CLOTHING xxvii. Historical lexicon of Persian clothing

The lexicon has been compiled from personal observations, descriptions in Persian and other sources, and from old paintings, drawings, and photographs.



xxvii. Historical lexicon of Persian clothing

Only terms for garments used in Persia at the present time or known to have been used in the past are included here; some of these garments were or are also worn in other Muslim countries. The lexicon has been compiled from personal observations, descriptions in Persian and other sources, and from old paintings, drawings, and photographs. Such details as the cut and material of a given garment and the occupation of the wearer are given when available, but sometimes all that can be learned from the sources is that a particular garment was in use. Tribal and peasant costumes in the different regions of Persia are not discussed or are mentioned only incidentally (see xxviii, below).

ʿAbāʾ. An outer garment, open in front, sleeveless but with large armholes, worn by men of all classes until the enforcement of Reżā Shah’s dress code (see xi, above).

ʿAraqčīn (Ar. ʿaraq “sweat” + Pers. čīn < čīdan “to pick”). A skullcap, usually white, formerly worn under a hat or turban outside the home, made of lightweight fabric. In the 18th century some men wore red, white, or blue skullcaps with silk embroidery; others wore leather skullcaps. Wealthy men wound cashmere scarves around their skullcaps (Olivier, III, pp. 222, 280, quoted by Rajabī, p. 38; Niebuhr, p. 108). Until Reżā Shah’s reforms shopkeepers, merchants, ʿolamāʾ, and many traditionalists wore the skullcap alone at work and at home; these versions were sometimes embroidered with colorful floral or other designs. Skullcaps are still worn by elderly men in rural areas. In the 18th century women also wore small skullcaps, sometimes decorated with precious stones or coins (Rajabī, p. 40; Solṭān-Aḥmad, p. 39). At the Qajar court this cap went out of vogue after Nāṣer-al-Dīn Shah (1264-1313/1848-96) traveled to Europe; it was then replaced by the čārqad or lačak derived from European fashions (see below; Javāher-kalām, pp. 54-­55).

Ārḵāloq, arḵāloq, arḵaleq (Turk.; Doerfer, II, pp. 29-30). A quilted waistcoat worn by men under a qabā (see below) and by women over a shift (for ārḵāloq-e sanbūsa, see Šāmlū, ā, nos. 1776-78). Apparently the earliest mention of the garment in a Persian source is by Moḥammad-Kāẓem Marvī (I, p. 66), an official during Nāder Shah’s reign (1148-60/1736-47). The a rḵāloq, worn by men of all classes, had short sleeves, vents over the thighs, two side pockets and a small breast pocket for a seal or similar object. It was wrapped in front and fastened by means of buttons and button loops on cords. The hem and often the cuffs and collar as well were trimnmed with braid in a darker color. According to Kalāntar Żarrābī (pp. 248-49), the winter arḵāloq was padded, that worn in the summer only lined. Those worn by members of the ʿolamāʾ and traditional officials were of printed cotton (qalamkār) or aleja, a handwoven striped fabric, usually in black and white, from Kāšān, Yazd, or Māzandarān. In the 18th century women also wore arḵāloqs, long, without collars, and amply pleated below the waist. These garments gradually became shorter and more like jackets, seldom reaching to the knees (see x, above). Wealthier women could afford to embellish their arḵāloqs with pearls and other ornaments (Behnām, 1338 Š./1959, p. 9, citing Gaspard Droville). In the 19th century wives of ʿolamāʾ, officials, and mer­chants wore arḵāloqs of Kermāni brocade (terma) or Kāšāni velvet at home and of cashmere, velvet, or other fine fabrics when visiting. Middle-class women wore less luxurious versions of the same garment (Kalāntar Żarrābī, p. 250). In 1911 Henri d’Allemagne remarked on the fine women’s arḵāloqs with gold braid on the cuffs, front, and back that he had seen in Persia (cited in Behnām and Dānešvar, 1337 Š./1958, p. 11).

ʿAsalī (Ar. and Pers., lit. “honey colored”). A piece of yellow cloth that ḏemmīs (q.v.), particularly Jews, were required to stitch onto the shoulder of their outer garments to distinguish them from Muslims, a require­ment known since at least as early as the late Middle Ages and enforced with varying degrees of stringency in subsequent periods (Mojmal, ed. Bahār, p. 361; Dehḵodā, s.v.).

Baḡalṭāq, baḡaltāq (< Chagatay Turk. baḡeltāq; Doerfer, II, pp. 297-98). A quilted garment worn under a cuirass. Judging from references in literary works, it was also worn by dervishes (Rūmī, 1925-29, III, p. 39, V, p. 497; idem, 1342 Š./1963, VII, p. 212; Saʿdī, Būstān, pp. 131, 345; cf. Dozy, pp. 78-81; Gowharin, s.v.). In the 19th century Neẓām Qārī (p. 196) described it as an overcoat.

Bāšloq, bāšleq, bāšlīḡ/q (< Chagatay Turk. bašleq). A hood sewn onto a cape or cloak; it was made of the same or sometimes a lighter material. In Khorasan the word was also occasionally used for a cloth cap with a flap covering the ears and neck (for the extension of this usage to mean “commander,” see Eskandar Beg, I, p. 678; Doerfer, II, pp. 248-50).

Borqaʿ (Ar. and Pers.). A woman’s veil, also called rūband, neqāb (see below). It was customary wear in the 14th century, when Ebn Baṭṭūṭa (tr., p. 194) visited Shiraz. Reinhard Dozy (pp. 62-65), quoting, John Fraser, noted that in Transoxania the borqaʿ was a sort of čādor, covering a woman from head to foot. In Afghanistan, too, the čādor is called borqaʿ in the colloquial language (Afḡānīnevīs, p. 48; see xiii, above).


Čādor-namāz. A čādor reserved by most women for prayer at home, though poorer women usually cannot afford such a second čādor. It is usually of plain or floral-printed calico, but silk and other fine fabrics are preferred by women of the upper classes. At the beginning of this century, according to Clara Rice (p. 160), a bead, a small button, or a knot of thread was sometimes sewn on the selvage to mark the section held over the nose (Dehḵodā, 1358 Š./1979, p. 119; Mostawfī, Šarḥ-e zendagānī I, pp. 510-11).

