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Headdress of a Kirghiz woman
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Why this is a

This object is connected with two remarkable prominent persons. In Finland, C. G. Mannerheim played an instrumental role in the history of independent Finland. The 'Queen of Allai' , Kurmandzhan-datka (+ 1907), was considered the leader of the Kirgizhian people. The head-dress with silver pendants is a beautiful example of the Kirghizian costume. It reflects the position of the bride and the young wife in the nomadic family. The cap with pendants was worn while the status of the young bride was still not entirely established in the new family. The transitional stage served two purposes: severing the young woman from her own family; and transferring her to the new one.

History of the Object
Carl Gustaf Emil Mannerheim (1867–1951), Marshal of Finland and President of the Republic, made a journey of reconnaissance and exploration in Central Asia in 1906–1908. The expedition was organized by the Russian General Staff to know the geography of the borderlands of China and the process of modernization of the Chinese Army. Mannerheim was interested in scientific studies, and he investigated the small peoples living on the Silk Road and in the northern provinces of China. He obtained a collection of 1000 objects for the National Museum of Finland. In the Fergana valley the expedition made a trip in the Allai valley, and Mannerheim visited the 95-year-old 'Queen of Allai' and the camp of her grandson, Hassan Beg. Probably in Allai valley he bought this headdress of a Kirghiz woman.

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Costume and Jewelry 
Cotton cap; embroidery thread silk; silver pendants with coral and turquois beads 
Width 19,5 cm Length 75 cm  
Creator name
Creator date
Where it was made
Central Asia, Allai valley 
Central Asia 
Time period
AD 19th century ~ AD 20th century 
Creation date
Before 1906 
The headdress was an under-cap worn by the bride and young wife during the transition period after the wedding 
Acquired in 1906 
Text by Ildikó Lehtinen Photos Matti Huuhka 1998 Aalto, Pentti. Oriental studies in Finland 1828–1918. Societas Scientiarum Fennica. Helsinki 1971. Antipina, K. I. Osobennosti material´noi kul¨tury i prikladnogo iskusstva yuzhnykh kirghizov po materialam, sobrannym v yuzhnoi chasti Oshskoi oblasti Kirgizskoi SSR. Frunze 1962. Delaby, Laurence. Un chapeau pour toute fortune chez les Khazaks and Kirghizes. Objets et Mondes. Revue du Musée de l' Homme 21. Paris 1981. Halén, Harry. An Analyctical Index to C.G. Mannerheim's Accross Asia from West to East in 1906–1908. Travaux ethnographiques de la Société Finno-Ougrienne VIII:3. Helsinki 2004. Mannerheim, C. G. Across Asia from West to East in 1906–1908. Travaux ethnographiques de la Société Finno-Ougrienne VIII:1-2. Helsinki 1940. Lehtinen, Ildikó. Plait pendants in the Marshal Mannerheim collection. C. G. Mannerheim in Central Asia 1906–1908. Ed. by Petteri Koskikallio, Asko Lehmuskallio. National Board of Antiquities 1999. de Ujfalvy de Mezökövesd. Expédition scientifique francaise en Russie, en Sibérie et dans le Turkestan. Atlas és étoffes, bijoux, aiguiêres, émaux etc. de l'Asie Centrale. V. Pars 1880. 
State property, National Board of Antiquities, Finland 
Museum of Cultures, National Museum of Finland 
Credit line



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