Karakalpak Postin

The Karakalpak Post•n
Contents
Female Costume Sa'wkele Ko'k Ko'ylek Kiymeshek Jegde Jewellery The Karakalpak Post•n Amuletic Properties Usage Terminology Distribution Manufacture Museum Collections History The Tayshax• The Q•lqa Pronunciation of Karakalpak Terms References

Male Costume Post•n Shekpen Shapan Shayqalta

The Karakalpak Post•n
The Karakalpak man’s post•n is a heavy and bulky sheepskin overcoat, worn with the skin facing outwards and the fleece facing inwards. The outer sheepskin facing of the coat is dyed a light yellow colour and the outer edges – consisting of the collar and front panels and the coat bottom and the cuffs - are decorated with narrow strips of black or brown astrakhan pelt. These strips are bordered on the outside face of the coat with a band of striped, usually red, cloth which is often made of silk. A large triangular amulet, made from the same striped cloth and known as a jaw•r•nsha decorates the back of the coat, just below the collar. The long woollen fleece is often exposed along the front and bottom edges of the coat and around the collar and cuffs. Obviously the inner fleece means that the coat requires no lining.

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Two old Karakalpaks wearing post•ns. Photographed by members of the the Khorezm Expedition in the early 1970s. From "Ethnography of the Karakalpak", 1980.

Post•n coats were made in a range of quality levels. The most simple were made from an ordinary sheepskin pelt and these were often called ton by the local people. In Karakalpak a sheep's pelt is called a qoy terisi. Better quality coats were made from the pelts of lambs (qoz•), often of the Arabi variety. These were known as sen'sen' ton, the Karakalpak word for lambskin being sen'sen'. However the finest post•ns were made wholly of astrakhan, a very fine quality of lambskin derived from young karakul lambs, the wool of which tends to be black, brown, or dark grey in colour. Post•ns made from astrakhan were called eltiri ton. The karakul sheep is a native Central Asian species, named after the village of Karakul not far from Bukhara. Bukhara has traditionally been a major centre for the production of karakul pelts. The post•n is a very traditional item of clothing, more frequently worn by elderly or middle-aged men. It is well suited to the harsh Central Asian winter, especially in the exposed Aral delta. Having said this, observers like Esbergenov writing in 1980 reported that some elderly men continued to wear it in the summer! It was normally worn on top of a quilted cotton shapan and was always wrapped in the same fashion as the khalat or
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html (3 of 28)01/03/2014 13:03:23 . Amuletic Properties http://www." Their value is indicated by the fact that less well-off men were sometimes handed down a second-hand post•n from a wealthy friend or relative. It was never belted.Karakalpak Postin shapan (the left side overlapping the right. A post•n hanging up to dry in the garden of a Karakalpak home just north of Shomanay. from the point of view of the wearer). Karakalpaks in this part of Karakalpakstan live alongside small Turkmen communities and are close to the Turkmenistan border.karakalpak. The Karakalpak post•n has always been an expensive piece of clothing and in the past only wealthy people or village leaders could afford one.com/postin. Indeed there is a traditional saying: "A holiday is only a holiday for a man who has a horse. The striped keteni edging shows that it is a Turkmen post•n. A festival is only a festival for a man who has a post•n.

html (4 of 28)01/03/2014 13:03:23 . photographed in March 2003. The local people are Yomut Turkmen camel-breeders. Interviews conducted with elderly local Karakalpak people by ethnographers from the Khorezm Archaeological and Ethnographical Expedition in the early 1970s established that the amulet acted as a talisman to protect the wearer against the "evil eye" . The triangular amulet on a coat modelled by the schoolteacher from the remote village of Bent. However.amulets were. when worn on the back of an item of clothing it is known as a jaw•r•nsha. babies and children (especially boys). with the one exception of the post•n coat.the ancient and widespread folk belief that people can be harmed from the envious and malevolent stares of unfriendly people.Karakalpak Postin All Karakalpak post•ns carry a large triangular amulet on the back just below the collar.com/postin. In this respect the post•n is a unique item of male Karakalpak clothing . made from the same striped silk cloth used for the decoration of the outer edges. This is similar in shape to the amulet known as a duwash•q used on the front of the roll-up shiy screen door of the yurt. widely used to protect women of childbearing age. livestock and the yurt. However they are hardly ever worn by men. and still are. close to the Sarykamysh Lake. The origins of such beliefs lie in the depths of antiquity and clearly pre-date the conversion of the Qipchaq nomads to Islam during the era of the Golden Horde.karakalpak. http://www.