Čakma (Turk; Doerfer, II, pp. 84-85). High leather boots worn in Persia since the Safavid period and probably earlier (Eskandar Beg, I, p. 382; Marvī, II, pp. 568, 772). In the 18th century cavalry officers wore knee-high black čakmas with high, tapering heels; walking in them was so difficult that the officer would remove them as soon as he dismounted and put on sandals kept ready for him by an orderly. Courtiers wore black-calf čakmas that were both comfortable and durable (Niebuhr, p. 176, Olivier, III, p. 222, both cited in Rajabī, p. 38). Men often carried letters, handkerchiefs, and other objects in such boots. After the army was reorganized in the Pahlavi period offic­ers wore čakmas with highly polished uppers of fine but very stiff leather; such boots were later dropped from the uniform, apparently because they were too difficult to put on. Čakmas were sometimes also made with flexible uppers of soft leather; Persian jockeys still wear them when riding. Recently women’s boots with tall, medium, or short uppers (nīm-čakma) of soft leather or suede, sometimes with zippers, have been fashionable in Persia, as in the West.

Čāqčūr, čāqšūr, čāḵčūr (Turk.; Doerfer, III, pp. 29-­31). Long, often black trousers of thin fabric formerly worn by women. One type consisted of loose trousers ending in stockings, which covered the body from waist to toes; it was held up by a waistband and strap. Another type more closely resembled a pair of leggings tied with tapes under the insteps; it fell in folds from below the knee to the closely fitted cuff. This second type required less cloth and was lighter in weight and more comfortable (Rice, tr., p. 164; Behnām, 1338 Š./1959, p. 10; ill. in Dehḵodā, s.v. ḥejāb). In the later Qajar period the čāqčūr was considered old-fashioned (Mostawfī, Šarḥ-e zendagānī I, p. 510) and was seldom worn by upper-class women (Sīāsī, p. 70). There are also references to čāqčūrs worn by men in the Safavid period (Eskandar Beg, I, p. 184); under the Qajars a version of the garment in bright-red broad­cloth was part of official dress (Mostawfī, Šarḥ-e zendagānī I, p. 98 n. 1; Solṭān-Aḥmad, p. 62).

Čāroq, čāroḡ, čārūq (Turk.; Doerfer, III, pp. 23-25). Soles of coarse leather fastened to the legs by means of straps or cords (Dehḵodā, s.v.; see xiv, xx-xxii, xxvi, above), once the normal footwear of farmers, villag­ers, and camel drivers. The term is found in Persian texts, replacing pālīk, as early as the 13th century (e.g., Rūmī, 1925-29, V, pp. 122, 124; cf. Neẓām Qārī, p. 198; Gowharīn, IV, pp. 11-12; Eḥtešām-al-Salṭana, pp. 214, 219). Čāroqs are still made in Persia, notably at Mahābād (Kurdistan) and Māsūla (Gīlān).

Čārqad. A square of cotton, silk, or other fabric folded diagonally and worn by women as a head covering; the large point is worn at the back of the neck and the two ends fastened under the chin with a pin. In the 19th century čārqads were rather large; women wore them not only when visiting but also at home (Kalāntar Żarrābī, p. 250; Mostawfī, Šarḥ-e zendagānī I, p. 510; Rice, tr., p. 160). A popular version was of printed cloth (čārqad-e qālebī), starched and ironed to fit the wearer’s head (Javāher-kalām, pp. 54-55). Wives of dignitaries sometimes fastened their čārqads with diamond or ruby brooches (d’Allemagne, quoted by Behnām, 1338 Š./1959, pp. 11-12). Lengths of cloth for making čārqads were among the wedding presents given to the bridegroom’s family for the bride’s trousseau (Mostawfī, Šarḥ-e zendagānī I, pp. 350-51). The Baḵtīārī bībīs (high-ranking ladies) wore fringed silk čārqads, sometimes adorned with tassels of beads and gold (Rice, p. 73). The smaller čārqads in com­mon use today are often called rūsarī (head scarf). Village women and Zoroastrians still wear the bigger čārqad (sometimes called kalāḡī; see below), with the point reaching quite far down in back; they are usually in brightly colored large floral patterns (Behnām and Dānešvar, pp. 18-21; cf. Maḥjūb, p. 14; Dehḵodā, 1358 Š./1979, p. 116).

Časbak. Goatskin shoes formerly made in Khorasan, mainly by Turkic-speaking immigrants from Ashkhabad; the design may have been of Turkmen origin. The uppers were of dyed goatskin (tīmāj), usually dark gray, dark brown, or white, the soles of single thin sheets of leather. The shoes had low heels and no laces. Časbaks were light, comfortable, and cheap and were particularly popular with athletes and poorer people in the 1940s (Šāmlū, no. 825).

Čašmāvīz (lit. “veil before the eyes”). A black horsehair-mesh veil worn as an amulet, permitting women to see while hiding their eyes from others (cf. Loḡat-e fors, ed. Dabīrsīāqī, p. 134, s.v. čašmpanām). It has been worn since medieval times. This type of veil was also called ayāzī or ayāsī (Enjū Šīrāzī, II, pp. 1365, 2211; Moḥammad Pādšāh, I, p. 112, II, pp. 1430, 1432; Dehḵodā, s.v.). Cf. pīča, borqaʿ.

Čūḵā, čūḵa, čūḡā, čūqā. A man’s short coat of rough woolen cloth, mentioned in medieval texts (Awḥad-­al-Dīn, p. 38; Maqālāt-e Šams, pp. 150, 1003) and still popular in Māzandarān and other rural areas. At Bošrūya in Khorasan the word, pronounced čoḡa, re­fers to a camel driver’s sleeved coat, with colored trim on the hems and cuffs (Forūzānfar, in Awḥad-al-Dīn, p. 294). In earlier centuries it also meant a woolen surplice worn by Christian monks (Ḵāqānī, pp. 26, 245; Borhān-e qāṭeʿ, ed. Moʿīn, II, p. 669; Maṛʿašī, p. 65; Malakūtī, p. 649; cf. Dozy, pp. 122-25) and a kind of raincoat (Maqrīzī, cited in Dozy, s.v.; Kāšānī, cited in Doerfer, III, pp. 110-11). Solṭān-Aḥmad Mīrzā (p. 62) reported that a čūḵā-bārānī (presumably water­proof) was part of the prescribed dress for a royal audience in the Qajar period.

