On November 28, 1240, the Mongol Horde laid siege to the great City of Kiev. They breached the walls on December 6 and commenced their final assault the next day. The Mongols prevailed and subsequently plundered Kiev. They burned most of the city and massacred nearly the entire population. (Wikipedia, 2021)
Written in the late 1240’s, The Ystoria Mongalorum quos nos Tartaros appellamus (History of the Mongols, which we call Tartars) is the report compiled by Friar Giovanni Deplano Carpini, of his trip to the Mongol Empire. Friar Giovanni passed through Kiev in February 1246, and again on his return home in 1247. About Kiev, he wrote:
They [the Mongols] attacked Russia, where they made great havoc, destroying cities and fortresses and slaughtering men; and they laid siege to Kiev, the capital of Russia; after they had besieged the city for a long time, they took it and put the inhabitants to death. When we were journeying through that land we came across countless skulls and bones of dead men lying about on the ground. Kiev had been a very large and thickly populated town, but now it has been reduced almost to nothing, for there are at the present time scarce two hundred houses there and the inhabitants are kept in complete slavery.(UToronto, 2016)
Scholars reason that the inhabitants of Kiev feared plunder by the Mongol Horde and accordingly buried their valuable jewelry in caches, hoping to return later to retrieve them. However that was not to be, and these treasure caches called “Klads” are still being discovered and unearthed today.
The jewelry artifacts from the Kiev Klads are thus dated to no later than mid XIII century.
Following is an image overview of
Pre-Mongol Arched Plate Ochelye of the Kievan Rus’
Ochelye (pronounced “Ah-chill-yay”); (Russian: ОЧЕ́ЛЬЕ) also spelled ochelle, ochelé, ochel’ya, ochillya, is a decorated headband that covers the forehead.
A tier of ochelye arches and a diadem with a Christian Deësis composition are put on the ubrus [fabric head covering].(Zhilina, 2006, p. 188)
(Zhilina, 2002 p. 165 – Drawing by Oleg Fedorov)
Map of Unearthed Klads
1827 Klad, found in the village site of Avgustinovich, Kiev.
Eleven gold headband arches made of smooth and ribbed wire. The treasure was kept in the Skovoroda Museum in Kharkiv and perished during World War II.
1880 Klad, found at Zhitomirskaya Street, Kiev.
Two gold headband arches and one gold end-cap. The end-cap is decorated with cloisonné enamel images and has fastening loops positioned in the indented pearl tray. The treasure was kept in the Skovoroda Museum in Kharkiv and perished during World War II.
1876 Klad, found at the Leskov Estate, Kiev.
Thirty-four gold headband arches and four end-caps. The end-caps are decorated with cloisonné enamel and have fastening loops positioned in the indented pearl tray. The one pictured below still has some pearls wired into the tray. This treasure is kept at the Museum of Historical Treasures, Kiev.
1887 Klad, found in the fence of the Mikhailovsky Monastery, Kiev.
Twenty-two gold headband arches and two end-caps. The end-caps are decorated with cloisonné enamel images and have fastening loops positioned in the indented pearl trays. At present, this headband is kept in an assembled state at the State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg (BK-2771).
1900 Klad, found on Devich Mountain near the village Sakhnovki (Kanevsky district, Cherkasy region).
Eighteen gold headband arches. Kept at the Museum of Historical Treasures, Kiev, MZDM-1938.
Klad, from the M.P. Botkin Collection, Kiev
Fourteen gold headband arches. Shown in an assembled state in the 2015 exhibition dedicated to the ancient Russian treasures. State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg
Undocumented Klad, Amateur Treasure Hunter
Seven gold headband arches, said by an Amateur Treasure Hunter to have been found in the forest between the swamps, 15 km from Novgorod-Seversky, Chernihiv region (destroyed by Mongols in 1239). This treasure is included here but is not documented as being from the Kiev Klads. The limited documentation about the find is questionable. The arches may have been put to auction. The storage location is unknown.
1824 Klad, found near the Mikhailovsky Monastery, Kiev.
Eight gold headband arches decorated with large and small stones in high sockets. This treasure is lost and thought to have been stolen. The storage location is unknown.
1904 Klad, found near the village of Kolesishche, Kiev.
Five gold headband arches. These differ from all the others. They are small but wide, steeply curved, and differ in width. Wide arches alternate with narrower ones. Ribbed wire divides their surface into longitudinal bands filled alternately with either high ringed conical protrusions, or pearls on wires. The storage location is unknown.
1997 Klad, found on the territory of the St. Michael Golden Dome monastery, Kiev
Nine gold headband arches decorated with amethysts and imitation filigree, each with two trays for holding pearl strands. They were found attached to a band of textile worn over the forehead. The Museum of the History of St. Michael Golden Dome Monastery.
OF NOTE: Scholarly papers typically include these rare Arched Plate Ochelye along with the Ochelye made from Three-Bead Arches.