http://www." A group of Karakalpaks working on the Q•zketken canal.rather than the On To'rt Ur•w Karakalpaks living in the southern agricultural regions surrounding Urgench. Generally the men use trousers and jackets of urban cut or short sleeveless waistcoats of dark cloth. and very often quilted jackets or military tunics. The new emerging elite were Communist administrators and farm managers.com/postin. Today the post•n overcoat is rarely seen except in a few rural areas of the delta.Karakalpak Postin Usage Its use among the Karakalpaks has been more associated with those living in the northern part of the delta – the Qon’•rat Karakalpaks . Tatyana Zhdanko made a specific study of the Karakalpaks living in the kolxoz named after Axunbabaev in the district of Sh•mbay around 1948 and observed that: "Among the men. The reasons for this difference in usage are only partly ethnic and probably also reflect the fact that the northern delta has traditionally been a livestock-breeding rather than an agricultural region and has always been neighboured by local communities of sheeprearing Turkmen and Qazaq nomads. who were more likely to achieve advancement by promoting an image of the modern Russian official. the old ones – though far more seldom than they do in Uzbekistan – wear the Oriental smocks and the national round sheepskin caps. Note that several are wearing Western-style overcoats and jackets. The land and property of the wealthy bays was confiscated and many were exiled. The Great Patriotic War was an important watershed. The collectivization of the 1930s brought about profound changes in Karakalpak lifestyle and prosperity. It also suffers from a harsher winter climate.karakalpak. leading to the increasing adoption of Russian Western-style clothing. and even then its use seems to be confined to the elderly.html (5 of 28)01/03/2014 13:03:23 . after which many Karakalpak working men began wearing military-style overcoats.

The name ton is also used by the Qazaqs for both sheepskin and fur-lined coats. The Tekke. eltiri ton meaning a coat made from the skins of two-three month-old lambs. The Karakalpak word post•n is usually transliterated as postyn. or pustyn in the Russian literature. while the Saryks call such coats a possun. The Yomut Turkmen however refer to such coats as an ichmek. The Pashtun of Afghanistan use the words postin and pushtin. known as a sikme ichmek. as well as by the northern and southern Kyrgyz. as in sen'sen' ton meaning a coat made from the skins of sixmonth-old lambs. According to Klavdiya Antipina. and the Bashkirs.karakalpak. the word ton is used by the major southern Kyrgyz clan. the Adygine. They too have a special version of the coat that is worn for celebrations and festivals.html (6 of 28)01/03/2014 13:03:23 . being used as a more general term that can apply to any fur-lined coat. or ishik ton meaning a coat lined with animal fur rather than sheepskin.post•n and ton . pustin. made from the skins of six-month-old lambs. and by the northern Kyrgyz. The Uzbeks of Bukhara and the Kyrgyz use the term postun. Sometimes the word ton is qualified.com/postin. use the word postun. The name postun is generally used by the Kyrgyz living in the Ferghana Valley as well as those belonging to the southern Ichkilik grouping.Karakalpak Postin In 1958 Zadykhina published a study of the Uzbeks living in the Q•pshaq region of Karakalpakstan and noted that among the men: "Military field shirts and overcoats are frequently encountered. http://www. however. The Uzbeks of Khorezm use the closely related words postin or pustin for a sheepskin coat. However the alternative Karakalpak word ton applies to more than just sheepskin coats.as do many other tribal confederations throughout Central Asia." Terminology The Karakalpaks use two alternative words to describe a man's sheepskin coat . the latter also using the word ton.

The Karakalpaks use the word ishik to refer to a silk or cotton coat with a fur lining. The Qazaqs similarily use the word ishik for a cloth coat lined with fur. 2003. north of Kunya Uaz. http://www.html (7 of 28)01/03/2014 13:03:23 . which originated from the neighbouring Uzbeks. However the Karakalpak-English dictionary confusingly lists an ishik as a sheepskin jacket. sometimes called an ishik ton. Klavdiya Antipina recorded that the southern Kyrgyz wore fur-lined coats known as ichiks. although the definition of fur can encompass the woollen fleece of a sheep. Taza Yol. northern Turkmenistan. especially a woman's fur-lined coat.com/postin.Karakalpak Postin An old Turkmen Yomut gentleman. or aq saqal (white beard). wearing his ichmek.karakalpak. Again the definition of fur could include sheep fleece.

