The dress of the Chuvasses very much resembles that of the Cheremisses, the chief difference being in the females, who wear a plate of copper hanging from the girdle behind, and strung with all kinds of metallic ornaments, which keep tinkling as they walk ; while from their necks are suspended large silver breastplates, about eight inches long and six broad, formed of coins. The men wear high black hats, tapering to the middle, but wide at the top and bottom, like an hour-glass. The above engraving represents some of these singular people bearing fuel at a wood-station on the Volga. The Chuvasses are remarkable for timidity. This quality, which the first accounts of them mention as their most striking feature, seems still, notwithstanding their long intercourse with Russia, to continue unimpaired. They, as well as the Cheremisses, Votiaks, and other tribes, are supposed to have sprung from a combination of the Finnish and Mongolian races, but they far more nearly resemble the latter.
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Sears, Robert. An Illustrated Description of the Russian Empire. New York: Robert Sears, 1855