Dalq. A woolen cloak worn by dervishes, some­times mended with patches of different colors; hence the epithets moraqqaʿ (patched; see below) and molammaʿ (variegated; Ḥāfeẓ, pp. 101, 278; cf. Dozy, pp. 174-75). In Persian it appears at times to be synonymous with ḵerqa (see below), which means any tattered garment (Moḥammad b. Monawwar, II, com­mentary, pp. 457-58; Gowharīn, s.v.; cf. hazār-mīḵī).

Dāman. In medieval Persian texts the part of a garment (not necessarily a skirt) that fell from the waist (Dehḵodā, s.v.). Long skirts were fashionable in Fatḥ-ʿAlī Shah’s harem in the early 19th century (Javāher-kalām, pp. 54-55; Behnām, 1339 Š./1960, p. 7). Rice (tr., pp. 159-60, 162) reported in the early 20th century that at home Persian women wore a skirt with a matching jacket in printed calico, satin, or brocade; an underskirt; and a divided, usually white petticoat, all “high on the hip and full in front.” These skirts were generally only about 12 inches long, though elderly women and villagers wore them longer, the latter sometimes with “bands of insertion or trimming at the hem.” Women now wear skirts of European type. See pāčīn, šalīta.

Dastār. See ʿamāma.

Dastkeš. Gloves. This term is relatively recent, and it is probable that, as Jean Chardin remarked in the mid-17th century (tr., IV, p. 218), Persians did not wear gloves. In the 19th century Anīs-al-Dawla, one of the wives of Nāṣer-al-Dīn Shah, is reported to have worn colorful silk gloves (Behnām, 1338 Š./1959, p. 11). According to Rice (tr., pp. 164-65), Persian women in the early 20th century wore white cotton gloves, sometimes with colored embroidery on the backs. They often wore rings over their gloves. Vil­lagers usually wear plain or polychrome woolen mit­tens, less frequently gloves, for warmth. Urban women often follow Western fashions in gloves, some of which have long cuffs of goatskin or other soft leather.

Davāzda-tark. See tark.

Deyhīm. See crown.

Dolāḡ, dolāq. Long hose with a waistband, worn mainly by women but also, according to Solṭān-Aḥmad Mīrzā (p. 62), part of Qajar men’s dress for the royal audience.

Dorrāʿa (Ar. and Pers.) A loose woolen or cotton cloak, mentioned by Bayhaqī (ed. Fayyāż, pp. 229, 351, 457, 733, 814) in the 12th century as part of the ceremonial attire of government officials and judges and sometimes as a robe of honor (cf. Dozy, pp. 168­-72). In subsequent centuries it appears to have been worn mainly by ascetics and lower-class men (Moḥammad b. Monawwar, commentary, II, pp. 560-61). At the time of the Mongol conquest the dorrāʿa and the dastār (turban) were the distinctive garb of Islamic lawyers (foqahāʾ) and judges (Rašīd-al-Dīn, Tārīḵ-e ḡāzānī, p. 238).

Ezār, Īzār (Ar. and Pers.). A long rectangle of cloth worn as a loincloth or wrapped skirt (Nāṣer-e Ḵosrow, 1354 Š./1975, p. 120; idem, 1307 Š./1928, p. 56; Anwarī, p. 416; cf. Bayhaqī, ed. Fayyāż, p. 233; see fūṭa, mendīl).

Farajī. A woolen qabā (see below), loose and unbelted, with long full sleeves extending beyond the fingertips and fastened at the ends. Like the ḵerqa it was part of the distinctive garb of the Sufis (see Dehḵodā, s.v.; Moḥammad b. Monawwar, pp. 95, 146, 212, 223-24; Dozy, pp. 309-15).

Fūṭa (Ar. and Pers.). A length of cloth wrapped around the hips. Moqaddasī (p. 416) mentioned fine silk fūṭas for women made at Ahvāz. From certain occurrences in Persian texts it appears that the word also meant some sort of fabric from which the clothes of ascetics and Sufis were made (ʿAṭṭār, pp. 207, 291; Moḥammad b. Monawwar, commentary, II, p. 520; see also Dozy, pp. 319-23). In the Qajar period it was a kind of loincloth (Neẓām Qārī, p. 202).

Ḡīār. See ʿasalī.

Gīva. Shoes with uppers knitted from white cotton string and soles of either leather or twisted and com­pressed rags, a type known since the medieval period (Dehḵodā, s.v.). Chardin described gīvas as fitted shoes without heels, which could not be put on without a shoehorn and were worn mainly by menservants (cited in Behnām, 1338 Š./1959, p. 6; Rajabī, p. 38). In the Qajar period Kalāntar Żarrābī (p. 249) described them as the summer footwear of the poor; at Tehran thin­-soled gīvas were considered an essential part of the attire of a “tough guy” (lūṭī, dāš-mašdī; Mostawfī, Šarḥ-e zendagānī I, p. 304). Women as well as men wore gīvas. Rice (tr., p. 73) noted their use among Baḵtīārī women early in this century. At the present time gīvas are made at Kermānšāh (Bāḵtarān), Ābāda, Yazd, Ṭabas, and a few other places (Abādī Bāvīl, I, pp. 82, 83, 88, 521, 530, 545, 675). One variety is quilted (ājeda, ājīda) with a soft, flat leather sole and a crisscross pattern on the upper. The leather sole of the gīva-ye malekī is sharply pointed and turned up slightly at the toe (Maḥjūb, pp. 39, 163). The gīva-ye kermānšāhī also has a stout leather sole but with a blunt end and tapes binding the upper; it is considered superior and is in great demand. Also made at Kermānšāh are ornamental gīvas with uppers woven from variegated silk, sometimes with little or no heel and intended to be worn as house slippers.

Golūta. In the 17th century a lined child’s bonnet with cotton padding and flaps to be fastened under the chin (Borhān-e qāṭeʿ, s.v.; cf. Neẓām Qārī, p. 204).

