Elechek

Elechek

An elechek is a traditional women’s headdress in the form of a turban, and was a sign of the social status of women in ancient times.  They are an important part of the cultural heritage of the Kyrgyz.

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Elechek – women’s headdress.  An elechek consists of three parts: a cap that is placed on the head and on top which is a small rectangular piece of cloth covering the neck and sewn under the chin, all crowned with metres of white linen in “turban” style.

A woman first wore an elechek when she became a bride and was sent to her husband’s house for the first time.  Elecheki differ by region and area. They not only indicated the status of a woman in a family, but also showed her belonging to a clan-tribe. Women with a higher position wore bigger sizes and the number of times the linen was wrapped around the head determined the nobility of the wearer.

An elechek comprise from 8 to 21 meters of fabric. The headdress can be decorated with embroidery. Widows wore black elecheks.