Библиотека нематериального культурного наследия Республики Башкортостан
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is a national headdress of married Bashkir women, consisting of a hat-helmet with a hole on the top of the head, tightly fitting the head, and a narrow ribbon, covered with corals and coins, hanging along the back. The word «kashmau» is formed by combining  two Bashkir words – kash («eyebrow») and bau («rope») and means «headband».

Kashmau in the ethnographic works
One of the earliest sources where kashmau is mentioned is the work of the German scientist, ethnographer, encyclopedist Peter Simon Pallas, which dates back to XVIII century. In it the author considers kashmau under the concept of chashbau, decorated with small silver coins. According to the scientist's description, this headdress is worn over a veil called tastar, tied under the chin with a specially designed strap.

Kashmau as a female headdress, but only under the name kashpau, is also mentioned in the works of the famous Russian scientist Ivan Ivanovich Lepyokhin.
«The headdress, as well as among the Tatars, is called kashpau; and the whole difference is that kashpau also has cone-shaped top, which can be folded. A ribbon covered with silver kopeks hangs from the back».

Ivan Ivanovich Lepyokhin (1740–1802),
scientist-encyclopedist, traveler, lexicographer, academician of the Saint Petersburg Academy of Sciences
 Illustration from the book by the French traveler Paul Auguste Labbé «Sur les grandes routes de Russie. Entre l'Oural et la Volga» («By the roads of Russia. From Volga to the Urals»). The photo was taken approximately in 1897–1899

A rich material about kashmau is given in the fundamental work of historian-ethnographer Sergei Ivanovich Rudenko «Bashkiry. Istoriko-etnograficheskie ocherki» («The Bashkirs. Historical and ethnographic essays»). It gives a detailed description of the structure of this headdress.
According to S. I. Rudenko's notes, it can be understood that at the beginning of the XX century not all Bashkirs used kashmau, he wrote about this: «At present kashmau is worn in the southern half of the Bashkir territory, specifically representatives of the tribes min, tabyn, yurmaty, tam'yan, tangaur, burzyan, kypsak and inzer clan of the katai tribe. Two decades ago it was worn by usergan, tam'yan tribes, kubalek and teleu clans of the tabyn tribe, and a little earlier by kara-tabyn and baryn-tabyn clans of the tabyn tribe, aile, kudei and kanly tribes».

Kashmau in the museums

Along with some other types of ancient Bashkir headdress, which Bashkir women have worn since ancient times, kashmau can now be seen in Russian ethnographic museums.
Portrait in a traditional headdress. Bashkirs (1908). Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (the Kunstkamera) of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Photo: Mikhail Antonovich Krukovsky
Women (two wives) in traditional costumes. Bashkirs (1908). Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (the Kunstkamera) of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Photo: Mikhail Antonovich Krukovsky
Portrait of a married Bashkir woman in a traditional headdress. Bashkirs (1908). Peter the Great Museum of Anthropology and Ethnography (the Kunstkamera) of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Photo: Mikhail Antonovich Krukovsky
An exhibit from the Russian Museum of Ethnography (Saint Petersburg)
An exhibit from the Museum of Archeology and Ethnography of the Institute of Ethnological Research of the Ufa Federal Research Center of the Russian Academy of Sciences (Ufa)
An exhibit from the National Museum of the Republic of Bashkortostan (Ufa)
Kashmau making
Kashmau consists of two parts: a hat and a «tail» (in some regions it is called olon – «trunk»). The hat has a helmet-like shape, a narrow long ribbon, the so-called «tail», is sewn to the back of its lower part. The structure of this headdress was described in detail by the famous ethnographer Sergei Ivanovich Rudenko.

