Aq qalpaq is a headdress for men made of felt with different cut variations. Without going into details of the cut, it has a conical shape with a narrow high crown and a rounded or pointed crown. The lower parts were curved and formed wide fields. They were sewn with a strip of black or red fabric. The shape, reminiscent of a mountain and an elevation, goes back to the ancient Turkic cult of the Mountain of the World.
A similar headdress is still popular among the Kyrgyz, who consider it a symbol of mountains and purity. Experts note that pointed and cone-shaped felt headdresses have a thousand-year history and were a symbol of rulers and kings. Of particular importance is the “ayir qalpaq”, which refers to the sacred (upper, heavenly) world. The main decorations were symbols and signs – a horse, a bird, an argali, the world tree, etc. The ayir qalpaq was richly embroidered with silk and bobbin lace. Historians believe that this headdress served as a crown (“täzh” – in Kazakh) and was an indispensable attribute of the traditional costume of the Chingizids (the ruling elite).