Mongolian Hats: 5 Interesting Facts

Mongolia is a country in which their hats are a point of pride for many, and the hats have their own meanings.  The most popular Mongolian hats include the toortsog, loovuuz, and four-lugged shovgor hat. There are over 200 different types of hats in Mongolia. Hats vary in color, size, and shape depending on if the wearer is young or old, a man or a woman, the type of holiday or ceremony, or if the season is winter or summer. 

Here are 5 interesting facts about Mongolian hats:

  1. The Durvud inhabitants of Mongolia have different hat traditions. 
  2. A decoration on a hat symbolizes power. 
  3. Animal furs and materials are used frequently.    
  4. Scarves are a popular choice for women.   
  5. Star Wars took inspiration from old headdresses. 

Expanded upon below, here are some facts you may not know about hats worn in Mongolia. 

1: The Durvud inhabitants of Mongolia have different hat traditions.  

Called “Makhlai” by Durvuds, the hat sports a rectangular head, the four corners each representing a province of Oirad. In the summer, men wear white leather toortsogs while women instead wear a toortsog with 4 or 6 angles made of blue leather. The hats can have a red ribbon if you’re unmarried. In the winter, both men and women wear the duulkha hat. 

Mongolian woman wearing traditional hat
@PavelBudaev via Twenty20

2: A decoration on a hat symbolizes power. 

In the Middle Ages, the knot seen at the tip of many traditional hats symbolized power and the ability of the Mongolians to frighten enemies. 

Man wearing traditional Mongolian hat
@Rebecque via Twenty20

3: Animal furs and materials are used frequently.      

Loovus or pointed hats have traditionally been made of wolf or fox skin. Whereas Buriat (a group of people within Mongolia) men and women wear headgear made from otters, foxes, beavers, and other animals. 

4: Scarves are a popular choice for women.  

Extremely long scarves can come in a multitude of colors and be made from different materials such as fabric, silk, thin silk, or flax. Younger Mongolian women tie the scarf on the head and then coil a knot on the right allowing the fringe to drape down. Married women, on the other hand, do not leave any fringe and use the scarf to wrap up the back of the top of the head in a circle. 

5: Star Wars took inspiration from old headdresses.   

Queen Amidala (portrayed by Natalie Portman) can be seen wearing costumes that show off sculpted, hardened hair and elaborate headdresses. Read more about hats in Star Wars in this article. In traditional Mongolian culture, upper-class women sported the same look and decorated their headdresses with many items including silver or coral, bows, precious stones, and metals. 

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