Personal interpretations of arched plate Ochelye
I was first introduced to the Arched Plate Ochelye in 2002 by my friend Nikita Gdanskya, who shared her РОДИНА (HOMELAND: RUSSIAN HISTORICAL ILLUSTRATED MAGAZINE) (Zhilina, 2002) .
Ochelye #1 – Inspired by the 1997 Klad
Seven decorated brass headband arches sewn onto a stuffed fabric headband.
In October 2018, while researching unrelated jewelry parts, I purchased the book Jewellery of Princely Kiev (Pekarska, 2011) which contained a very clear photograph of the 1997 Klad Arches. I spent a lot time imagining how these could be created and finally decided to try a mock-up. The search for materials began upon returning home from July Coronation 2019. This Headdress was completed in September 2019.
Made using 3/4″ wide strips of 28 gauge brass, bent into arches against a 1.5″ wood dowel. Tubes are tightly curled at each end to run a wire for sewing. Dot textured 1.7 mm brass gallery wire (2 per side) added to create pearl trays. Tiny 1.5 mm Pearls strung on fine wire and held in place with wire loops. Down the center, three decorative 10 mm brass shank buttons along with two 10 mm carnelian cabochons in brass settings. The center arch has a tiny brass laurel wreath mounted on a silver-toned flat button head.
The arches are sewn to a wool-stuffed fabric half-tube in which a rawhide strip has been inserted as a stiffener and to create a flat surface laying against the forehead . Tablet Woven Bands are attached to both ends of the half-tube to be tied together at the back of the head, completing the headband.
I call my results a mock-up (to learn why, see process pics for Ochelye #3), however if everything stays together, it can be worn as-is.
Ochelye #2 – Loosely inspired by the 1904 Klad and upcycling
Seven gold-toned metal headband arches sewn onto a stuffed fabric headband.
An Tir Merchant Sidequest Forge had a booth at Wastekeep’s Baron’s Ball in October, 2019. There was a ziplock bag on one of their tables containing eight fancy napkin rings. They reminded me of the ornateness of the arches from the 1904 Klad. With a little work, I thought they could possibly make a lovely ochelye. This piece was completed in June 2020.
The Arches started out as round napkin rings. The rings appear to be made from pot metal with some type of gold-tone finish. The ornament resembles hearts that when placed upside-down become the sacred symbol of the Rus’ Seed. Approximately 2/5ths of each ring was removed (sawed out) to create arches that did not need to be bent. (Too much bending caused the metal to break – ask me how I know). Simply, tiny 1.5 mm pearls were strung on fine brass wire and then wired to each side of each arch.
The arches are sewn to a wool-stuffed fabric half-tube. Tablet Woven Bands are attached to both ends of the half-tube to be tied together at the back of the head, completing the headband.
Ochelye #3 – In Progress – Inspired by the 1997 Klad
Process Pictures – Similar to Ochelye #1, using Amethyst cabochons and Larger Pearls
This project was started in February 2020 to use up the excess material from my Ochelye #1 project. I did purchase new 10 mm amethyst cabochons, more dot textured gallery wire, and larger 3.5 – 4 mm pearls. It was put aside for loss of interest, to work instead on Ochelye #2 which seemed more fun at the time. The project was picked back up in April 2021, with the goal of having progress photos for this Athenaeum exhibit.
There are many steps in the process of making things. Sometimes, when you do not have the tools, the workshop, the knowledge, and/or the skills to create as they would have done in period, you might end up using questionable methods to create a mock-up, like superglue and clothespins. I’m here to tell you it is okay to start there.
The 4 petals of brass filigree bead-caps were each bent in an outfacing L shape and then affixed under the cabochon settings. They mimic the wire nests on the originals, which lift the gems and allow light to enter beneath for more brilliance. My cabochon settings do not have a light gathering openings but the affixed bead-caps do lift them above the brass plate, making room for the pearls to lay beneath. The buttons are lifted by their own shanks.
Jewelry World. (2016, 5 7). Old Russian treasures from the collections of the Russian Museum. Exhibition at the Mikhailovsky Castle. Retrieved 5 23, 2021, from Live Journal: https://world-jewellery.livejournal.com/56812.html
Khanenko, B. K. (1902). Antiquities of the Dnieper region. Slavic era (VI-XIII centuries). Issue V. Kiev: Printing House Kulzhenko S.V. Retrieved from https://www.twirpx.com/file/1252597/
Kondakov, N. (1896). Russkie klady. Drevnosti velikokniazheskogo perioda (Russian Hoards: Antiquities of the Princely Period). St. Petersburg: Typography of the Chief Department of Appanages.
Korzukhina, G. (1954). Russkie klady IX—XIII vv. (Russian Hoards of 9th —13th Centuries). Moscow: Leningrad: Academy of Sciences of the USSR.
