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Karakul being quite expensive, burkas were usually sewn from felt treated to look like karakul. Burkas are sewn with high, squared off shoulders, and wearers will have a distinctive high-shouldered silhouette.
Burkas were part of the customary male garb of various peoples inhabiting the Caucasus region. Burkas were adopted by Russian cavalry, and worn as part of the Russian military uniform from the middle of the 18th century until the 1850s, during the Caucasus War. Vasily Chapayev wore a burka as a part of his military uniform.