Ḥamāyel. A broad silk sash conferred by Qajar and Pahlavi shahs as a reward for service to the government or the country. On state occasions it was worn over one shoulder and diagonally across the chest, in the Euro­pean fashion. The order and class of the decoration were indicated by the color (Mostawfī, Šarḥ-e zendagānī I, p. 99).

Hazār-mīḵī (lit. “a thousand pins”). A dervish’s tattered and heavily patched cloak (Ḵāqānī, p. 301; Moḥammad b. Monawwar, commentary, II, p. 465).

Ḥejāb. The generic term for women’s face cover­ings; see borqaʿ, neqāb, rūband.

Jahūdāna, yahūdāna. See ʿasalī.

Jāma. General term for garments or clothing, often found in constructs denoting specific types of garments (e.g. jāma-ye ʿarūsī “bridal dress”) and in compounds like jāmadān (suitcase, wardrobe) and jāmadār (keeper of the wardrobe; Bayhaqī, ed. Fayyāż, pp. 77-78, 233, 311, 316-17, 325, 461).

Jelīqa (< Fr. gilet; Doerfer, IV, p. 279). A waistcoat or vest, worn by men since at least as early as the 18th century. Summer versions were of cotton; those worn in winter were of heavier fabric (Rajabī, p. 38). It was once fashionable for city dwellers to wear embroi­dered or decorated jelīqas of rich fabrics cut like the European waistcoat, but they are no longer considered chic (Jamālzāda, 1339 Š./1960, p. 20). The term is now commonly applied to the vest of a three-piece West­ern-style suit. The rural jelīqa is long and made of durable heavy material, and in some areas women also wear more colorful versions (see xvi, xviii, xx, above).

Jeqqa, jeḡḡa, jīqā (see Doerfer, III, pp. 9-11). An aigrette, usually of heron or crane feathers, studded with jewels and fixed to the front of the royal headdress or on the left side of the prince’s hat (Solṭān-Aḥmad, pp. 13, 70, 213; see x, above). Chardin noted that wives of dignitaries in the Safavid period wore coronets with small aigrettes (cited in Behnām, 1338 Š./1959, p. 8). In the opinion of ʿAlī-Akbar Dehḵodā (s.v.), it was originally a miniature representation of a cypress tree bent at the top. The term appears in Persian texts from the 17th and 18th centuries (e.g., Eskandar Beg, I, pp. 329, 339; Marvī, I, pp. 49, 63, 233, 260, 347, II, pp. 643, 767, 817, III, pp. 1120, 1169).

Jobba (Ar. and Pers.). A long, loose-fitting gown with long, full sleeves, worn by men over other garments (Bayhaqī, ed. Fayyāż, pp. 201, 229, 233, 733 ). In the Qajar period statesmen, courtiers, officials, and even tradesmen had jobbas befitting their rank, some made of fur or brocade or adorned with gold embroidery, braid, or pearls (Kalāntar Żarrābī, pp. 248-49; Solṭān-Aḥmad, pp. 64, 116). As a result of contact with Europeans, the jobba went out of fashion (Mostawfī, Šarḥ-e zendagānī I, p. 98).

Jowšan. A long coat of mail, made of iron rings, known from the Šāh-nāma and other medieval sources (Ḥodūd al-ʿālam, tr. Minorsky, p. 110; cf. Borhān-e qāṭeʿ, s.v.). See zereh.

Jūrāb, jūrab. Stockings or socks. In Ḥodūd al-ʿālam (tr. Minorsky, p. 103), written in the 10th century, jūrāb are listed among the products of Ṭūs (on pro­duction of stockings at Qazvīn, see Ābādī Bāvīl, pp. 141, 507-08). Chardin (tr. IV, pp. 212-13, 218) con­sidered that in the Safavid period Persian stockings were modeled on those worn by Europeans and that previously Persians had worn puttees (pātāba; see below); women had previously worn neither. In the 18th century wealthy men pulled cotton stockings, with knitted designs of birds and the like, over their trousers (as villagers frequently still do). Ordinary people wore puttees in winter and went barelegged in summer (Rajabī, p. 38). In the Qajar period Kalāntar Żarrābī (pp. 248-49) mentioned woolen winter stockings and white cotton stockings made at Shiraz for summer. Today villagers usually wear thick, hand-­knitted woolen stockings only in winter (cf. Doerfer, III, p. 8; Dozy, p. 126; Ṣadīq, p. 25).

Kafš. A generic term for leather shoes. See or(o)sī.

Ḵaftān (probably Turk.; Doerfer, III, pp. 185-90). A battle dress made of a double thickness of heavy cloth, padded with silk floss and densely quilted; it was reputedly impenetrable by the enemy’s sword. Verses in Ferdowsī’s Šāh-nāma and Asadī Ṭūsī’s Garšāsb-­nāma indicate that the ḵaftān was worn under a zereh (coat of mail; see below) and could be open in front (Dehḵodā, s.v.; Neẓām Qārī, p. 199). Saʿdī (Būstān, v. 3331) referred to a ḵaftān with a thousand silk (pads) worn for protection against swords and arrows. The quality of Rūmi ḵaftāns (presumably imported from Anatolia) was praised in medieval Persian texts (e.g., Masʿūd-e Saʿd, p. 220).

Kajīm, kajīn, also kažīm, kažīn, kajāḡand. See qazāgand.

Kalāḡī. A fabric of dyed natural or artificial silk, woven at Oskūya, a small town south of Tabrīz, and exported to other districts, particularly Kurdistan (Ābādī Bāvīl, p. 29). The word also means a large headscarf of such material, worn mainly by Kurdish women and sometimes also by men (Mostawfī, Šarḥ-e zendagānī I, p. 336; Šahrīār, p. 591; see čārqad).

Kamarband. See belts.

Kapanak. A felt overcoat worn in winter mainly by shepherds, camel drivers, and villagers. It is loose­-fitting, usually with very long sleeves but sometimes sleeveless, and open in front (Neẓām Qārī, p. 161; Farroḵ, p. 679). The production of kapanaks at Tabrīz was mentioned by Rašīd-al-Dīn Fażl-Allāh in the 14th century (1367/1947, p. 188).

Kažīm, kažīn. See qazāgand.

Ḵeḷʿat. Robe of honor bestowed by the ruler upon his courtiers, foreign diplomats, and other dignitaries on important state occasions, holidays, and the like.

