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.