Uzbek Traditional Clothing

Uzbekistan clothing

Walking in the Uzbek streets you likely notice the bright, distinctive clothes worn by young and old ones. These colorful dresses have a tale to tell, a story that is revealed as the Uzbek people combined with neighboring nations in rich pomp of human evolution. Over time, unique local features developed, each with its own symbology or religious significance. Archaeological sites, frescoes, terracotta figurines, miniature paintings illustrating ancient documents, and the records of Silk Road pilgrims provide a fairly precise idea of the dresses worn by the ancestors of modern Uzbeks and leave traces of their evolution over the ages. 

The development of clothing is closely linked with the rise of weaving and archaeological discoveries reveal that even two thousand years ago, weaving was well-developed in this region. Frescoes in Afrasaib, Varakhsha and elsewhere represent wealthy citizens dress in silk kaftans while poorer people wore simple cotton dresses. Unique examples of ancient garments found in the Fergana Valley prove it. Discoveries include a long silk dress with a decoratively stitched hem and long slits up to the waist which women would have worn with a waistband or scarf. The girls’ dress is a little shorter, with flowers decorated on the hem, cuffs and breast area, while the boys’ costume featured a thigh-length silk shirt with a straight collar. Through the late Middle Ages, fabrics had developed significantly, with gold brocade and striped cotton emerging. The fine miniature paintings composed in Central Asia in the Middle Ages present valuable clues to the custom and costumes of the day as well. It clearly shows that a person’s dress reflected his or her religious, marital and social status; striped fabrics, for instance, were generally worn by the poorer sectors of the population.

Uzbek kids with traditional clothes
uzbek performance

Doppi / Tubyeteika

Skullcaps are common all over Central Asia national headwear. It is one of the main elements in traditional Uzbek clothing.  In Russian known as tubyeteika, it is derived from the Turkic word “tube’”, which means “top, peak”. Tubeteika is worn by everybody: men, women, and children. Perhaps, only elder women do not wear this skullcap. Duppi is an Uzbek tubyeteika made of velvet or wool, beautifully embroidered with silk or silver threads. Doppi is decorated with stylized floral motifs, which are worn almost universally to provide a religious as well as an ethnic marker. Traditional men’s doppi is black and embroidered with an inwrought white pattern in a form of four “paprikas” and 16 miniature arches. According to the person’s skullcup, you can identify from which region the person is from. Today in Uzbek Fergana Valley cities is still common to meet an older man wearing a doppi and riding bike.

Chapan

Chapan is the most striking male attire of Uzbeks. The chapan is long-sleeved, knee-length or longer, and made from fabric with a variety of color stripes. 

The bottom of the sleeves, center edges, hem, and neckline of the coat is sewn round with a decorative braid, which was believed to protect a person from evil powers. The wrap-around coat tied around the waist. Wearing two or more chapans at the same time was common in both winter and summer, and gave a man a certain prestige while showing the prosperity of the family.

Uzbek traditional clothing

Uzbek women's dress

Traditional Uzbek women’s set consists of plain khan-atlas tunic-dress and wide trousers. Holiday clothes are normally made of satin fabric richly embroidered with golden thread. Women’s headdress consists of three elements: a skull cap, kerchief, and turban. The main part of traditional holiday garments of Uzbek women is gold and silver jewelry: earrings, bracelets, necklaces. The embroidery pattern was chosen not by chance, it always had magic or practical function.For instance, repeating geometrical patterns on the braiding was something like an amulet and Clothing of black or dark blue colors was not popular in any region of Uzbekistan due to superstition.

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