Ḵerqa. Tattered woolen clothes of dervishes and Sufis; see dalq.

Kolāh. Generic term for hat, headgear; see also crown.

Kolīja. A long coat. During Fatḥ-ʿAlī Shah’s reign (1212-50/1797-1834) it was knee-length, but later it reached only to the thighs and was thus shorter than a labbāda, sardārī (see below) or European-style overcoat. It was fitted at the waist and open under the armpits to facilitate movement. It was worn mainly in cold weather (Mostawfī, Šarḥ-e zendagānī I, p. 510; Javāher-kalām, p. 54), often with empty sleeves dan­gling. Kalāntar Żarrābī (pp. 248, 250) reported that a koleja (= kolīja) of broadcloth (māhūt) or camel’s hair (barak), lined with the same material or with Bukhara lambskin, was part of the winter attire of the ʿolamāʾ and government officials. Some kolījas were made of the best English broadcloth and embroidered with gold thread, others of the finest cashmere (Kotzebue, tr., pp. 118-19). Wives of officials and merchants wore kolījas of red or maroon velvet or silk brocade, trimmed with braid or lace at the cuffs, and middle-class women wore pleated versions (Šahrīār, p. 591; cf. d’Allemagne, cited in Behnām, 1338 Š./1959, p. 11). This kind of coat was also popular in provincial towns and villages. For example, at Qāsemābād in Gīlān the wives of the local khans formerly wore the kolīja (locally called olīja) in cold weather, instead of the waistcoat (jalīqa) worn today; it was a fitted velvet or taffeta jacket with short sleeves and embroidered or sequined decoration on the sleeve ends and was possibly an imported fashion from Tehran. The men of Qāsemābād also wore an olīja of white silk with red stripes, rather than the plain jacket in use today (Behnām, 1336 Š./1957, p. 33 and ill. p. 29). Mīrzā Ḥosayn Taḥwīldār (p. 98) mentioned a guild (jamāʿat) of tailors at Isfahan who made kolījas of lambskin before they went out of fashion.

Korta. Undergarment (Dehḵodā, s.v.).

Kostī. A girdle worn by Zoroastrians from the age of seven years (Moʿīn, pp. 243-53; Behnām and Dānešvar, pp. 20-22).

Kot. “Coat,” a term apparently borrowed from Eu­rope in the Qajar period (Maḥjūb, p. 144; Sīāsī, p. 42).

Ḵūd, kolāh(-e) ḵūd. A helmet; see armor.

Labbāda, Ar. lobbāda. A felt raincoat or long men’s overcoat resembling the coats of shepherds and camel drivers, sometimes also called namadī (ʿOṯmān Moḵtārī, p. 579 n.; Tārīḵ-e Sīstān, p. 284, Manūčehrī, p. 115).

Lač(č)ak. A small triangular scarf worn on the head by women and children (Mostawfī, Šarḥ-e zendagānī I, p. 510; Behnām and Dānešvar, p. 16).

Lebās-e rasmī. State dress; see bār.

Long. A rectangular piece of cotton cloth with a large checked pattern, usually dark red with dark blue stripes, particularly worn as a loincloth in the public bath (ḥammām); see fūṭa. Wrestlers in the zūr-ḵāna (traditional Persian gymnasium) wear a similar gar­ment, sometimes made of a silk fabric woven at Kāšān or Yazd, over their trousers. Champions and veterans may allow one end to fall in front like an apron, but beginners customarily draw it up and fasten it at the waist (Neẓām Qārī, p. 202; Enṣāfpūr, pp. 299-300).

Maknow. A piece of silk about 3 m long interwoven with gold thread, worn by Zoroastrian women at Yazd as a headband over a scarf (lačak). It is tied under the chin, so that one end falls over the chest, and the left side is pinned to the scarf and falls down the back to below the knees (Behnām and Dānešvar, pp. 16-20).

Mendīl (< Ar. mandīl; see ʿamāma). A turban cloth. Eskandar Beg (II, p. 775) mentioned a gold-brocaded yellow mendīl 4 ḏaṛʿ (ca. 416 cm) long. In Khorasan today the mendīl is a large white turban worn at Torbat­-e Jām, Kᵛāf, and neighboring districts, usually with one end dangling about 0.5 m (cf. Dozy, pp. 389-93).

Meqnaʿa. See borqaʿ, neqāb, rūband.

MočpīčÎʷ. Long, broad strips of cloth wound several times around the ankles and shins, worn by Persian peasants and formerly part of a soldier’s uniform; see pātāba. Močpīč is also the name of an item in the local costume of men at Šāhābād-e Ḡarb and Qaṣr-e Šīrīn in Kurdistan: a piece of white linen or silk sewn in the shape of a funnel as a kind of protective sleeve, with a long flap at the wider upper, which is wound around the arm from below the elbow to near the wrist (Ṣadīq, pp. 26-27 and ills. 11, 12; for močpīč worn by men at Qāsemābād in Gīlān, see Behnām, 1336 Š./1957, p. 29).

Moraqqaʿ, moraqqaʿa (Ar. and Pers.). A variegated patched cloak worn by Sufis (Ḥāfeẓ, p. 162; Moḥammad b. Monawwar, commentary, II, pp. 459-60; Dozy, pp. 180-81).

Mūza. See čakma.

Naʿlayn (Ar. and Pers.). Leather slippers, often yellow, open at the back, without heels, but often turned up at the toes. Sometimes a strip of iron shaped like a horseshoe was nailed onto the sole under the heel. Naʿlayn were formerly worn by clerics and the­ology students (Kalāntar Żarrābī, p. 248), but since about 1971 they have given way to ordinary shoes. In the early 20th century Henri d’Allemagne noted that women in provincial towns usually wore red naʿlayn with upturned toes like beaks (cited in Behnām, 1338 Š./1959, p. 12).

Neqāb. A woman’s face veil; see borqaʿ, rūband.

