Bast shoe

Bast shoe

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Encyclopedia
Bast shoes are shoe
Shoe
A shoe is an item of footwear intended to protect and comfort the human foot while doing various activities. Shoes are also used as an item of decoration. The design of shoes has varied enormously through time and from culture to culture, with appearance originally being tied to function...

s made primarily from bast - fiber from the bark
Bark
Bark is the outermost layers of stems and roots of woody plants. Plants with bark include trees, woody vines and shrubs. Bark refers to all the tissues outside of the vascular cambium and is a nontechnical term. It overlays the wood and consists of the inner bark and the outer bark. The inner...

 of the linden
Tilia
Tilia is a genus of about 30 species of trees native throughout most of the temperate Northern Hemisphere. The greatest species diversity is found in Asia, and the genus also occurs in Europe and eastern North America, but not western North America...

 tree or birch
Birch
Birch is a tree or shrub of the genus Betula , in the family Betulaceae, closely related to the beech/oak family, Fagaceae. The Betula genus contains 30–60 known taxa...

 tree: they are a kind of basket woven and fitted to the shape of a foot. Bast shoes are an obsolete traditional footwear
Footwear
Footwear consists of garments worn on the feet, for fashion, protection against the environment, and adornment. Being barefoot is commonly associated with poverty, but some cultures chose not to wear footwear at least in some situations....

 of forest areas of Northern Europe
Northern Europe
Northern Europe is the northern part or region of Europe. Northern Europe typically refers to the seven countries in the northern part of the European subcontinent which includes Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Finland and Sweden...

, formerly worn by poorer members of the Finnic peoples
Finnic peoples
The Finnic or Fennic peoples were historic ethnic groups who spoke various languages traditionally classified as Finno-Permic...

, Balts
Balts
The Balts or Baltic peoples , defined as speakers of one of the Baltic languages, a branch of the Indo-European language family, are descended from a group of Indo-European tribes who settled the area between the Jutland peninsula in the west and Moscow, Oka and Volga rivers basins in the east...

, and Slavs. They were easy to manufacture, but not very durable.

Bast shoes have been worn since prehistoric times: wooden foot-shaped blocks (lasts) for shaping them have been found in neolithic
Neolithic
The Neolithic Age, Era, or Period, or New Stone Age, was a period in the development of human technology, beginning about 9500 BC in some parts of the Middle East, and later in other parts of the world. It is traditionally considered as the last part of the Stone Age...

 excavations. Bast shoes were still worn in the Russian countryside at the beginning of the 20th century. Today bast shoes are sold as souvenirs and sometimes worn by ethnographic music or dance troupes as part of their costumes.
In Russian
Russian language
Russian is a Slavic language used primarily in Russia, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. It is an unofficial but widely spoken language in Ukraine, Moldova, Latvia, Turkmenistan and Estonia and, to a lesser extent, the other countries that were once constituent republics...

, they are called lapti (лапти, sing. лапоть, lapot'); this word is used as a derogatory term for cheap and short-lived footwear
Footwear
Footwear consists of garments worn on the feet, for fashion, protection against the environment, and adornment. Being barefoot is commonly associated with poverty, but some cultures chose not to wear footwear at least in some situations....

and also for uneducated people (лапотник, lapotnik: one who is too poor to afford good shoes and wears bast shoes instead).

External links

  • "Lapti Business in Baksheevo, Malaya Polyana, Rumstikha and Berezniki", an 1880s article (И. И. Звездин, «Лапотный промысел в Бакшееве, Малой Поляне, Румстихе и Березниках» «Нижегородский сборник» под редакцией А. С. Гациского, Том 7.)