Man’s robe (chapan or khalat)

Detail of man's robe

In nineteenth-century Central Asia, layered garments made out of luxurious materials and a variety of headgear, jewelry, ornaments, and accessories were fashionable. Central Asian people wore many layers of clothing not only to protect themselves from the elements, but also to show off their wealth and thus their importance in society. The outer robes called chapan or khalat have a straight or slightly flared silhouette and were made of one or two long, narrow panels of fabric with additional trapezoidal panels of various sizes inserted to add fullness on the sides. They usually had side slits and decorative binding along the front opening, hem, and cuff edges. They did not have pockets and most had no closure fastening. Instead, a fabric scarf known as a futa was tied around the waist and also served as a receptacle for carrying everyday objects. For those who could afford it, a belt, made of metal, typically silver, or embroidered in silk with metal buckles, was used for closing the garment. Small bags were hung from the belt to hold personal items.