Nīm-tana. A coat or jacket with sleeves, worn over a shirt or shift. In the 17th century Chardin noted two types of men’s nīm-tana, one, of cotton, reaching the thighs and buttoned down the front over a shirt; the other, known as a kordī, sleeveless or short-sleeved and worn over a qabā (see below). The kordī was fitted at the torso and flared at the bottom; it was made of broadcloth or satin and ornamented with braid and gold embroidery; sometimes the hem was trimmed with sable or lambskin. Chardin also mentioned along nīm-tana worn by women (IV, pp. 210-12, 217-18; cited in Behnām, 1338 Š./1959, pp. 6-7). In the Qajar period men’s nīm-tanas were made of heavy, warm fabrics like camel’s hair (e.g., Mostawfī, Šarḥ-e zendagānī I, p. 238). More recently the term nīm-tana has referred to a European-style coat or jacket. Women’s nīm-tanas of gold brocade, velvet, cashmere, or European worsted were also fashionable under the Qajars (Mostawfī, Šarḥ-e zendagānī I, p. 51; Kotzebue, tr., p. 119). The nīm-tanas of village women were made of heavier material and usually padded as well (Rice, tr., p. 121).

Or(o)sī (lit. “Russian”). Men’s or women’s leather shoes with heels, introduced in the 19th century (Kalāntar Żarrābī, pp. 226, 238, 248-50).

Pāčīla, pāčapla. According to Jalāl-al-Dīn Rūmī, a special boot “like a sieve,” worn by men to trample snow so that it would be passable for caravans and travelers. In dictionaries it is normally given as pāčīla, but Adīb Nīšābūrī, on the evidence of the terms čaplak and čaplī (a boot worn in Afghanistan) has amended it to pāčapla (Afḡānīnevīs, s.v.; Dehḵodā, s.v.; cf. čaplīpāy, wearer of čaplī). One of Neẓāmī’s verses contains a word that has been read as pāhanga but is written pāčīla in most manuscripts (Dehḵodā, s.v.; see also Gowharīn, II, p. 239).

Pāčīn. A woman’s skirt, usually pleated. In villages it is generally made of floral-printed fabrics and cut in a wide bell shape like old-fashioned Western hoopskirts. Dancers sometimes sewed small bells or other jingling objects on the hems of their pāčīns to provide a rhythmic sound while they were dancing (Maḥjūb, pp. 15, 82, 178).

Pāhanga. See pāčīla.

Pājāma, pāyjāma, pījāma. Full trousers or drawers (Neẓām Qārī, p. 197).

Pālīk, pālang. See čāroq.

Pāltow (< Fr. paletot). An overcoat copied from European models. In the Qajar period wealthy men wore pāltows with costly fur linings (Eḥtešām-al-Salṭana, pp. 12, 19-20).

Panām. A rectangle of white cotton cloth with straps sewn to two corners, worn as a face covering by Zoroastrian priests (mōbads) to prevent their breath from polluting the sacred fire. It is also called rūband (Behnām and Dānešvar, pp. 19-20; Borhān-e qāṭeʿ, ed. Moʿīn, I, p. 418).

Pāpīč. See pātāba.

Pāpūš. Slippers, particularly of velvet ornamented with gold spangles, rhinestones, and the like, worn indoors by Persian women in the 19th century (d’Allemagne, cited in Behnām, 1338 Š./1959, p. 12).

Pātāba, pātāva, pātava, pātāfta. Puttees, strips of thick cloth wound several times around the leg from the ankle to below the knee to protect the legs from cold. Peasants still wear woolen puttees in winter (Loḡat-e fors, ed. Dabīrsīāqī, p. 159; Čahār maqāla, ed. Qazvīnī, text, p. 91; Neẓām Qārī, pp. 127, 151, 201, 203; Chardin, cited in Behnām, 1338 Š./1959, p. 6; Rajabī, p. 38; Bahmanbīgī, p. 280). Cf. patak, močpīč.

Patak. Woolen or cotton puttees worn by camel drivers, muleteers, and other workmen. Cf. pātāba, močpīč.

Pestān-band. Brassière, introduced from Europe in the 19th century (Scarce) and now widespread.

Pīča (pīčaband in Loḡat-e fors, ed. Dabīrsīāqī, p. 42). A woman’s veil of black horsehair mesh, worn under the čādor and tied over the head with a ribbon in such a way that it covers the face; it became fashionable in the early 20th century (Rice, tr., p. 164; cf. Neẓāmī Qārī, p. 197; Mostawfī, Šarḥ-e zendagānī I, pp. 510-11). It was cooler and more comfortable than cloth veils, but making the horsehair mesh was a delicate and difficult process. Cf. čašmāvīz, rūband.

Pīrāhan. Shirt or shift. According to Chardin, in the Safavid period men’s shirts were collarless, long, and worn outside the trousers; they fastened on the right shoulder. Both men and women wore shifts trimmed with pearls or braid at the neck. Droville reported that in the 18th century the pīrāhan was shorter and fas­tened over the chest with laces or buttons or at the top with a pin or jeweled brooch, edged with velvet. Other contemporary observers mentioned women’s shifts of cotton, linen, or silk, worn with knee-length petticoats (Behnām, 1338 Š./1959, pp. 5, 9, 38, 40). In the 19th century officials, ʿolamāʾ, and middle-class men wore white poplin shirts. Women of rank wore white cotton shifts at home and versions trimmed with braid or colored or black silk when visiting; middle-class women wore white or small-patterned versions at home and shifts trimmed with black silk when visiting (Kalāntar Żarrābī, pp. 248-50). In modern cities men’s shirts are made of a variety of fabrics, usually following Euro­pean fashions; among rural and tribal people the women’s shifts are more often of brightly colored floral prints.

Pīrāhan-e morād (lit. “wish shift”; cf. Massé, Croyances, p. 140). A shift traditionally made from cloth purchased with money obtained by begging on 27 Ramażān, sewn in a mosque between noon and afternoon prayers, and put on in the belief that it would bring fulfillment of the woman’s prayers.

Pūstīn. A loose, long-sleeved cloak like an ʿabāʾ, made of unsheared sheepskin treated with a tanning solution (āš). The fleece is generally worn inside; similar coats were made from the skins of squirrels, ermines, sables, and other animals. The type has been popular since the Middle Ages (Moḥammad b. Monawwar, I, p. 24; Rūmī, 1925-29, V, pp. 122, 131, 207, 209, VI, p. 284). The outside of a pūstīn, traditionally yellow, is often embroidered in silk or cotton thread; in recent years dark brown and other colors have been manufactured, mainly for export. Pūstīns from Daragaz in Khorasan and from Kabul have the reputation of being the best. A short, sleeve­less sheepskin coat (pūstīṇča) reaching to just below the waist has been popular since around 1971.

