This drawing shows a woman being assisted by midwives at childbirth. As was common, only women were present during this spiritual and traditional event in a woman's life. The drawing shows how childbirth was regarded, especially by Russian peasants--the beginning of life to be accompanied by rituals, prayers, and chants. We see znakhars (folk healers) in the background pointing to the sky. It was a very common practice for znakhars to combine their everyday skills with the knowledge of supernatural forces to treat people.
Artist: Egor Yudin
Source: A Country Doctors Notebook
This is a beautiful painting of the depth of a Russian coutryside in Moscow. The wide open fields and the poor country roads, are mentioned by Mikhail Bulgakov in his memoir as being 'impassible in the winter blizzards and springtime thaw'. Looking at this painting, it is easy to see why the country doctors saw the Russian countryside as an uncivilized, lonesome, and remote world.
Artist: Ivan Shishkin
Title: Midday. Countryside Near Moscow (1896)
This is a nineteenth century photograph of a group of Russian peasant women and children. It is interesting to note how these women are dressed--the traditional dresses, aprons, and head garments. Some women are holding rakes, used for work in the field. Women lead difficult lives, carrying a heavy work load equal to that of a man, working in the household and the outdoors. Children usually helped their mothers with these duties.
Source: Russia's Women: Accommodation, Resistance, Transformation (see BIBLIOGRAPHY)
This is an illustration, showing the doctors what to do during breech deliveries. For most country doctors, like Mikhail Bulgakov, childbirth was the most difficult procedure to perform. Most of the medical professionals who were sent to the remote Russian villages did not have a wide knowledge of obstetrics and often referred to books, such as Operative Obstetrics, mentioned in A Country Doctor's Notebook, for instructions on delivering babies.
painting gives a look inside a Russian peasant house (izba). As was
common, nineteenth-century Russian peasants lived in poverty. Very
often many people occupied just one small room, as is shown in this painting,
where five children and their parents are in one little room. The
children are barefoot and everybody is wearing the traditional clothing.
The baby is in what appears to be a cradle, hand made out of a rope, pieces
of wood, and cloth. This is a very interesting painting and gives
an intimate look inside a home of a peasant family.
Artist: Karl Kolman
Title: Interior of a Russian Peasant Izba
Thispicture shows a Russian peasant housewife baking bread in a traditional brick oven. Housework was just one of many duties that nineteenth-century Russian peasant women had. Their lives were exhausting and difficult. The photograph allows to note the woman's clothing, which was typical in the countryside. The headpieces worn by women, were meant to prevent the hair from getting in the way during work, while also keeping women cooler in the hot weather.
This photograph shows a Russian peasant woman and a child near a well. Many household duties that women had to perform, such as cooking, cleaning, and laundry, required the use of water which the women themselves had to pull up from wells such as this one and then carry in the buckets on their shoulders. Notice the poor conditions, evident from the appearance of the yard and the house.
Source: Russian Women: Accommodation,
This is a drawing of a Russian peasant couple, featuring a country house in the background. The man and woman are dressed in winter clothing. They have a tired and serious appearance. People in the Russian countryside in the nineteenth century led difficult lives, working all day long, making their own food, clothing, housing, etc. .
Artist: Filip Andryeevich Maliavin (1869-1940)
Title: Portrait of a Peasant Couple
This is a painting of a Russian peasant woman, a povitukha. She is wearing the traditional Russian folk costume: high boots, embroidered blouse, a red headpiece. Standing up straight, she appears to be a strong and powerful person. During and prior to the nineteenth century, povitukhas (peasant midwives) were such highly honored individuals in their societies. These folk healers could only be older experienced women, such as the one pictured here.
Artist: Ivan Sevastyanov (b1920)
Title: Peasant Woman
This picture portrays a woman during childbirth. She is assisted by three women and one man, who is most likely her husband. During the nineteenth century, especially in the Russian countryside, childbirth was considered to be an extremely private event in a woman's life. The only people present during childbirth with the woman were other women, usually midwives, and on rare occasions the woman's husband helped as well.
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