The kalpak is the traditional high-crowned cap worn by men in Kyrgyzstan. It’s made of felt, sometimes with a black velvet lining.
Out on the range, when you’re herding sheep and horses, it’s the perfect all-weather headgear, designed to keep the head warm in winter and provide shade from the sun during summer; when it’s raining, you turn down the brim. But it’s not only for herders. It’s a common sight in the cities, worn with jeans and T-shirt or a business suit. It can be folded flat for carrying when not being worn. I photographed this boy in Karakol in 1996.
Postcards from Stanland: Journeys in Central Asia (Ohio University Press, 2016) is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-Million and other online retailers. Read excerpts at www.davidhmould.com (Travel Blogs) or Facebook /PostcardsFromStanland/ or view readings and interviews on YouTube