Pūtīn (< Fr. bottine). A half-boot rising to slightly above the ankle, usually made of leather with a thick sole.

Qabā. A long outer cloak buttoned down the front. In the 18th century Reinhold Niebuhr commented on the similarity between this garment and the long robes worn by men depicted on the Persepolis reliefs (see ii, above). That the garment dates back so far cannot be proved, but it has certainly been worn since the Middle Ages, at least by men of high rank (Bayhaqī, ed. Fayyāż, p. 191; Moḥammad b. Monawwar, II, commentary, pp. 556-57; Ḥāfeẓ, p. 283). According to Chardin, in the 17th century the qabā was fitted over the torso and wrapped from left to right to a buttoned closing under the armpit. The long, narrow sleeves were either pushed up over the wrist or turned back and buttoned (cited in Behnām, 1338 Š./1959, p. 5). In the 18th century Marvī (II, p. 743) mentioned qabās of blue canvas (qadak) worn by the common people of Marv. A typical fine qabā of the Zand period is preserved in the Ethnographic Museum in Tehran (Żīāʾpūr, p. 384, pl. 235). In the 19th century the qabā was ankle length and opened down the front; as in all periods, the quality of the materials reflected the wealth of the owner (Kotzebue, tr. p. 118; Kalāntar Żarrābī, pp. 248-49). Today this garment is worn mainly by members of the Islamic clergy; it is fuller through the torso than earlier versions but still wraps across the front.

Qamīṣ, qamīṣa. A cotton shirt or shift (Dozy, pp. 349-52). According to Chardin (tr., IV, p. 217), women’s shifts were called qamīṣ in the Safavid pe­riod.

Qazāgand (kazāgand, kažāgand, ḵazākand, kažāḡand, qazāḡand, kajāgand, kajāḡand). A coat of double-thick cloth densely padded with raw silk for wear in battle.

Rānīn or rānayn. Breeches or cuisses for the thighs (rān). Anwarī (II, p. 707) rhymed rānayn with Ḥosayn and ʿayn, treating the second syllable as an Arabic dual ending, but other authors have interpreted it as the Persian adjectival suffix in (Moḥammad b. Monawwar, I, p. 187, II, p. 923; Čahār maqāla, ed. Qazvīnī, p. 53 n. 4; Faḵr-e Modabber, pp. 147, 369, 527).

Redā. Coat or cloak worn over other garments (Bayhaqī, ed. Fayyāż, p. 229; Moḥammad b. Monawwar, I, pp. 250, 255, 277; Faḵr-e Modabber, pp. 179, 527; cf. Wāʿeẓ-e Kāšefī, p. 200).

Rūband, rūbanda. A face veil consisting of a rect­angle of white cloth with a latticework panel at one end, worn so that the latticework was over the eyes (d’Allemagne, cited by Behnām, 1338 Š./1959, p. 12; Rice, tr., pp. 32, 124; Mostawfī, Šarḥ-e zendagānī I, p. 510; for illustrations, see Chardin, tr., p. 215; Dehḵodā, s.v. ḥejāb; MacGregor, p. 260). The term was used by Rūmī (1925-29, V, p. 211) and remained current until the end of the Qajar period (Kalāntar Żarrābī, p. 266).

Rūsarī. See čārqad.

Šab-kolāh. A nightcap (cf. ʿaraqčīn), normally in­cluded in the gifts of clothing sent from the bride’s home for the bridegroom (Kalāntar Żarrābī, p. 265; Mostawfī, Šarḥ-e zendagānī I, p. 350). Chardin noted that in the 17th century girls wore small nightcaps and the daughters of grandees had nightcaps embroidered with jewels and pearls (cited in Behnām, 1338 Š./1959, p. 33).

Šāl. A sash or shawl (šāl-e gardan) wrapped around the waist (šāl-e kamar) or the head. In the Safavid period notables wore elegant wide sashes of cashmere or other expensive materials, and women wore narrower versions over their dresses (Chardin, cited in Behnām, 1338 Š./1959, pp. 5, 7). In the Čehel Sotūn and the ʿAlī Qāpū in Isfahan there are contemporary paint­ings of banquet scenes in which some of the women are wearing such sashes (Javāher-kalām, p. 53). In the 18th century women wore small shawls on their heads in various ways, for example, wrapped around the neck or tied over the crown of the head in a knot shaped like a flower (Rajabī, p. 40), with the ends falling over the shoulders and down the back. In the 19th century sashes of linen and silk brocade were worn (Kalāntar Żarrābī, pp. 248-49; Kotzebue, tr., p. 38; Waring, p. 57; Niebuhr, p. 176; Olivier, III, p. 219, cited in Rajabī, p. 38; Behnām, 1339 Š./1960, p. 7 and ills. pp. 8-9; Ṣadīq, p. 26). Today the sash is still worn by the Islamic clergy, though some prefer to wear the qabā without a sash. Sayyeds wear plain black or green sashes, others plain white ones. In the countryside farmers also still wear sashes.

Šāl-e kolāh. In the early Qajar period a band of fine material (šāl) wound around the headdress of a man of high rank (Kotzebue, tr., p. 119; Waring, p. 57; Niebuhr, p. 108; Olivier, III, pp. 222, 280, cited in Rajabī, p. 38). Later such hatbands became an essential part of state dress (lebās-e rasmī; Solṭān-Aḥmad, pp. fit, 78), and the term šāl-e kolāh came to denote the entire formal costume of a minister or high official at a royal cer­emony. “Putting on the šāl-e kolāh” thus became a metaphor for dressing for any state occasion (Dehḵodā, s.v.).

Šalīta. A short, loose skirt with many pleats formerly worn by women over trousers and still to be seen in the local dress of some areas (see xxii, above). They were derived from European tutus (Javāher-kalām, pp. 55-­56; d’Allemagne, Serena, cited in Behnām, 1338 Š./1959, pp. 10-11). They were tied on at the waist (cf. Behnām, 1339 Š./1960, p. 7; Dehḵodā, 1358 Š./1979, pp. 119, 122).

