Despite their very different lifestyles, the beggars and vagrants of Samarkand wore the same type of clothing as khans and bureaucrats. Their social status was reflected in the materials from which their garments were made. Throughout Central Asia, basic dress consisted of the tunic, trousers and a variety of coats. Khans wore imported silk embroidered with gold and silver, the middle class wore ikat silk, and poorer groups wore cotton.

The practice of charitable giving is one of the five basic tenets or “pillars” of Islam, and every Muslim is expected to donate a portion of his wealth annually to those less fortunate.