When is a hat not just a hat? If you are from Uzbekistan, you can easily spot the differences amongst the seemingly endless array of colorful and embellished doppi and tubeteika worn here.
Tubeteika (from the Tatar tubeke or top) is the Russian word for what is known as a doppi in Uzbekistan. They take a variety of shapes depending on local tradition and the maker’s creativity, but can be round, square, slightly conical, or even tetrahedral, and best of all - easily folded to carry! Rich fabrics and colors patterned, embroidered and embellished, this little cap is a cultural icon of Central Asia and an essential part of folk costume. While it may not be a common sight in big cities these days, no one would consider attending a festival, wedding or religious event without one.
I grew up in Bukhara, considered one of the most ancient cities of the Silk Road, a treasure trove of centuries of tradition. In Uzbekistan, mothers and grandmothers make beautiful handmade dresses and hats for their families and ever since my childhood, I’ve loved my matching outfits, never complete without my doppi. Sometimes they would come from the hat seller at the Chorsu Bazaar, known as the crossroads bazaar of the Silk Road since the 16th century. My hats were made of cotton or silk, or Persian lamb in winter, and embroidered with motifs in gold thread and bead work. My aunt’s home is located right behind the Kalon minaret, one of the major sites of Bukhara and I learned my first English words here from visiting tourists. They always asked to take my photo dressed in my uzbeki style dress and doppit. My love of traditional clothing has inspired me to collect hats everywhere I travel.
I have over 50 different hats and enjoy wearing them at cultural events.
Hats are differentiated for men and women, old and young, and most people would never wear an “improper” cap! Black satin and velvet are often chosen for men’s caps, silk and velvet for the ladies. Visitors can find them in many styles and we can arrange for you to meet the craftswomen and master artisans, even learn a stitch or two! Each of the six historically cultural regions of Uzbekistan has its own style of headdress, differing in shape and motif. (Tashkent, Samarkand, Bukhara, Kashkadarya, Surkhandarya, and Khorezm )
In Tashkent the most popular doppis are made of cotton fabric with a quilted lining. The most unusual and unique design is the gold embroidered doppi from Bukhara; usually round with geometric ornamentation and decorated with a fringe of elegant tassels. This one that I am wearing has the beaded fringe and is made of Ikat patterned cotton. One of the most common doppis comes from Chust in the Ferghana Valley. Simple decorations of contrasting patterns on a black background, the shapes represent peppers or almonds.
In Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan the doppi becomes a kalpoq or kalpak and is made of 4 panels of white felt with traditional patterns and worn by males of all ages, especially in rural Kyrgyzstan. The symbol of the nation there, some say that it has mystical qualities which the wearer can feel.