Šalvār. Full trousers worn by men and women in Persia since antiquity, with many variations in fabric and details. See čāqčūr, tonoka.

Sarāgūš, sarāḡūš, sarāḡūj, sarāḡoj. A net or cloth bag, sometimes with an appendage, in which women wrap their hair (Neẓām Qārī, p. 200; Enjū Šīrāzī, I, p. 1011; Dehḵodā, s.v. sarāḡoj).

Sarandāz, sarpūš. A woman’s head scarf; see čārqad.

Sarband. A cloth wound around the head (Neẓām Qārī, p. 107); see ʿamāma.

Sardārī. A style of frock coat reaching to the knees. The sardārīs of high-ranking men in the Qajar period were made of expensive material like silk brocade, with ornamental frogging rather than buttons (Maḥjūb, p. 144). According to Kalāntar Żarrābī (pp. 248-50), in his time officials wore sardārīs of broadcloth or silk brocade lined with the same material or with sable, squirrel, or Bukhara lambskin. The wives of officials and merchants wore sardārīs pleated below the waist; those worn at home were made of Kermān silk bro­cade, broadcloth, or camel’s hair, those for visiting of cashmere or European velvet with various kinds of braid decoration.

Sedra. A loose white knee-length cotton shirt worn by Zoroastrians. It has short sleeves and no collar and opens in front over the chest, where a small bag is sewn inside. Every Zoroastrian male must don the sedra upon attaining puberty (fifteen years). A special girdle (see kostī) is worn over the sedra (Dehḵodā, s.v.; Behnām and Dānešvar, p. 22).

Šenel. A loose, sleeveless cape worn open in front, usually by men in winter. The Qajar kings often wore such capes, and so did Reżā Shah Pahlavi in the early years of his reign. According to Kalāntar Żarrābī (p. 250), in the Qajar period the wives of officials and merchants also wore capes of broadcloth, velvet, or silk brocade when they went visiting. In modern times capes have gone out of use among men but have sometimes been worn by fashion-conscious women.

Ṣodra (< ṣadrīya or ṣedrīya; Dozy, p. 234). A sort of waistcoat with no sleeves or back, partly open in front, and with three holes for insertion of the head and arms (cf. Moḥammad b. Monawwar, commentary, II, p. 542).

Šowlā. A woolen cloak resembling a jobba, worn by villagers, Kurds, and dervishes (Dehḵodā, s.v.).

Ṣūf. Wool or woolen cloth, though the use of the term in the 12th-century Asrār-al-tawḥīd has led scholars to infer that it once referred to a garment made of a particular kind of woolen material or cut and stitched in a particular way, perhaps like a dorrāʿa. In a poem by Ḥāfeẓ (p. 175) the word also appears to have meant a garment (see Moḥammad b. Monawwar, commentary, II, p. 540).

Taḥt al-ḥanak, taḥt-e ḥanak (Ar. and Pers.). Part of a turban passed under the chin or the ends fastened under the chin (see ʿamāma; Dehḵodā, s.v.; Manūčehrī, p. 187; Ṣāʾeb Tabrīzī, IV, p. 1757).

Tāj. Crown and also the special cap of the Qezelbāš followers of the Safavid shah Esmāʿīl I (907-30/1501-24; see tark). According to Adam Olearius and Engelbert Kaempfer, the embroidered cap, usually made of felt gores, that dervishes wore in the 17th century (Dozy, pp. 96-97) was called tāj-e mawlawī, tāj-­e pūst (lit. “lambskin crown”), and the like (Wāʿeẓ-e Kāšefī, pp. 184-95). In traditional wrestling, which was linked to dervish orders, a recognized champion donned a cap called a tāj-e faqr (“dervish’s crown”; Enṣāfpūr, p. 219).

Ṭāqīya. A tall, conical hat like those worn by some dervishes. The hat worn by Ottoman soldiers was known as ṭāqīya-ye torkamānī (Eskandar Beg, I, pp. 19, 25, 32, 572; see also Dehḵodā, s.v.).

Tark. Helmet (see ḵūd) or the gore of a cap. In order to provide his Shiʿite followers with a distinctive badge, the Safavid shah Esmāʿīl I ordered them to wear a twelve-gored cap (tāj-e davāzdah-tark) of red broadcloth (saqerlāt) with the name of one of the twelve imams embroidered on each gore (Eskandar Beg, I, p. 19). They were known as Qezelbāš (lit. “red head”) because of this cap (on gores and their shape, see Ṣadīq, p. 23 and fig. 1).

Ṭaylasān. A long, loose cloak draped over the shoulders. According to Dozy (pp. 241-48, 262-64), the ṭaylasān could also be pulled up over the head; it was originally a vestment of judges, lawyers, Sufis, teachers of theology, and Christian priests but later came into general use among dignitaries and other men in Islamic countries.

Tonoka, tonbān. Trousers (see šalvār), especially boldly embroidered leather breeches worn by contes­tants in traditional wrestling. They are very tight at the waist and reach below the knees. A tonoka-ye āyena had a small mirror sewn on each leg over the kneecap to show that the wearer was a champion who would not let his knees be forced to the ground. A tonoka-ye mīḵča was adorned with large floral designs made from loops of rough cotton cord designed to chafe the opposing wrestler; it was formerly the characteristic garb of the champion. A special ceremony used to be held at the donning of the tonoka (Wāʿeẓ-e Kāšefī, pp. 310-11; Enṣāfpūr, pp. 59, 224-25; Šāmlū, no. 3453). In the Qajar period tonoka was also the term for a type of men’s briefs, and it remains the name for women’s panties.

Yal. A woman’s sleeved jacket of heavy cloth (Javāher-kalām, p. 52; Behnām, 1336 Š./1957, p. 33).

Zereh. A short-sleeved coat of mail made of small steel rings and strips, covering the body from neck to waist (Dehḵodā, s.v.; see jowšan).

Zonnār. A cord worn around the neck with a pendant cross, worn by Christians. In Persian literature the word is sometimes used for the Zoroastrian girdle (see kostī).



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(Ḡolām-Ḥosayn Yūsofī)

Originally Published: December 15, 1992

Last Updated: October 25, 2011

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Vol. V, Fasc. 8, pp. 856-865