P. the eastern Qazaqs. Most modern Karakalpak post•n seem to be of Turkmen origin. the northern and southern Kyrgyz. Possibly ichik is of Turkic origin (Oghuz?). imported from the Kunya Urgench region of the delta on the Turkmenistan side of the border. Afghanistan. The words teri for skin and ton for fur are of Qipchaq origin and occur in the Codex Cumanicus. New post•n coats http://www. Pakistan. This very long coat with elongated sleeves is illustrated in A. Distribution The post•n overcoat is by no means unique to the Karakalpaks and is very similar to coats worn by the neighbouring Uzbeks. the equivalent of a post•n. Iran. lambskin).html (8 of 28)01/03/2014 13:03:23 . and western Tibet. It seems that the word postin is of Iranian origin. We are unaware of any Karakalpak craftsmen still making post•n coats today. Rusyaykin in 1959. ranging from the southern Turkmen. It occurs almost everywhere across Central Asia. and Qazaqs of the Khorezm oasis. an observation recorded by S. However the existence of three different basic words to describe them points towards different cultural influences. northern Yomut Turkmen. S.com/postin. and the Tajiks. Morozova's "Traditional Clothing of the Turkmen People. the Persian word p•st meaning a skin (p•st-i barra. Beyond Central Asia it is found in Iraq.karakalpak.Karakalpak Postin A Turkmen sheepskin coat." The fact that such coats are found in many different ethnic groups across Central Asia is indicative of their ancient origin. known as an ichmek or postun.

Karakalpak Postin can be regularly seen on sale today at the Tolkuchka Sunday Bazaar in Ashgabat. elderly Qazaq men living in the lower Amu Darya wore the Karakalpak post•n sheepskin coat rather than the traditional Qazaq sheepskin coat known as a ton. Shalekenov noted that. neither of which are traditional.com/postin. A modern Turkmen ichmek or postun from Ashgabat.karakalpak. They tend to be dyed an artificially bright yellow and have prominent embroidery decoration along with a pair of leather laces for fastening the coat across the breast. http://www.html (9 of 28)01/03/2014 13:03:23 . in the winter.

When Ella Maillart travelled through Taxta Ko'pir in 1932 she photographed men on the local bazaar wearing belted overcoats that look very much like the Qazaq ton: http://www.Karakalpak Postin Illustration of the Qazaq man's ton.com/postin.html (10 of 28)01/03/2014 13:03:23 . However this obsevation may not have been absolutely correct. painted by Aysha Galimbaeva. From "Qazaq National Costume".karakalpak.

html (11 of 28)01/03/2014 13:03:23 . According to Zadykhina and Sazonova. this length being known as a taxta. adding triangles of black cloth to the back. ton. According to Dr Henry Bellew. For making measurements the postindoza used the span of a man’s hand from the little finger to the thumb. In Afghanistan. After thorough cleaning the skins were coloured a light yellow or yellowish grey colour using a natural dye made from pomegranate skins steeped in a solution of salt. The southern Kyrgyz from the western regions. Demand was particularily strong in 1857. Khiva being the most significant centre of production in the Khorezm region. Postins made in Kabul were considered to be the best and many were exported to Peshawar and beyond. Antipina noted that Kyrgyz sheepskin coats were decorated in a similar way to those from Mongolia and the Altai. using strips of black velvet or sateen. close to present-day Uzbekistan. Ghazni. and sides. The cut of the sheepskin coat was similar to that of the khalat or shapan and was prescribed by long-established rules. During the mid-20th century a new type of postun emerged among the Kyrgyz featuring prominent sheepskin lapels. Postun or ton were an almost universal item of male winter clothing for the nomadic Kyrgyz. Many of those made in Khandahar were exported to Pakistan.karakalpak. The main workshops were located in the major cities or larger settlements. The dye was known as anarpost in Karakalpak. Later as she crossed the frozen Qizil Qum from Taxta Ko'pir to Kazalinsk. she photographed three Qazaq men with their grazing camels. followed the Uzbek fashion.only the length of the coats could be varied. postins were worn by men of all classes during the winter season. No significant deviation in the size of the post•n was permitted . some pelts even being exported to Bukhara to be made into coats by Bukharan masters. known as tonsh• by the Karakalpaks and as postindoza or postinchi by the Khorezmian Uzbeks.Karakalpak Postin Market at Taxta Ko'pir showing men dressed in belted Qazaq overcoats. including Kandahar. http://www. and Qazaq sheepskin caps. some village communities preferring orange. For smaller measurements they used four finger widths. Here sheepskin and astrakhan pelts were processed for use in the manufacture of coats and caps. Photograhed by Ella Maillart in November 1933. too. one of whom is standing and clearly wearing a belted and bulky sheepskin coat. The form and the cut of the post•n was similar to the Qazaq ton. especially at the higher altitudes. others white. sleeves. since the Afghan postin had recently been adopted as the regulation winter dress of the Punjab army. t•maq. Coats were even made for boys as young as three-years-old.com/postin. the manufacture of postins was a major industry in many towns and cities during the 19th century. orange and white. anar being the word for pomegranate. one coat made of astrakhan lamb required eight or nine pelts taken from two.to three-month-old lambs. and Kabul. the main differences being that the post•n was looser in fit and more greatly decorated than the ton. Post•ns were usually sewn to order. Manufacture Post•ns were traditionally made by master craftsmen. The southern Kyrgyz also had coats made in two different colours.

