Another special application of traditional Uzbek embroidery is the embroidered skullcap, known locally as duppa or tyubeteyka. In the past, a person's origin could easily be determined from his skullcap because the caps were distinguished from each other regionally by their form and pattern. All regions, towns and even districts had their own unique style of embroidered skullcaps.
Skullcaps became popular in the mid-1920s. Previously, many men wore turbans of a white, blue or green color. Later, when turbans went out of style, people began to embroider skullcaps to improve their plain appearance and because the embroidery was thought to be a defense from misfortune.
During the 20th century, production of embroidered skullcaps became the most popular form of craftsmanship.The design of skullcaps changed frequently; new forms, patterns and stitching techniques were invented.
The black and white colors of the skullcap (typically a black background with a white pat tern) represent day and night. Each section of the skullcap was considered to be a part of the world. Therefore the caps symbolized that men were free to go to four corners of the earth whenever they wanted, both day and night.
A huge number of symbolic ornaments exist on skullcaps. For example, if a family was not able to produce a son, it was considered a great tragedy. Sometimes a large ornamental design symbolizing an embryo would cover the entire cap, and men wore skullcaps with this embryo pattern so that Allah would send them a child. If a son was finally born to the family, he was presented with a special skullcap for happiness. The skullcap would be embroidered symbols of defense such as frogs, flies, scorpions, snakes, and insects. Symbols of unpleasant essences were embroidered because it was believed that if one evil come across another evil, they would be afraid of each other and run away. In this way they attempted to protect their families from bad luck.
The well-known skullcaps of Chust have several different ornamental versions. For exam ple, they are very often decorated with the pattern of the capsicum pepper because the bit terness of the capsicum supposedly protected men from bad luck and evil spirits. The almond pattern is also commonly used and represents well-being and fertility. All skull caps made in Chust have a large pattern of round arches, representing strong gates through which no enemies could enter to kill the wearer of the skullcap.
Skullcaps from Margilan are similar to those from Chust; however, they have slightly thin ner pepper or almond shapes. Skullcaps from Samarkand have a black background and white pattern called chorgul with embroidered calligraphic inscriptions. Shakhrisabz skull caps have a special style of embroidery, called carpet style, which is distinguished by its multi-colored ornamentation, including rosettes and geometric shapes. Skullcaps from Samarkand and Baysun are made using specific technique called pilta dooziy, twisted strips of paper are inserted between the main fabric and lining to make the cap stiff and sturdy. Skullcaps from Urgut are noted for their round flat-bottomed form with a multi-col ored tassel, or popuk, made from silk thread.
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