Museum of the History of the Mikhailovsky Monastery. (2011, April 4). (2021 Kiev – everything about the capital of Ukraine) Retrieved January 11, 2018, from Kiev news: https://starozhitnosti.kiev.ua/282-muzey-istorii-mihaylovskogo-monastyrya.html
Oksana. (2013, June 27). Lamellar and bead ocelli of the XII – XIII century. Retrieved Sept 1, 2019, from The battalion. Ural.: https://povedalnyayral.clan.su/publ/ot_makovki_do_pjat_divo/devushka/drevnerusskie_vency_iz_plastinchatykh_duzhek_xii_xiii_v/3-1-0-27
Pekarska, L. (2011). Jewellery of Princely Kiev The Kiev Hoards in the British Museum and The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Related Material. (B. A. Kidd, Ed.) Mainz London: Verlag des Römisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum.
Ryabtseva, S. S. (2005). Drevnerusskii iuvelirnyi ubor. Osnovnye tendentsii formirovaniia (Early Russian Jewelry Set. Main Development Trends). St. Petersburg: Nestor-Istoriia”. Retrieved from drevnerusskiyuvelirubor2005.djvu
Ryabtseva, S. S. (2011). Diadems and crowns X–XV centuries from the monuments of Eastern and Southeastern Europe. The moments of similarities and differences. Revista Arheologică, serie nouă, VII, 72-95.
Sharik. (2016, July 13). Photos of artifacts ” Household items and decorations ” Jewelry of Kievan Rus and the late Middle Ages – page 7. Retrieved May 23, 2021, from SwordMaster forum: https://swordmaster.org/forum/cat-Predmetyibyitaiukrasheniya/topic-47-page-7.html
UToronto (University of Toronto Libraries Digital Collection). (2016). The Destruction of Kiev. Retrieved from https://wayback.archive-it.org/6473/20160819150506/https://tspace.library.utoronto.ca/citd/RussianHeritage/4.PEAS/4.L/12.III.5.html
Wikipedia. (2021, April 17). Siege of Kiev (1240). Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_of_Kiev_(1240)
Zhilina, N. V. (2002, 12 11). Russian Jewelry. Homeland. Rodina: historical popular science journal. Russian historical illustrated magazine: N. 11-12 (Special issue “Ancient Russia. IX-XIII centuries”), 160-165 ill.
Zhilina, N. V. (2006). History of ancient Russian metal costume IX-XIII centuries. Slavic-Russian jewelry business and its origins. Material of the International Scientific Conference dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the birth of Gali Fedorovna Korzukhina (pp. 175-198). St. Petersburg: Nestor-Istoriia. Retrieved from https://uvelir.info/media/xvn/files/2014/01/23/210637597152e147355e0b5.pdf
Zhilina, N. V. (2020). Volga Bulgaria and Old Rus’. Comparative Characteristics of Attire of Adornments in Reconstructions of the 11th – 13th Centuries. (D. o. Corresponding Member of the Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Tatarstan, Ed.) The Volga River Region Archaeology (Povolzhskaya Arkheologiya) – Academy Journal, The Volga River Region Archaeology Vol.4 (34) 2020, 125-144. Retrieved from http://archaeologie.pro/en/archive/34/668/
Material List for Ochelye #3
- Brass plates (28 ga): https://www.etsy.com/listing/237967969/red-brass-bracelet-blank-28ga-6-x-34-pkg
- Brass Dot Gallery Wire (1.7mm): https://www.etsy.com/listing/202064249/patterned-gallery-wire-fine-dots-ring
- Pearls (3.5-4mm Flat): https://www.etsy.com/listing/1002795197/aaa-35-4mm-tiny-white-nugget-freshwater
- Stringing Wire (28 ga): https://www.etsy.com/listing/265375692/28g-gold-craft-wire-tarnish-resistant
- Shank Buttons (3/8” or 10mm): https://www.etsy.com/shop/AddVintage
- Amethyst Cabochons (10mm): https://www.etsy.com/listing/687922058/10mm-round-amethyst-cabs-cabochons
- Brass Cabochon settings (10mm): I purchased these in Bulk (500). If you want some ask and I will send.
- Brass Bead Caps (8mm x 6mm): https://www.etsy.com/listing/186457208/8-mm-x-6-mm-gold-plated-bendable
9 Replies to “Rus’ Arched Plate Ochelye”
These are really neat – your work is fantastic! Thank you so much for sharing it here 🙂
I really enjoyed this exhibit. I followed some of your progress on these on Facebook, but seeing them as a group is really inspiring. Repurposing jewelry findings and other items like napkin rings is so much fun. Thank you for sharing.
Thank-you Annaka. I almost didn’t post the mock-ups I had actually made for this exhibit, but decided in the end that maybe I could inspire others to try a make of their own. The research piece really was the exciting thing for me to share, because – getting all the images together in one place. The Rus’ did such amazing BLING. And yes, I do love to re-purpose stuff.
Your work is excellent! I’ve so enjoyed following your progress in the creation of this lovely jewelry.
Thanks Sister! Thanks for proof-reading too!
This is just *stunning* work! What a wonderful attention to detail! xx
Thank-you Marcella. Much fun was had!
These are so amazing. I love your ability to repurpose stuff into amazing headwear jewelry. The progression from 2011 to 2020 is astounding.
Thank-you. Your encouraging words always mean so much.