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A Chuvash woman in traditional clothing with an ama wrapped around her


The Chuvash have lived over the Volga region of Russia since ancient times. They are considered to be successors of ancient Turkic, Finno-Ugric and Iranian cultures. The Chuvash formed the core of the powerful medieval state - Volga Bulgaria. 

The ama which is one of the most common accessories worn by Chuvash women is made of bands of silver coins, and worn around the body in a way that resembles the armor of a soldier. As in many cultures of Eastern Europe, Western Asia and Central Asia silver coins are used in the traditional clothing of the Chuvash as talismans against the evil eye and malevolent spirits. The ama derives its name from a pre-Christian goddess of fertility worshiped by the Chuvash in past generations.