The first association that arises when mentioning the rules of etiquette adopted in the class of the Russian nobility is the gallantry of men, the grooming and coquetry of women and, of course, luxurious balls. However, the manners of the elite of the Russian Empire did not end only with social events: in everyday life they were just as important. Moreover, it is often the rules of hygiene that are almost the main ones in the observance of the rules of good manners among the nobles.
Researchers argue that the etiquette of the nobility in the 19th century is a certain mixture of rules borrowed from Europe, mainly from France, as well as folk traditions. First of all, the nobles had to strictly follow the rules of personal hygiene - first of all, to have an impeccable appearance and smell. For example, it was customary to change gloves after each visit to the toilet. According to Novate.ru, Russian ladies and gentlemen changed on average six pairs of gloves a day.
The history of the appearance of toilets in the Russian Empire is also interesting. The first toilet with a flow-through flush was the one that was installed in the St. Petersburg Summer Palace in 1710. But the first personal water closet appeared at one of the close associates of Peter the Great - Alexander Menshikov. The very first sewerage system in the imperial residence appeared in 1826 - the architect Carlo Rossi allocated special “water closets” not far from the St. George Hall.
Even the nobles, who could acquire their own water closets, were in the habit of using special containers at night. So, if the peasants used metal pots, then the so-called night vases, mainly made of faience, were popular among the nobles. Such vessels were carefully hidden in the bedroom of specially equipped lockers. The night vases were taken out by the servants in the morning hours.
But among the furniture of the Winter Palace, in addition to chamber pots, one can also find an object described by researchers as "A night chair with a leather pillow and a faience pot." In fact, it is a cross between a toilet and a bidet with a backrest. The aristocrats of the Russian Empire, thus, comfortably satisfied their physiological needs. In addition, products of this kind were quite expensive, and not so much because of their functionality, but because of their appearance: they paid a lot of attention to it, and as a result they looked no worse than works of art.
Observance of hygiene, of course, was also thought about during travels and this process took a considerable amount of time from the Russian nobleman. It is important to understand: men in this matter did not experience great difficulties - they simply drove off on their horse to the side and relieve themselves in the nearby bushes, but the ladies had to bother. The fact is that fluffy skirts with crinolines literally leave no room for choosing how to satisfy physiological needs.
Therefore, Russian noblewomen, while covering the distance in carriages, used a special analogue of a night vase, which was called a burdalyu (another name is "road vessel"). This device, in fact, was an elongated vessel. Such a silhouette of a water bottle, as well as its compact size, is not accidental: in lush ladies' skirts, it successfully hid and did not cause any inconvenience.
Interesting fact: In the 18th century, they liked not only to decorate the budala with patterns, but also to add funny inscriptions to the bottom. So, So, on the Peterhof washstand you can find an image of an eye, and next to it in French there is a playful inscription: "He sees you, rascal!".
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