Uzbek customs (clothes, head caps, mahalla)

Uniqueness of clothes of local nations has always been determined by climatic, living conditions and tribal and clan traditions. Back in XIX centuries the clothes (robes, dresses, shirts) continued preserving the archaic features: wide, long, single cut, it freely flows down hiding the shape of human body. Clothes differed by similarity: winter and summer, men’s, women’s and kid’s, they were close by shape and design. Traditional national men’s costume consists of a warm quilted robe – chapan tied with scarf or scarves, head cap as well as top boots made of thin leather. Men wore shirts of straight design, inner and outer robes. Robe might be light or warm, quilted on cotton. At the sides of the robe there were cuts for convenience of walking and sitting on the floor. Robe – chapan is usually tied with the scarf or scarves. Holiday clothes differ from the casual clothes by beauty and luxury of fabrics, embroidery, etc. Women’s clothes consist of the robe, functional dress of simple siluette made of khan-atlas, and sharovars – wide thin pants narrow ends. Women’s head dressing consisted of three main elements – cap, scarf and turban. Holiday women’s costume differs from the casual one by the quality and fanciness of fabrics. Kid’s clothes repeated the shapes of adults’ clothes. In addition to common lines, clothes of each district or tribe had uniqueness expressed in fabric, shape, etc.

Head Caps (tyubeteyka)
Tyubeteyka, hard or soft cap with lining always was one of the most popular and widespread types of folk and applied arts of Uzbekistan. Tyubeteyka has became the integral part of Uzbek national costume, came into life and traditions of Uzbek people. Tyubeteyka (“”tyube” – top, peak from Turkic) is the national head cap of not only Uzbeks, but also other Central Asian nations. Tyubeteykas are classified by types: men’s, women’s, kid’s, for elders. Elder women don’t wear it. Kid’s tyubeteykas (kulohcha, kalpokcha, duppi, kallapush) differ by diversity and color of fabrics, size of tassels and balls, embroidery, spangles and abundance of amulets. The most widespread shapes of Uzbek tyubeteykas include the square, slightly cone-shaped.
Tyubeteykas are made of two or several layers of fabric quilted and fixed by silk or cotton threads. Finished tyubeteyka is embroidered by silk thread, golden or silver cantle. Historically mostly women have possessed the art of embroidering the tyubeteykas. Flower pattern, almond shaped pattern – “bodom” – symbol of life and productivity are the most popular patterns of embroidery. “Ilon izi” (serpent’s stamp) that performs the function of amulet is the widespread ornament in embroidery of tyubeteykas. Geometric ornaments were also popular. Tyubeteykas created in various districts differ by shape, ornament and color solution.
Chust tyubeteykas are the most popular ones in many regions of Uzbekistan. Duppi is the most widespread type of tyubeteykas of Chust town and it features black background and white ornament in form of fur peppers – kalampir; side are embroidered by small arches located next to each other. There are three types of duppi – rounded, square and rounded and a long hat. Chist duppi (black background and embroidered white ornament) stand out for fanciness of ornament (whole almond with short, sharply rounded end) and significantly high sides. Other varities of tyubeteykas of Fergana valley, including, Sandali, Akka ikki Sum, Chimboy, Surkachekma and others differ by simplicity of their patterns. Samarkand’s tyubeteykas are prformed using the “piltaduzi” technique. There other varieties of tyubeteykas as well – urgut tyubeteyka called “kalpok”, Bukharan golden embroidered tyubeteyka, Shahrisabz’s tyubeteyka called “gilam duppi”, Kitab’s and Shahrisabz’s tyubeteyka caked “Sanama” и “Chizma”, “Takhya”, “Taykha”, “Chumakli”, “Kush” – men’s and women’s Khorezmian tyubeteykas. Pepper shaped ornament (symol of purity and ascetics), crosses, feather bunches, nightingale, bird’s shape (symbol of supreme wisdom), rose (symbol of peace and beauty), inscriptions by holy Arabic fonts, etc. were the most popular ornaments.


Mahalla – neighborhood community, men’s associations called “djura”, craftsmen’s shop associations are traditional forms of social relations. Uzbek mahalla has the millennium history and is the center of family and religious ceremonies and holidays. Rituals of their conduction are preserved with due care and transferred from generation to generation. As a rule, there are mosques in traditional mahallas. The ancient tradition of mutual aid – khashar has also been preserved. People assist their close people in building a house, improving their district, street, city by using the khashar method. In sovereign Uzbekistan mahalla has become the preserver of cultural and moral traditions of Uzbek people, the civil self-government mechanism recognized by law.
Nowadays mahalla represents the territorial association of families with the purpose of cooperation and mutual aid both in districts of individual buildings and traditional parts of cities, and multi-story apartment houses and streets of industrial cities. People of various nationalities live in mahalla in peace and agreement. Network of more that 10,000 mahallas covers the whole country and it is the important part in strengthening the civil society.


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