Tyubeteika is a round or peaked cap in the embroidered or needloom patterns. It is a national headdress of various nations in Central Asia. The word itself was derived from the Turkic root «tyube» which means the top. And indeed, have a look at its form! It is like heaven, mosques’ dome, and roofs of the ancient markets. Very few people can give thought to, but even the yurt (a nomad tent) reminds us tyubeteika increased tenfold.

In the Middle Ages it was prohibited for a faithful Moslem to appear in public places without a headdress. But for a modern Moslem it is not necessarily to put on the tyubeteika daily, even when it is frosty and drifty. But in some cases a man of real faith (such are the most in Central Asia) is obliged to wear the tyubeteika: during the days of sacred holidays (Kurban and Uraza-hayit), in mosques and home during the devotional hours, at funeral and funeral feasts, during wedding (the groom and his father). Four parts of the tyubeteika represent four periods of human life: the childhood, adolescence, the spring of life and old age. Putting on the tyubeteika on a newborn, the mullah thereby blesses him or her to have always good health. At circumsion ceremony the tyubeteika is put on the child’s head too (child’s tyubeteikas had the cone-shaped form with a ribbon and a tassel at its end hanging from the top). At the wedding party the groom is in the tyubeteika which means the transition to more mature period of life. In short, each time mullahs-aksakals(old and clever men), putting the tyubeteika on, bless those who is held worthy of wearing it.

In Central Asia there is a big diversity of tyubeteikas’ styles: they can be cone-shaped and hemispherical, square and flat ones. The form, pattern’s peculiarities, embroidery colour, the tyubeteika’s purpose vary from each other depending on ethnic and territorial background. In Turkmenistan, for example, it is even called in its own way - takhya. Here it is sewn with a square or round bottom, and more often the pattern is embroidered in the form of a geometrical ornament combining red, white, yellow and black colours. If on the tyubeteika of the Turkmen girl you will see feathers be sure that this girl is still not married, if the tyubeteika is without feathers it means the young bride is already engaged.

Tyubeteikas for men and women are decorated differently. If the two-three-coloured pattern is typical for men, female tyubeteikas are characterized by a multi-colour bright assortment. But not always. Uigurs, for example, have more colourful variant of the tyubeteika intended for the stronger sex. They are embroidered in gold and silver thread, beads, and landscapes. It is not without reason that there are tyubeteikas in the Uigur house but not pictures hanging on the walls!

Pattern’s special features can tell us much about where this or that tyubeteika was made: the Pamir skilled handywoman uses Aryan symbolics up to date; Badahshansky tyubeteikas can be recognized due to their combination of red, green, dark blue and white colours in a geometrical ornament; in Shakhrisyabs tyubeteikas are sewn, differing in picturesque multicolour range; in Samarkand the technics «piltaduzi» is popular (sewing on lacing), due to their form such tyubeteikas remind a ridged dome; the native land of the tyubeteika embroided in gold is unmistakably Bukhara. In Samarkand and Bukhara elderly men wear the sole-coloured tyubeteika mostly made from velvet of green colour. Traditional patterns, at most often depicted on the tyubeteika, symbolize everlasting values: the pattern 'a serpent trace' protects against whammy, symbolical image of the mutton horns personifies force and courage, and of fish - fruitfulness of the woman. White almonds embroidered on the black tyubeteika considered to be a very popular pattern. Sometimes inscriptions in Arabic are incorporated into the patterned compositions, for example, such as: 'Let the tyubeteika remains on your head, and our enemies will vanish into thin air'.

The most widespread tyubeteikas in Central Asia are «Chusti» ones (due to the name of the place Chust in Fergana valley of Uzbekistan). Square in form, they can be distinguished by simplicity and subtlety of the embroidery in white silk thread on the black background. They are convenient not only due to its form, but also due to its colour: black and white. Such tyubeteika can be worn both in the days of happiness, and in the days of grief. The embroidery pattern «Chusti» is traditional: on the top part four pod-peppers (Kalampir) are represented, in the east this symbol is considered to be a symbol of life and an averter from malefice. It is thought that the chilly pepper will frighten off evil ghosts, and four of its pods will protect the man’s head from the four corners of the earth. From below the tyubeteika is edged by a black silk band over which round the headdress’s wavy patterns in white threads are embroidered symbolizing wealth and vitality.

The correct form and symmetric patterns of the tyubeteika give rich food for imagination of the researchers: someone sees in the almond-shaped ornament not that other as the image of a three-monthly embryo (it is thought that it is this period when the soul appeared in the embryo), someone considers that cone-shaped tyubeteikas serve for communication with space, and someone seriously believes that they wear on the head something similar to the royal crown. What is true and what is not out of it, let everyone decides for himself, but it is a certain fact that at present the tyubeteika is still of great importance in the life of the Moslem.