«Kashmau essentially consists of kashmau itself. The hat is sewn from canvas and covered with red cloth, and it covers only part of the head and the back of the head, while the crown remains open. Corals and two rows of small silver coins are sewn on the fabric around the hole, from which a fringe of coral threads descends with a row of silver coins at the end; corals cover the entire fabric part of kashmau.
Sulpys (women's traditional pair jewelry in the form of pendants) are attached to the lower ends of the fringe, and in the middle and on the sides three, five silver pendants (suk) of leaf-shaped plates connected by rings are sewn on it. There are no corals on the back of the kashmau, and large silver coins or metal patterned plaques (kash) are sewn onto the fabric.
Kuiruk (narrow ribbon, covered with shells and beads, hanging along the back) is most often made from woolen fabric of domestic work or from cloth painted red with madder (kyzyl buyak), always lined, most often canvas. Sometimes it is sewn from canvas painted red, or even just from red cloth bought at the bazaar. The width of the kuiruk is small (15 cm); two continuous rows of shells are sewn on the edges from top to bottom, and the entire middle part is sewn with multicolored beads arranged in the form of certain geometric shapes (squares, rhombuses, triangles) with shells between them or inside them. The kuiruk ends with a fringe of multicolored woolen threads. The kashmau is worn directly over the hair and fastened under the chin with a special buckle (kaptyrma)».

Sergei Ivanovich Rudenko (1885–1969), ethnographer, historian, archaeologist, author of scientific works on ethnography and beliefs of Bashkirs
What is the difference between the modern kashmau and the traditional one?

Currently craftswomen for the manufacture of kashmau choose a fabric that is stable for attaching beads and coins. This fabric is wrapped in red calico or silk. Both the hat and the «tail» of the kashmau are decorated with ornaments. Beads and coins are sewn over the ornament, and fabric headband decorated with coins is also attached. In the area of both temples chain earrings, long hair jewelry for braids are suspended. The main features of kashmau making have mostly been preserved. Craftswomen try to preserve the traditions of sewing this headdress. Small transformations are observed only in the ornament.

For example, in some cases the geometric shapes mentioned by S. I. Rudenko are replaced by another ones. Now one can meet kashmau with a closed crown. There are different opinions of scientists on the question of the purpose of the hole in the parietal part of kashmau.

Along with traditional red corals (beads) white pearls are now used, it's a distinctive feature of the modern kashmau. Unfortunately, there are not many masters in making kashmau today. Making kashmau is a very delicate job that requires a lot of skill. The application of patterns requires special attention.

How to sew kashmau?
In one of the episodes of the TV program «Ornament» on the «BST» TV channel it is told about the sewing kashmau according to ancient traditions.

TV program «Ornament» on the «BST» TV channel (video material from the personal archive of Sarvar Surina)
Kashmau as an attribute of the wedding ceremony
Kashmau was not just a headdress of married women, it was the main attribute of the wedding ceremony. It was the coral-red hat with an ornamented narrow ribbon hanging along the back that was the symbol of the most responsible and turning point in the fate of Bashkir girls, when the mother-in-law removed the girl's hat from the head of the young daughter-in-law and put on a colorful and at the same time rather heavy kashmau instead.
This headdress, in which, as researcher Rozaliya Asfandiyarovna Sultangareyeva correctly noted, girlhood was materialized, played a significant role in the wedding folklore of the Bashkir people. Even in the smallest details Bashkir craftswomen were able to emphasize the status of a young woman in marriage. For example, in the diamond-shaped beaded embroidery on the ribbon hanging along the back something whole was symbolically displayed, specifically the unity of such opposites as «man – woman», «heaven – earth», «sun – moon».
Photos from the personal album of Fatima Yanbayeva

Kashmau as a talisman

The ancient Bashkirs believed in the protective power of kashmau. It was believed that each of the varieties of precious stones used in the decoration of this headdress performed a certain protective function.
For example, coral, according to Bashkirs, is able to treat heart diseases. The «tail» of kashmau protected the woman from the evil eye, and the noise of the coins scared away evil spirits.

