Boysun is one of the largest districts in Surkhandarya region. Cultural amalgamation is a feature of Boysun. Numerous ethnic groups form its population. The central area and kishlaks of Kuchkak, Pasurhi, Chinar, Bibishirin and others around Boysun are inhabited chiefly by Tajiks (Tajiks — Chagatai). Valleys and foothills are occupied mainly by semi-nomadic Uzbek tribes (Qungrad, Yuzi) and Uzbeks-Togchi relating themselves to the tribe of Qatagan.

Farming and handicrafts were major occupations of Tajiks. In the course of time the semi-nomadic Uzbek tribes mastered farming. However, distant-pasture cattle breeding remained major in their economy. Being different in economy orientations, the groups had close economic contacts, which promoted cultural interaction and at the same time allowed each group keeping own features of life and culture, including costume.

In spite of Boysun begstvo was a part of Bukhara khanate in the 19th — early 20th century, the national costume has kept original ethnic features till our days.
The traditional costume of Boysun women can be classified in two types:

  • Costume of sedentary Tajiks;
  • Costume of Uzbeks coming from Dasht-i-Qipchaks (Qungrad, Yuzi and others). Common in traditional costumes of Tajik and Uzbek women is a cut. Width and length of elements, decoration and fabric as well as a manner of wearing vary.


Everyday clothes of Boysun women were made from home-made cotton and semi-silk fabrics — striped alacha, djanda and others. S. Mahkamova noted that alacha was of various sorts — norpusti, momoshoi, kirmizi, mozori and amiri (1, p. ). In kishlak of Dashnaabad, besides alacha they manufactured fabric named as tenglik. Fabrics from the other regions (Bukhara, Karshi and others) were used alongside with local fabrics. O. Suhareva pointed out that «the best sorts of Karshi fabrics were produced for numerous feudal lords and top officers and were exported to Boysun, Guissar Guzar and Sarossiya while cattle breeders from neighboring steppe bought them at market» (2, p. 124). Women paid especial attention to color. Girls and young women chose bright red, and the elderly preferred down dark colors.

Color and decoration of dresses worn by Tajik women in Boysun were close to female costume in Tajikistan. Just more simple embroidery characterizes the first. Vegetative ornament consisted of realistically interpreted tulips, flower bushes and palmettes, as well as of primitive abstract rosettes which can be hardly associated with any natural flower (3, p. 79). Today the women wear such dresses on account of some celebrations or ceremonies. Qungrad women did not embroider their dresses. Only vertical neckline was decorated with embroidered band (typically nomadic ornament from geometrical and zoomorphic elements) or with front facing — sitora (literally «star»). The last one was made in the form of wide braided or woven bands of black color with round silver stamped plates sewed on. Some ethnographers point out that such front facing was rife in some areas of Tajikistan, in kishlaks of Western Pamir, among southeast tribes of Turkmens and some groups of Kazakhs (4, p. 50). These facts allow revealing ethnic and cultural contacts of Boysun population with the other congenial ethnic groups.

Boysun female headwear is worthy of especial attention. It differed from headdresses of the other regions of Uzbekistan. Turban-shaped headwear — bosh (literally «head») of Qungrad women was complex and consisted of several elements. In Surkhandarya there were different forms of headwear attributing to definite age, social position and tribal belonging. Bosh of Boysun Qungrads was a high cylinder extending upward.

Over-plait cap — kiyghich played a role of bosh’s basis. An embroidered band decorated its front. The embroidery was made of polychromic silk or cotton threads in a seam of iroqi. Earlier the ornament on bands showed tamga (mark, brand) that indicated to tribal or clan belonging of its owner. The second component of bosh was a firm basis that was wrapped with 3-5 m of red fabric. Several colored scarves (earlier their number could be 25 or even 30) were set above by steps. Unfortunately, many functions of this headwear have been forgotten. A big scarf and cape of qurta covered bosh atop. Such headwear was for married women. Today just some elderly women wear it.

Headwear of Boysun Tajik women was simpler and consisted from a cap with or without over-plait case and different scarves. Tyubeteika came later. Since the 1950s round tyubeteika — ghirillok duppi, embroidered with beads has become popular.
Jewelry as integral part of female costume, also defined ethnic belonging, social and family status of a women. Ornaments carried out both aesthetic and magic functions. Some jewelry of Boysun women, mainly from Qungrads, have analogues in jewelry of Turkmens, Kazakhs and Qarakalpaks, i.e. ethnically congenial groups, as all of them belonged to nomadic culture. So, forehead-temporal adornment of sinsila (silsila) was typical of Qungrad women, Kazakhs and some groups of Turkmen women (4, p. 35). Turkmen sinsila is made from massive rhombic plates with big cornelian inserts or decorated with polychromic glass. Semi-nomadic Uzbeks rarely decorated sinsila with cornelian. Among almost all of Turkmen tribes, girls over 9-12 wore sinsile or sunsule (5, p. 180). Among Qungrads, exclusively newly married or young women could wear sinsila. This is another difference regarding sinsila. However, in spite of some distinctions their genesis was common.

Neck and breast adornments, such as hapamat, gulband, haikal and tomoklov were various. Often they were made of silver and beads. Technology of their manufacturing has been kept.

Original are nets from multi-colored beads — hapamat and multi-stringed beads. Hapamat is typical of Qungrad jewelry though its name in Tajik sounds hafa — grief and band — to protect. We think the reason is in residing Iran-speaking groups in this region. According to Z. Shirokova, adornments from beads were popular at Tajik women of Qarateghin, Darvaz and the upper Zeravshan where they were called differently — kashelak, turbofi (2, p. 112). The ornaments on dolls from the valley of Zeravshan and from Iskander-qul Lake prove that hapamat existed here earlier as the dolls show pictures of necklace in a form of band closely wrapping a neck with pendants from beads falling down to a breast (6, p. 55). That proves again that similar ornaments were not only at nomadic Uzbek tribes.

Earrings were popular among Boysun women. The most widespread were ring-shaped with five or seven pendants — beshoiok (beshpoya), ettipoya. Original are earrings with pendants from three welded beads — uch kuzacha (three small jugs). Due to borrowings and trade contacts, Boysun female costume obtained earrings and adornments characteristic for the other regions of Central Asia. Jewelry from Loqai and Tajik jewelers were highly estimated. However, here jewelry art had not been further developed.

Thus the traditional costume of Boysun women has passed difficult way of evolution and lost some original features. However, it has kept basic features of national Surkhandarya costume that differs from the other regions of Uzbekistan. Boysun traditional female costume is worthy to be carefully study and waits for further researching.


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