A triangle of the same material was sewn onto the back of the coat to provide amuletic protection for the owner. The bottom part of the side seams were tailored with small slits for increased comfort. From Tatiana Zhdanko's "Karakalpak National Costume". and the bottom hem of the coat were usually finished with strips of black astrakhan or karakul. A thin strip of yellow sheepskin leather was inserted into the seams joining the strips for extra strength. http://www. in the form of small embroidered red velvet triangles. The edges of the collar. The post•n sheepskin coat was tailored in a similar manner to the quilted shapan. while the outer borders were decorated with bands of striped silk cloth.html (12 of 28)01/03/2014 13:03:23 . Karakalpak masters used red and black striped jipek. the cuffs. where it is described as a ton. The treated pelts were sewn into longitudinal strips. The sleeves were made from transverse strips of sheepskin pelt.karakalpak. cut on the bias so that the stripes were oriented diagonally. somewhat similar to Khorezmian alasha. but in this case they did not place leather inserts within the seams.com/postin. 1952. The collar was normally made from darker hide. The slits on the hem were also sometimes decorated with embroidery. the front opening. while Turkmen masters used various types of silk keteni. which were then joined side by side.Karakalpak Postin Illustration of the structure of a Karakalpak post•n. standing up at the rear and folding down into small lapels at the front. Further decoration was sometimes added to the front panels at the bottom of the collar.

grandfather. Krupyanskaya from a master postindoza. postindoza used embroidered cloth to make the triangular amulets rather than striped silk.html (13 of 28)01/03/2014 13:03:23 .karakalpak. and greatgrandfather had also been postindozami. He said that 40 years earlier. in other words at some time between 1880 and 1890.com/postin. From Zadykhina and Sazonova's 1979 review of Khorezm Uzbek male costume. Nina Zadykhina and Mariya Sazonova report a comment recorded by V. Yu. whose father.Karakalpak Postin Illustration of the structure of a Khorezmian Uzbek postin. http://www.

Postincha were small coats with short sleeves that required 2 or 3 sheepskins to make. The skins were slightly moistened before being rubbed by hand for several minutes with the tanning paste. These were then assembled into three different types of garment: postincha. After being left to dry for a period of between one and three days the paste was removed and the skins were rendered soft and supple by crumpling them by hand and beating them with thin twigs. This treatment was repeated every 24 hours over a period of four to five days.html (14 of 28)01/03/2014 13:03:23 .karakalpak. Sheepskins from the butcher were first cured by curriers. This quantity was sufficient to dye 100 pelts. The tanning mixture used in Khandahar consisted of 18 pounds of finely powdered dried pomegranate rinds. a medical oficer in the British Army. cleaned. Now the skin could be put on a stretcher for tanning. combed. and the loose tissue and fat adhering to the skin removed with an iron scraper.com/postin. the skins being left to dry in the sun in between. The paste was removed. left us a detailed account of how postins were manufactured in Afghanistan in the middle of the 19th century.Karakalpak Postin Details of the Turkmen ichmek from Northern Turkmenistan. and ½ pound of powdered red ochre. the skins washed and dried. postaki and postins. Dr Henry Bellew. and stretched them on boards before treating the inner surface with a thin moist paste made from equal quantities of wheat and rice flour and a little salt. all mixed together in half a gallon of sesame oil to make a thick paste. who first washed. The skins were now transferred to the tailor. 4 pounds of powdered alum. who cut them into strips 2 feet long by 4 to 5 inches wide. postaki were fully sleeved coats that reached down http://www.

karakalpak. owing to the smell. while a proper postin was a capacious coat that reached down to the heels and had sleeves extending beyond the tips of the fingers. http://www.. The heat thrown out by a heavy drying-stove was very great. It is hoped that it will reopen in a new city centre location in 2012.html (15 of 28)01/03/2014 13:03:23 . which he visited to be measured for a sheepskin coat and trousers for his onward journey to Khiva: "G drove me to a street mainly inhabited by dealers in sheepskin. On entering one of the shops. we were nearly compelled to beat a retreat. In the western parts of Afghanistan it was traditional to have white rather than yellow postins. In these regions the pelts were dyed with a mixture incorporating white clay. After sewing. Museum Collections The only Karakalpak post•n on public display in No'kis was at the former Regional Studies Museum. and only the absolute necessity of ordering some warm clothes forced me to remain for an instant in the establishment.Karakalpak Postin to the knees and required 5 or 6 sheepskins. Captain Burnaby commented on the state of a sheepskin tailors workshop in Orenberg in 1875. The sheepskins were in every stage of preparation." He went on to add that sheepskin garments were the warmest clothes that can be worn. despite their disagreeable smell.com/postin.. Its manufacture required 10 to 12 sheepskins. Unfortunately this museum was closed and the building housing it was demolished in 2010. the edges and sleeves of these coats were richly embroidered with yellow silk by female embroiderers. .

