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Balaclava, mask

Balaclava, also known as Balaclava helmet or ski mask, is a cloth headdress designed to show only part of the face. Depending on the style and way of wearing, only the eyes, mouth and nose or the front of the face are protected. The full face version can be rolled into a hat to cover the top of the head or folded into a collar around the neck.

The name comes from the use during the Crimean War in the battle of baraklava, referring to the small town near Sevastopol, Crimea. British troops there wear knitted headgear to keep warm.

The traditional Balaclava hat is made of wool. Modern versions are also made of silk, cotton, polypropylene, neoprene, acrylic or fleece.

This headdress was known in the 19th century as a Uhlan or temple hat.

In the Crimean War of 1854, hand-made Balaclava hats were sent to the British army to help them avoid the cold. British troops need such assistance because their own supplies (warm clothing, windbreaks and food) never arrive in time. In his history of hand weaving, Richard rutt said that the name "Balaclava hat" was not used during the war, but later appeared in 1881.