Inspiration #12, A Khazarian Warrior

The twelfth part of inspiration series will be a bit more exotic – we’ll take a look at Alexander Panaskin’s costume. He’s a Russian reenactor, representing a 9th century Khazarian warrior.

Alexander comes from Russian town of Bryansk, is the leader of the Kvetun group and historical reconstruction is his hobby since 2007. He makes a living by making historical helmets (you can find them in the gallery below). Alexander reconstructs a Khazar warrior from the 9th century.

The Khazar Khanate was a large empire of Turkish tribes, existing from 7th to 10th century; then, it was destroyed by Prince Svyatoslav. Among other things, it was interesting for how advanced it was, and for the acceptance of Judaism by ruling elites. It is a culture that has been strongly associated with horses. Khazar textiles and clothing are well preserved and include Chinese and Byzantine silk with preserved colors, hunting motifs and simurghs. Linen fabrics are not bleached, “explains Alexander. He says that the literature of O. Orfinskaya and A. A. Jeruzalemskaya deals with the preserved textiles, which are mostly exhibited in the Hermitage. He also says that reconstruction of Khazars is not very popular in Russia.

Alexander’s costume consists only of replicas (except the bow). On his head he wears a conical cap covered with patterned silk, and on his body, we see a silk caftan based on a find from Podorvannaja Balka, his boots are based on a find from Hasaut. All textiles are hand-woven and dyed with natural dyes.

The battle costume also includes a replica of helmet from Stolbishche and mail armour. When I asked him, what armour did the Khazars use, Alexander says that both – mail and lamellar. A complete mail armour has been preserved, for example, in Kazazovo. Alexander says he has four sabers in total, three are combat (blunt) variants and one is sharp, pattern-welded. Combat equipment is complemented by two bows – a training bow based on Korean bow and a plastic one from Hungarian master Grozer, which is based on an original made of horn. Alexander revealed that he is currently starting riding, he plans to ride regularly in the future and that his big dream is equestrian archery.

Alexander told me a bit about his and his group’s activities. His group Kvetun, which is named after an important settlement from 9th century, has 8-10 members (4 warriors and 2 craftsmen). He strives for a high costume and craftsmanship level. They have blacksmiths, lamp makers, saddlers, armour makers, and Alexander makes helmets. There are several big festivals in Russia, such as Rusborg, Gorodetsky Gulbishche, Ladoga, Times and Epochs (Времена и Эпохи) and the Crimean Festival. Alexander and Kvetun visit 5-6 festivals a year and organize their own mini festival “Ancient Bryansk” (Брянск Стародавний). He says that there’s a lot of interesting events taking place in the Urals and Siberia, which he has not yet participated in because of the distance. He also said that one big festival (and a few smaller ones) is taking place in Ukraine, “Byliny of Ancient Kiev in 9th-11th century”, which is held in the Park of Kievan Rus in Kiev, but due to the political crisis, he couldn’t participate in Ukrainian festivals for the last two years. Alexander also attended Wolin twice.

I would like to thank Alexander Panaskin for granting me permission to use his photographs and for detailed description of his costume. Here we will finish this article. Thank you for your time and we look forward to any feedback. If you want to learn more and support my work, please, fund my project on Patreon or Paypal.

16. listopadu 2020

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