karakalpak. This example was brown in colour and decorated with striped silk material. P. had a sleeve length of 54cm and a side seam vent of 21cm. It was subsequently transferred to the State Museum of Ethnography of the USSR. According to Esbergenov.Karakalpak Postin A Karakalpak post•n. It was made from several sheepskin pelts. The coat had a triangle with 29cm long sides sewn to the back. one of the earliest examples of a Karakalpak post•n was collected by S. It had a straight cut and the sleeves were tapered from the shoulder to the cuff. except on the cuffs where it was 11½cm.html (16 of 28)01/03/2014 13:03:23 . between 1971 and 1975. The silk keteni edging indicates that it is of Turkmen origin. Moscow. According to the maker the post•n was sewn from six to eight sheep's pelts. described as a sen'sen' ton. It was 115cm long and had a sleeve length of 66cm. the Khorezm Archaeological and Ethnographical Expedition located several post•ns and photographed and measured them. One example was reported by Esbergenov as being dyed an ochre colour and was 117cm long. The width of the outer red striped silk decoration along the edges of the coat was 8cm.com/postin. A rather well-worn Khivan Uzbek postin is held in the reserve collection of the Museum Department of the Ichan qala in Khiva: http://www. Image courtesy of the Regional Studies Museum. No'kis. Tolstov in 1934 for the Folk Museum of the USSR. Some 40 years later.

in the southern foothills of the Tien Shan in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region of western China. Note the absence of any textile decoration around the coat edges. and Qazaq confederations. there are two Bukharan Uzbek postins in the Ole Olufsen Collection at the Danish National Museum in Copenhagen.com/postin.html (17 of 28)01/03/2014 13:03:23 . History The origin of the Karakalpak post•n and the other similar coats found across Central Asia substantially predates the formation of the Karakalpak. One of the earliest surviving fur-lined coats was found at the ancient burial site of Qizilchoqa (Red Hillock). it is likely that sheepskin pelts have been used to make coats and other items of costume in Western Asia since the early Neolithic and probably the Mesolithic era. Ichan qala Museum Director. Photograph courtesy of Botir Davletov.Karakalpak Postin A simple Uzbek postin from the reserve collection of Khiva Museum. 2003. Uzbek. In addition. The cemetery has been subsequently radiocarbon dated to about 800 to http://www.000 BC. Khiva. given the evidence that the domestication of sheep probably first took place in relatively nearby northern Iraq around about 9. Sheepskin coats in general have been in use for several millennia across Central Asia. Indeed.karakalpak. discovered in 1978 close to the Silk Road town of Hami.

She also wore a tall black felt hat with a wide brim.Karakalpak Postin 530 BC. The man was wearing a heavy sheepskin coat. Drawing of the gloved. In the early 1990s the mummified body of a man. 2000. made with the fur turned inwards. and surprisingly incorporating an integral pair of gloves. The coat was placed over her shoulders like a cloak. Among the many woollen textiles excavated from the site was a fur coat. was found next to the corpse of a woman in a shallow grave at the nearby site of Subashi.html (18 of 28)01/03/2014 13:03:23 . fur-lined coat excavated at Qizilchoqa. worn with the fleece turned inside. This later site dates from about the 4th to the 3rd century BC. estimated to have been at least 55years-old.karakalpak. http://www. Another grave contained the corpse of a woman wearing a calf-length sheepskin coat with sleeves. From Mallory and Mair.com/postin. also made with the fleece facing inwards.

beautifully decorated with braid and fur edgings. other items of costume excavated from the site show that the tailoring of fur pelts and skins had already reached a sophisticated level.com/postin. In the second half of February 922 the embassy provisioned itself for the onward journey across the Ustyurt: http://www. inside a Turkish yurt that had been erected inside a house. The secretary to the embassy. Likewise the contemporary Scythian warriors depicted on the gold and electrum vessels excavated from kurgan burials in the Ukraine are shown wearing finely tailored leather jerkins. left us an extremely detailed account of the journey.html (19 of 28)01/03/2014 13:03:23 . It was so cold that the local people covered their water cisterns with coats lined with sheepskin fur. From Mallory and Mair. Many items of clothing were fur-lined. Ahmed ibn Fadlan. In 921 the government of the Abbasid Caliph Muqtadir sent an embassy from Baghdad to the king of the Bulgars on the Volga.karakalpak. The coats were called bustîns. Ibn Fadlan survived by wrapping himself in clothing and furs. 2000.Karakalpak Postin Drawing of one of the "Subashi Witches" wearing a bulky sheepskin overcoat. similarly dated to the 4th to 3rd century BC. The embassy sheltered from the harsh winter in Gurganj (now Kunya Urgench). the capital of northern Khorezm. Although clothing specifically made from sheepskin was not identified in finds from the the more westerly kurgan burials at Pazyryk. in the Siberian Altai.

