Forensic Fashion
(c) 2006-present R. Macaraeg


>Costume Studies
>>1919 Sami boazovázzi
Subjectboazovázzi 'reindeer walker' herder
Culture: Sami / Lapp
Setting: Lappland 19-20thc

Context (Event Photos, Primary Sources, Secondary Sources, Field Notes)

* Harrold/Legg 1978 p22
"Lapland is the home of the Lapps, or Samek as they prefer to be called.  These nomadic people, who follow the reindeer herds, have a highly developed culture, adapted to their way of life and the hardship of living in sub-zero temperatures.
    ​"Lapland is an area that stretches across the top of Norway, Sweden, and Finland.  The Lapps are known as Finnish Lapps or named after the country in which they reside.  Although they share the same background culture they are an independent and separate people.  The whole of their life centers around the reindeer, which is used for food, clothing, trading and transport, the animals being harnessed to sledges; even the gut is used for sewing skins together."

* Benko/Larsen 2001 p66
"Sami herders call their work boazovázzi, which translates as 'reindeer walker,' and that's exactly what herders once did, following the fast-paced animals on foot or wooden skis as they sought out the best grazing grounds over hundreds of miles of terrain."

* Keys 2011 p20
"... Saami life continued relatively undisturbed -- until, that is, the 19th century, when increasing levels of nationalism and international competition throughout the region had appalling consequences for them.
    ​"Reindeer herding was an inherently nomadic activity, which obliged the Saami to cross 'national' borders.  Prior to the 19th century, this had posed no problems.  But after 1826, competition and rivalry between states progressively closed those borders, making it immensely difficult for the Saami to migrate seasonally with their reindeer.
    ​"The emerging nationalisms of the Nordic world (Norway, Sweden and Finland) impacted on Saami culture in other even more aggressive ways.  In 1905 Norway gained its independence from Sweden and in 1917 Finland became independent from Russia. ...
    ​"At around the same time, there was a mass colonization of Saami lands orchestrated by the Norwegian and Swedish governments. ...
    ​"... Thus, between the 1890s and the 1930s, under pressure from settlers and with their own culture in decay, the Saami became a minority in their own lands."


* Suikkari 1997 p30
"Die wichtigsten nationalen Symbole der Samen sind die eigene Fahne und die Tracht (Sámi gákti).  Dies ist eine festliche Volkstracht, die jedoch auch im Alltag getragen wird.  Die samische Tracht, die Art wie sie getragen wird, die darauf sichtbaren Symbole signalieren vieles, z.B. die Volksgruppe, zu der man gehört.  Die verschiedenen Formen der samischen Tracht enthalten zahlreiche traditionelle Kennzeichen und Züge, die die Träger von Nachahmungen dieser Trachten gewöhnlich weder kennen noch achten."

* Secret Museum of Mankind v4
"NATIVES OF THE BLEAK THOUGH BEAUTIFUL LAND OF THE LAPPS  The old national costume of thick blue cloth is still in existence among the Lapps, and fur -- as with all of the northern races -- plays a notable part in their wardrobe.  Most of the Swedish Lapps lead a roaming life, tending their herds, for to many the reindeer is the first and only consideration.  They are a pacific people and retain a large number of their Mongolian characteristics."

* Harrold/Legg 1978 p22
"Their costumes, like their way of life, have hardly altered over the years.  In winter both sexes wear tunics and trousers made from reindeer skins, usually with the hair worn inside for added warmth.  Underneath the outer garments are woollen shirts and jumpers to give further protection.  Reindeer-skin boots are worn in the winter; the insides are often padded with a type of rush grass that helps t okeep the feet warm.  In the summer the fur tunics and trousers are exchanged for a similar type of garment made of wool and usually blue in colour, and moccasins with a slightly turned-up toe are worn.
    ​"Red and yellow patterned braid is used for decoration and this is placed around the neck, down the front, on all the seams and around the hem of the tunic.  The use of braid follows the old custom of warding off evil spirits."

* Kennett 1995 p50
"The foundation of the Saami's folk art has been their nomadic way of life.  Their wanderings have dictated that their general dress, as with all their artefacts, be simple, economical, and practical.  Within these limitations, the Saamis' feeling for color and design has produced beautiful and colorful articles. The clothes by necessity are seasonal: Relatively hot summers of perpetual sunlight require smocks, and the extreme, cold winters demand furs. For men, women, and children the dominant colors for smocks, skirts, and tunics are deep blue and red, enlivened with an endless play of color provided by bands of bright ribbons and braids, and yellow inserts across the shoulders and around the collar, with fine lines of embroidery -- also in red and yellow -- along the seams.  Under the smock are long trousers and, when the snow comes, braided bindings and the Saami boot."


* Harrold/Legg 1978 p22
"Over their tunics they wear a wide leather belt studded with silver ornaments and fastened with silver clasp.  A knife is usually fixed into the belt, an essential piece of equipment for the Lapp."

* Pacella 2008 p135
"Living in permanent contact with nature, men, women and children are never separated from their traditional knife, the puukko.
    "Now although the puukko is also the traditional knife of the whole of Scandinavia, the Lapp knife has a number of individual details.  Since the reindeer is the basis of their subsistence, the puukko is used to groom them, geld them, brand them, and even slaughter and skin them.  Part of the sheath itself is made from reindeer leather, while reindeer antler is sued to make the handle, as well as the other part of the sheath.  Produced entirely by hand, the blade clearly shows the hammer marks of its forging.  Another detail that differentiates the Lapp puukko from its other Scandinavian neighbors is that the pommel completely envelops the tang.  The sheath has a characteristic shape, being curved at the bottom, and the entire reindeer antler part is marvelously decorated, either by poker work, engraving or even hemstitch.  When the entire sheath is not made in reindeer-antler, the upper part is made from reindeer leather and again decorated.  The Lapp puukko exists in various sizes, but is always sumptuous, and the numerous symbols that adorn it remind anyone who might forget that the puukko is much more than just a knife!"


* Kennett 1995 p50-51
"Saami boots are a perfect example of man's ingenuity in making use of the raw materials around him to help him adapt to his surroundings.  Ideally suited to function in the snow, the boots are made from skin taken from the legs of reindeer, where the fur is thick and protective.  The pieces of hide are sewn together in a special order, so that the fur on the front of the sole goes in the opposite direction to the fur on the back, to prevent slipping.
    ​"Instead of socks, only the best hay, cut in August and preferably from under willows, is used.  Small bunches are tied together, beaten against a stone or with a birch club to soften the strands, and, when dried, tied into rings and stored.  Saamis learn as children the difficult art of stuffing their shoes.  And these boots, with their lining of hay, allow the feet to breathe without the cold getting in.  The boots have turned-up toes and are wrapped tight at the ankles with multicolored bindings, which are tasseled and braided."