A bashlyk, also spelled bashlik (Karachay-Balkar: Başlıq, Adyghe: Shkharkhon, Abkhaz: qtarpá, Chechen: Ċukkuiy, Ossetic: Kaskæ Crimean Tatar: Başlıq, Tatar: Başlıq, Turkish: Başlık; "baş" - head, "-lıq" (Tatar) / "-lık" (Turkish) - derivative suffix), is a traditional Turkic, North Caucasian, Iranian, and Cossack cone-shaped hooded headdress, usually of leather, felt or wool, featuring a round topped bonnet with lappets for wrapping around the neck. Local versions determine the trim, which may consist of decorative cords, embroidery, jewelry, metallized strings, fur balls or tassels. Among dozens of versions are winter bashlyks worn atop regular headdress, cotton bashlyks, homeknitted bashlyks, silk bashlyks, scarf bashlyks, down bashlyks, dress bashlyks, jumpsuit-type bashlyks, etc. Bashlyks are used as traditional folk garment, and as uniform headdress.[1][2]

5th century BC Greek depiction of a Scythian archer wearing what would generally be called a Bashlyk

A variation of bashlyk is the kalpak (qalpaq), a cone-shaped headdress without lappets, mostly made of leather, felt or wool,[3] and the malahai, also known as the tymak, a curved cone-shaped headdress, either with or without lappets, mostly made of leather, and occasionally with a fur-wrapping, originally worn by most inhabitants of the Idel-Ural, but nowadays mostly reduced to the Bashkirs.[4] It also went on to inspire the budenovka in the USSR.[5]

6th century BC Greek depiction of Scythian warrior wearing a folded Bashlyk very similar to the fur-less Bashkir variant of the Malahai


The origins of this conical headgear can possibly be traced back to the oldest equestrian nomadic peoples in antiquity. It may have originated as a type of sauna hat to preserve body heat, due to most nomadic cultures having practiced a variety of the steam bath rather than traditional bathing, with the upright length of the hood eventually becoming a symbol of social status among some peoples.[6]

20th century photograph depicting Lezgins wearing bashlyks and kalpaks

The Scythians are often depicted in ancient depictions with hoods, which were then called Phrygian caps, after a similar headgear of the Anatolian Phrygians. Although named after the Phrygians, the long pointed hoods were already widespread among the Scythians, Cimmerians, Argippaeans and Sarmatians. The Central Asian Sakas, used similar, but usually much higher hoods, as ancient depictions and archaeological finds show. Research in Turkology and Iranian studies often assumes a continuity between the antecedent of the Phrygian cap and the Bashlyk, often referring to this ancient headgear with the word Bashlyk exclusively.[7][8]

7th century BC Achaemenid depiction of a Saka satrap wearing a Bashlyk and Mustache

In modern times, bashlyks became fashionable in Russia in 1830-1840, after the Napoleonic Wars with significant participation of the Bashkir cavalry. By the 1862 bashlyks were made a uniform headdress in Cossack armies, and later in other branches of Russian armed forces. The military bashlyk was bright yellow camel wool, with a yellow band. Officer bashlyks had gold or silver band. In the Russian army, bashlyks lasted till 1917, when they became a trademark of White Army officers and Red Army cavalry.[9]


See also


  1. ^ Hat Dictionary
  2. ^ Значение и этимология слов на букву Б Archived April 21, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ kalpak - Definition from the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary
  4. ^ "ТСД2/Малахай — Викитека". ru.wikisource.org (in Russian). Retrieved 2024-04-17.
  5. ^ Khostov, Mikhail (1996). The Russian Civil War (1): The Red Army. Bloomsbury, USA: Osprey Publishing. p. 23.
  6. ^ "Introducing the Scythians | British Museum". www.britishmuseum.org. Retrieved 2024-04-17.
  7. ^ Vgl. z. B. Heidemarie Koch: Achämeniden-Studien. Wiesbaden 1993, S. 118–134, wo die Kopfbedeckungen der Reliefstatuen von Persepolis beschrieben werden
  8. ^ Beckwith, Christopher I. (2023-01-17). The Scythian Empire: Central Eurasia and the Birth of the Classical Age from Persia to China. Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0-691-24053-4.
  9. ^ "РУССКИЙ ВОЕННЫЙ МУНДИР XVIII-XIX веков". 2007-03-12. Archived from the original on 2007-03-12. Retrieved 2024-04-17.