a considerable sum of money at the time.com/postin. He observed that Karakalpak men wore the same costume as the Qazaqs of the Lesser Horde. the best having a wavy appearance like damask cloth. spotted. or fox-coloured and were graded by quality. In 1772 Johann Georgi described the importance of lambskins to the Qazaq nomad economy. Each one of us also had simple trousers and another thicker pair." According to the Hudûd al-Âlam. The Qazaqs even sewed linen cloth around the new-born lambs to protect their coat and to encourage the growth of a wavy fleece.Karakalpak Postin "The inhabitants of our host country kindly invited us to take our precautions with regard to clothing and advised us to carry a great quantity of it. Whether the definition of a fur coat encompassed sheepskin we do not know. The air piercingly cold. a fur-lined coat of sheepskin over a cardigan of felt and a bonnet which revealed only two eyes. so that each one of us. when placed on top of the camel. The Qazaq costume consisted of a shapeless jeyde shirt and a chapan. boots of chagrin leather and over the boots some more boots. and felt boots and leggings. compiled towards the end of the 10th century. sheepskin trousers. or pustins as he termed them. They were also issued with fur hoods. Each one of us wore a tunic over a caftan. stained a buff colour and beautifully embroidered with floss silk. When we saw the reality through our own eyes we realised that it was twice as great as we had previously been told. although Abbott commented that wealthy men wore coats of cloth lined with Siberian furs. Qazaq lambskins were highly valued. Obviously http://www.html (20 of 28)01/03/2014 13:03:23 . Their price was about 8 ducats or £4 each. over which was worn a khalat or a fur coat. slippers. Bukharan postins were especially popular throughout Persia. At roughly the same time Nikolay Khanykov was in Bukhara where he discovered that lambskin postins.karakalpak. This must have been a good quality coat. During one frightening day they went over our venture and demonstrated the dangers to us. were one of the main items of export from the region. They could be white. When Captain James Abbott travelled from Herat to Khiva in the winter of early 1840 he purchased a postin for the journey before leaving Afghanistan: "The sky was remarkably pure and brilliant. black." Abbott recorded that postins were made from dhoomba's skins and made with the fur inside. blueish grey. the main difference being that the Karakalpaks did not have red leather belts. could not move because of all this clothing. William of Rubruck's embassy was equipped with "rough sheepskin coats" for the fourmonth winter journey from Batu's camp on the Volga to Möngke's court in Mongolia in late 1253. I drew closer my posteen. although Muravin did note that the Qazaqs kept sheep. The first description of Karakalpak costume was recorded by Ivan Muravin in 1740 after visting their encampment on the Quwan Darya. The leather was tanned to the consistencey of wash leather (chamois). being rated only second in desirablity to Bukharan pelts. or cloak of fur. the Kerder region of Khorezm (the Aral delta) was a major producer of sheepskins at that time.

and that for a black Arab postin at 3 tillas.Karakalpak Postin the price of a postin was seasonal. I enquired for a sheepskin shub.com/postin. too. The first.karakalpak. both of which are held at the National Museum of Denmark in Copenhagen. Henry Lansdell attempted to buy a similar coat on the bazaar in Khiva a few years later: "Dreading. so poor was the choice. who referred to them as sheepskin shubas. Persian merchants taking the opportunity to purchase Bukharan postins at bargain prices. equivalent to about 4½ US dollars or £1 sterling.html (21 of 28)01/03/2014 13:03:23 . catalogued as inventory number 216. the price falling in the springtime. He explained that these were a type of fur peliss [a military fur-lined coat or cloak]. but could not find one to my taste in the bazaar. the spring caravan was the largest. They were noted as one of the main items of commerce by Major Herbert Wood. was acquired in the town of Osh in the Ferghana Valley (today part of Tajikistan) during 1897: http://www." When Ole Olufsen was in Central Asia 1896-97 he collected two postins. At that time a golden tilla was valued at 14 roubles 35 kopeks. Post•ns were on sale at Sh•mabay bazaar just after the Russian conquest of Khiva in 1873. This suggests that prices in Bukhara were similar to those in Herat. the cold we had been warned of. Khanykov quoted the market price for a grey Arab postin at 4½ tillas. In today's prices this would be of the order of $100. Consequently of the four caravans travelling from Meshed to Bukhara annually.

http://www.karakalpak. It has been decorated with a black outer edging of embroidered silk velvet.html (22 of 28)01/03/2014 13:03:23 .Karakalpak Postin The postin collected in Osh by Ole Olufsen's Expedition in 1897.com/postin.

