Talavari (Garments)

The Khevsuris call their national dress talavari. The talavari is made of homespun woolen cloth (“toli”). The cloth for talavari, as a rule, is prepared by women. The toli is a thick, heavy and coarse but hardwearing and durable fabric. The women wore dresses (kaba) called sadiatso, made of dark blue or black woolen stuff. The garment of the kaba for the upper body, faraghi, is colourfully embroidered and decorated with beads and buttons. The sadiatso is worn together with the outer garments called kokomo and koklo. The latter is similar to the winter fur jacket, however shorter and fitted closely at the waist. The women’s suite also consists of the winter garment, tkavi (woman’s warm jacket), pachichi (gaiters), kalamani (soft leather slippers), mandili (kerchief) and sataura (headgear). Noteworthy is the significance of the mandili in the social life of the Khevsuris. The point is that if a woman throws her kerchief between the fighting men, they are obliged to cease the fight immediately. This is a very effective precondition for averting the killing or wounding of people… As for the costume of the men, they dressed no less originally. The men’s shirts are a low-necked type of clothing with slits on each side. It is ornamented with embroidered crosses, the so-called nachrela. The major value of the Khevsuri men’s and women’s costumes, looking like brightly and colourfully ornamented carpets, is their decorative appearance that can be attained by great skill and exquisite taste. Above the shirt a chokha (a woolen coat) made of black or dark blue toli was worn. The chokha is an item of the men’s garment stretching down to the knees, close-fitting at the waist and richly ornamented with embroidered cross-shaped details. The footwear consisted of socks, gaiters and raw-leather boots called kalamani. The headgear consisted of a closely fitting felt cap girded with a black twist adorned with a string of white beads.


A Khevsur woman, known for her rich fantasy in combining colours, the creator of the garments decorated with embroidery of amazing design, is so self-confident that says:
“Dakvekhnebaze nu iqvas: I do hate the way others boast:
Lampa ar minda qalsao, But I need no lamp at all,
Tol-piris sinatlezeda As I can easily stitch and sew
Davhkerav nachrelasao…” By the light of my fair face and eyes…”
The fine needlework (embroidery, garments, and richly decorated articles of clothing) made by the Khevsur women always fascinated the visitors. Fortunately, traditional embroidery and knitting are still practised in villages.