National dress or taraz is one of the traditional elements of Armenian culture and lifestyle. Armenian taraz has had aesthetic value since ancient times. Being adopted to the climatic conditions and ethnic environment national dresses have been classified by class, gender and region while becoming the symbol of tribal, gender and class identity.
Armenian taraz is a loose garment in style with grooves in front and by sides, in which the colors of 4 elements dominate. According to XIV century Armenian philosopher Grigor Tatevatsi those colors express ”the black of the earth, the white of water, the red of the air and the yellow of the flame”. The purple is the symbol of wisdom, the red-of bravery, the blue- of heavenly justice and the white is the symbol of prudence.
By the color and form of Armenian national dress it was possible to guess whether the person is married or not, how many children he/she has and the similar, which made the role of taraz much more important in Armenian lifestyle. For example, the essential part of women’s dress in some of the regions of Historical Armenia was the apron, on each corner of which a life tree is growing from the decoration patterns. This composition of ornaments expressed the idea of couple’s prosperity. Silk aprons are notable by their red and yellow ornaments: scissors, pitchers, bowls and other goods that women used in lifestyle. The adornment was one of the essential patterns of the national dress, which was intended to protect a woman from evil and symbolized her modesty and gentleness. It should be mentioned that the apeutic significance was attributed to the ornaments as well; for example the pearl was considered to heal night-blindness and other eye diseases. The belt was symbolic in the men’s attire. The silver belt was regarded as the symbol of manhood and the golden belt–the indicator of wealth. Traditions are consonant with progress. Everything is done to restore and preserve the tradition of Armenian national dress-taraz.
Today, in the newly opened gallery in the History Museum of Armenia, one can see displayed more than 200 kinds of Armenian national dresses dating back 18-19th centuries.
The dressing style of the Armenian nation has been one of the factors of its national identity. The specific styles of the cut, the choice of subtle colors and ornament, the rationalism of forms has been the result of the creative merits of the Armenian women.
However, “Teryan cultural centre” NGO has been engaged in wide range of cultural-educational activities as a result the company set a mission to promote the spiritual and cultural values of Armenians, Armenian literature and fine arts. The center’s goal is to restore, protect, create and disseminate national/local culture also to cultivate national clothing and create stylized costumes/attires with modern elements.