Karakalpak Postin Drawing of Olufsen's postin. http://www.html (23 of 28)01/03/2014 13:03:23 . However because these were difficult to obtain at that time. Interestingly Olufsen must have been impressed by the qualities of the local postins. As elsewhere in Central Asia the Karakalpak post•n remained in widespread use throughout the early part of the 20th century. showing the arrangement of pelt fragments. At that time the word Sart was applied to all settled villagers throughout Turkestan. made from the large wild Pamir sheep (Ovis poli). However the increasing availability of inexpensive military-style woollen overcoats from Russia gradually eroded the post•ns popularity. It is decorated on the outside with strips of plain blue velvet.com/postin. Olufsen referred to it as a postun in his notes. most people had to live with coats made from ordinary sheepskin. numbered 216. adding that the Pamir wild sheep was greatly valued for such coats in view of its long thick fleece. was purchased in 1896 from the Kyrgyz of the Altai Steppe in the Northern Pamirs.karakalpak. inventory number 9. Olufsen described this as a Sart's sheepskin coat or chalat. Olufsen's second coat. Formally described as a chalat. so the coat is likely to be Uzbek. since he purchased a third for his own winter costume for exploring the Pamirs.

karakalpak.html (24 of 28)01/03/2014 13:03:23 .com/postin. http://www. Frost will force a man to wear a tayshax•." It implies that the tayshax• was the dress of the poor people who could only afford to live on millet. The tayshax• was apparently a simple. It is mentioned in an old Karakalpak saying: "Hunger will force a man to clean husk from millet.Karakalpak Postin Karakalpak young man wearing a post•n in the late 1950s. We have never seen an example of either. undecorated knee-length coat made from a tay•nshaq. the tanned pelt of a foal. Even so it continued to be worn after the Great Patriotic War and can still be seen today in some of the remoter parts of the delta. Karakalpak men wore two different types of pelt coat – the tayshax• and the q•lqa. The Tayshax• In the past. It was worn hair side out and was the traditional winter dress of shepherds and livestock farmers.

Please note that the dotless letter 'i' (•) is pronounced 'uh'. The Q•lqa The q•lqa was another everyday knee-length winter coat. according to the legend. named in his honour. Sultan Uvays Karanee lived until Xoja Ahmed Yassawi was born and then gave him the q•lqa. Sultan Uvays continued to live in Khorezm and was buried in the Sultan Uvays Dag Mountains. one of the Prophet’s followers. It was made from tanned sheep’s pelts and was worn fleece side in.karakalpak. One tells of how in the late 18th century. He subsequently became a saint and today his burial place remains a revered and holy place that is regularly visited by many Karakalpaks. worn hair side out. The Kalmuks from the Volga river region along with the Bashkirs and the Altais used the same technique for producing men’s winter coats. Aydos actually killed his brothers and allied himself with Khiva against the rebel Karakalpaks. was entrusted to pass the holy q•lqa over. Specialists on Qazaq national costume believe that there was a widespread tradition of producing a range of winter clothes from animal pelts.Karakalpak Postin It is also mentioned in certain historical folk legends. the Khan of Khiva. In reality. worn in the past by shepherds. Put on your tayshax• and become a shepherd.com/postin. Sultan Uvays Karanee. Pronunciation of Karakalpak Terms To listen to a Karakalpak pronounce any of the following words just click on the one you wish to hear. Now that you have killed your brothers you can never become the ruler of the Karakalpak people. the leader of the Karakalpak Qon'•rat tribe. who was to be born some 500 years later. who replied: "You are a Karakalpak. Aydos presented his brothers heads to the devious Khan. long after the Prophet’s death in 632. livestock farmers." A similar unlined coat for shepherds was made by the Qazaqs from the pelt of a oneyear-old foal. The Prophet Muhammad bequeathed his q•lqa to Xoja Ahmed Yassawi. In the legend however. Afterwards. Muhammad Amin. It was called a tayjakue. G duwash•q eltiri ton ishik ton jaw•r•nsha post•n G G G G http://www.html (25 of 28)01/03/2014 13:03:23 . Another Karakalpak legend tells how the q•lqa first appeared among the Karakalpaks. to murder his brothers in return for leadership over all of the Karakalpak tribes. persuaded Aydos bay. and cereal croppers.

