The hero of our story is Innokentiy Ordin, or simply Kesha, a young reenactor.
Kesha graduated with a degree in economics, but soon realized that he wanted to connect his life with history. After a while he got a job as a prop artist at the historical projects agency Ratobortsy in Moscow. The agency stages large-scale historical festivals throughout Russia. “I always imagined historical reconstruction would be just a hobby, but it ended up being my profession,” he says. Historical reconstruction is the process of recreating the material culture of a bygone era or region.
In Russia the reenactment movement began to develop in the 1990s. It started out like the role-playing movement: the activities were domestic and people just did it for fun. There were no major festivals, tourists or rules to speak of. “The rules of historical reconstruction specify that when you apply to take part in a festival you have to send a photo of your costume and explain what each element means, where you found out about it and why you think it’s relevant. Participants should stick to one era and region in terms of costume, weapons and accessories.”
The situation is complicated by the fact that the only information we have about the early Middle Ages comes from old drawings that can be interpreted in different ways. The only clothing that remains from the period consists of a few scraps of fabric. All the weapons are rusty and falling apart.
Kesha sewed his costume himself. In his spare time he makes chain mail. “I’ve been doing it for two years now. One piece of riveted chain mail requires more than 10,000 rings and weighs around 5 kg. A master craftsman back in those days would have worked eight hours a day and made one chain mail every month.”
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