Kashmau in the Bashkir folk songs
Bashkir folk songs often describe not only the external beauty and slimness of girls, but also traditional Bashkir clothing, which is neat and fits well.


Bashkir folk song

Make a match for young guy with a beloved girl,

Who wears a gold ring, a double bracelet,

A necklace made of red coral and silver coins,

A headdress with a ribbon

Decorated with corals and silver coins.

Saz River

Bashkir folk song

There is no comparison to be found for these places,

Winter dwellings of the ancestors are everywhere around here.

Coins' silver, oh, silver

Clinks in the kashmau of young brides.

This will never do

Bashkir folk song

This will never do,

That will never do too.

Kashmau, rings

And all your outfits are good.

Oh, don't make a match with beautiful girls –

It's better to make a match for love...

Make a match for young guy

With the one, who can love,

She will be allowed to wear gold rings

Along with necklace and kashmau.

Kashmau in the Soviet era

According to the stories of elderly people, in Soviet times, especially during the years of collectivization, Bashkir women gave their kashmau and khakals (necklaces), as well as other silver jewelry for the purchase of tractors for the collective farms. Some of these valuable things were handed over by women during the Great Patriotic war as help to the front.
Kashmau in modern times
Members of the public organization «Aginei» are doing a lot of work in popularizing kashmau today, putting on this headdress at various events and telling the younger generation about the ways of making it.
Reportage «Bashkir women's headdress kashmau is gaining popularity» (video from the website of TV and radio company «Bashkortostan», correspondent – Margarita Gafarova)

Currently the creative association «Kashmau» is also engaged in sewing and reviving the national costume.
Our contemporary Gulgina Baimurzina – the chief specialist in folklore of the Republican Center of Folk Art, Honored Worker of Culture of the Republic of Bashkortostan – conducts seminars, master classes on the study and sewing of women's national clothing, including kashmau.
Master class «Bashkir national clothing». Video report
Gulgina Baimurzina

«When sewing kashmau the observance of antiquity is mandatory. Don't get carried away with stylization».
Nowadays kashmau can also be found in the costumes of participants of various folklore groups. In general, a lot of attention is currently being paid to the revival of the Bashkir national costume, including kashmau.


1. Labbé P. (1905). Sur les grandes routes de Russie. Entre l'Oural et la Volga [By the roads of Russia. From Volga to the Urals]. Paris: Octave Doin, editeur, 274 p. (in French).
2. Lepyokhin I. I. (1771). Dnevnye zapiski puteshestviya doktora i Akademii nauk ad"yunkta Ivana Lepyokhina po raznym provintsiyam Rossiyskogo gosudarstva v 1768 i 1769 godu [Daily notes of the journey of Doctor and Adjunct of Academy of Sciences Ivan Lepyokhin in different provinces of the Russian state in 1768 and 1769]. Saint Petersburg: Tipografiya Imperatorskoi Akademii nauk, pt. 1, 538 p. (in Russian).
3. Pallas P. S. (1773–1788). Puteshestvie po raznym provintsiyam Rossiyskoi imperii [Journey to different provinces of the Russian Empire]. Saint Petersburg: Tipografiya Imperatorskoi Akademii nauk, pt. 1–3 (in Russian).
4. Rudenko S. I. (2006). Bashkiry. Istoriko-etnograficheskie ocherki [The Bashkirs. Historical and ethnographic essays]. Ufa: Kitap, 376 p. (in Russian).
5. Sal'manov R. V., Sagitov M. M. (eds.) (1983). Bashkort khalyk izhady. Yirzar khem kyuyzer [Bashkir folk art. Songs and tunes]. Ufa: Bashkortostan kitap neshriyete, 312 p. (in Bashkir).
6. Sultangareyeva R. A. (1994). Bashkirskiy svadebno-obryadovyi fol'klor [Bashkir wedding and ritual folklore]. Ufa: [s. n.], 192 p. (in Russian).

©Author (compiler): R. A. Suleimanova, 2021