. Anon. Sindbad. Journal of a Political Mission to Afghanistan in 1857. T. and Khasanova. London. Frunze. Esbergenov. Oxford.com/postin. translated by Marius Canard. Crafts of the Uzbeks of southern Khorezm at the end of the 19th beginning of the 20th century [in Russian].. J. Ahmed ibn Fadlan. Published by Fan. K. 1997. Chapter 2. Chapter 3 Costume and Adornments. 1980. Bellew. http://www.. A. Costume [in Russian]. Special Material Culture and Applied Arts of the Southern Kyrgyz [in Russian]. A. Oxford University Press. H.Karakalpak Postin G q•lqa qoy terisi qoz• G G G sen'sen' ton shapan tayshax• G G References Abdullaev. Uzbek SSR.. Burnaby. 1962. William H Allen and Co. Moscow and Saint Petersburg. 1970. London. in Ethnography of the Karakalpak from the 19th to the beginning of the 20th century.karakalpak. X.. pages 110 to 111. Narrative of a Journey from Heraut to Khiva. Voyage chez les Bulgares de la Volga. Smith. Minorsky. translated by V. A Ride to Khiva. 1978. Tashkent. 1988.. Paris. London. I. Dzhabbarov. F G. S. Tashkent.. 1843. Hudûd al-Âlam. 1972. Published by Fan. Uzbek Costume (19th to early 20th century) [in Russian]. Volume 97. 1862. Gibb Memorial Trust. Published by the Academy of Sciences of the Kyrgyz SSR. Oxford University Press. W.html (26 of 28)01/03/2014 13:03:23 . I. Antipina. Elder and Co. Abbott. M. Transactions of the Institute of Ethnography of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR..

Qosbergenov. Central Asian Ethnographical Collection... London. Alma Ata. Fan Publishing. Bokhara..html (27 of 28)01/03/2014 13:03:23 . G. Mallory. Dent & Sons Ltd. pages 151 to 169. Published by "Karakalpakstan".. New York. "Science". Nichols. Moscow. Volume 2. Qazaq National Costume.com/postin.. Printed for J. H. T. Lansdell. Moscow. The Shores of Lake Aral. Rudenko. Kh. A Description of All the Nationalities that Inhabit the Russian State [in Russian]. Geographical Proceedings. J.. Published by the Russian Geographic Society. K. I. 2002. 1970. A S. P. 1935. No'kis. 1885. 1845.. Issue 4. Tashkent. London. Saint Petersburg. London. M. Translated by William Tooke.1917) [in Karakalpak]. pages 39 to 89.. Russia: or a Complete Historical Account of All the Nations which Compose that Empire.. 1970. Culture and way of life of the Uzbeks of the Kipchak region of the Karakalpak ASSR [in Russian].. 1851. K. Houghton. Culture and Life of the Karakalpak People in the Colonial Period (1873 . James Madden. Zadykhina. M.. G. Moscow. Costumes of the Peoples of Central Asia. and Sazonova. R.. L. Traditional Clothing of the Turkmen People [in Russian]. K. Zadykhina.karakalpak. 1780. The People's Clothing of the Tajiks of Garm region [in Russian]. edited by O. Khanykov. 1959.. Morozova. Second Volume. Conant. Shakanov.. Nauka. Maillart. A. Turkestan Solo.Karakalpak Postin Fihl. http://www. 1776 to 1777. U. J. completed in 1740-1741 by Lietenant Gladyshev and Geodesist Muravin.. and Muravin. Men’s clothing of the Uzbeks of Khorezm at the end of the 19th – beginning of the 20th century [in Russian]. E... Journey from Orsk to Khiva and back. H.1953. G P Putnam’s Sons. Cadell. Second Publication. 1876. 1850.. T. E. Saint Petersburg. pages 761 to 808. Academy of Science of the USSR. Copenhagen. Mifflin and Co. translated by John Rodker.. P. Archaeological and Ethnographic Works of the Khorezm Expedition. 1966. Exploring Central Asia. Rhodos. Payne and N. edited by Lobacheva and Sazonova. Elder. Georgi. Traditional Clothing of the Peoples of Central Asia and Kazakhstan. Gladyshev. J. Sukhareva. H. Editor. London. London. Georgi. Kazakhs of the Lower Amu Darya [in Russian]. Smith. 1976. J. L. 1989. 1958. its Amir and its People. Wood. I. V. V. 1949 .. Volume 2. N. Shalekenov. D. Publishing House of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR. 2000. Publisher Zhalyn. Frozen Tombs of Siberia. The Tarim Mummies. Boston. S. page 165. and Mair. V. Moscow.. Thames and Hudson. H. & Co. Russian Central Asia.. Rusyaykina S. 1979.

A. Unless stated otherwise. all of the material on this website is the copyright of David and Sue Richardson. London. Karakalpak. It was last updated on 8 February 2012.html (28 of 28)01/03/2014 13:03:23 . Return to top of page Home Page This page was first published on 11 March 2007. rather than the Russian transliteration. http://www. T. Everyday Life in a Karakalpak Kolkhoz Aul. 1956.2014. Qaraqalpaq.karakalpak. which uses the correct transliteration.Karakalpak Postin Zhdanko.com. excerpts given in document number 28 in "Changing Attitudes in Soviet Russia: The Nationalities Problem and Soviet Administration: Selected Readings on the Development of Soviet Nationalities Policies".qaraqalpaq. Gottlieb and R. Visit our sister site www. Routledge and Kegan Paul..com/postin. by W. © David and Sue Richardson 2005 . Schlesinger. W.

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