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A burka (Georgian: ნაბადი nabadi, Svan: ღა̈რთ ghärt, Abkhaz: ауапа awápa, Adyghe: кӏакӏо chakwe, Kabardian: щӏакӏуэ shakwe, Ossetian: нымӕг nymæg, Ingush: ферта ferta, Chechen: верта verta, Avar: буртина burtína) is a coat made from felt or karakul (the short curly fur of young lambs of the breed of that name). See article "Burqa" for the etymology of the word.
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.
Other items of traditional Caucasian dress were the beshmet or soft inner shirt with a close-fitting collar and the cheskeska or collarless outer shirt with a V-shaped opening in the front and long wide sleeves. Across the cherkeska were the gazerei or row of semi-ornamental cartridge-cases, often with decorated tops. On the belt was the kinzhal or long dagger worn diagonally in front. Below were narrow trousers tied below the knee and at the ankle, leggings and leather boots. Over all this was the long wide wool burka fastened at the neck and open at the front. It could be reversed to make a windbreak or used as a blanket. On the head was the bashlyk or soft cap and the papakha or wool hat, often very large.
- Baddeley, John F. "The Rugged Flanks of the Caucasus", 1940, pp125-129