians and Ingilos
Ethnographic Drawings by Nino Brailashvili, 1930s-1980s

West Georgians: Megrel-Gurians, Imeretians and Acharians
Ethnographic Drawings by Nino Brailashvili, 1930s-1980s
Georgian Highlanders: Tush, Khevsurs, Svans and Rachians
Ethnographic Drawings by Nino Brailashvili, 1930s-1980s
Georgian youth folk dancers:

Tourist versions of headgear from the Georgian Highlands:

Dance version of chokha with shaggy fur hat:

For more, visit my author website and/or personal blog, A Wandering Tale. Even better, order a copy of Monkey Love & Murder on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or the Book Depository (free shipping nearly anywhere in the world).


  1. What interesting drawings and photos. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Lovely photos! Makes me long for khachipuri!

  3. Really lovely photos, Edith. And so much cultural diversity in a small country. That dance festival must have been a lot of fun!

  4. Love all of these images, Edith!