Persian Culture Flowered

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Persian Culture Flowered

  1. 1. <ul><li>The Persians very gradually converted to Islam from the mid 7th century and later adopted the Arabic alphabet. The artistic, architectural, literary and other strands of Persian culture flowered again and again despite periodic waves of invaders and internal rivalries. </li></ul>The Safavid and Qajar dynasties preserved Iran from Ottoman expansion. Although it never became part of any European empire, Iran suffered the effects of foreign imperialism which contributed to the rise of nationalism in the later 19th century. Iran is now a country of 66 million people, 99% Muslim, with three main ethnic groups and three main languages.
  2. 2. Dress History <ul><li>“… elements from a dress code practised in past centuries are pronounced ‘Islamic’ and people are forced to adopt them as a symbol of their ‘Islamic identity’. Present-day Iran provides numerous examples of ‘Islamic traditions’ whose origin, Islamic or otherwise, cannot easily be traced – they must be seen as traditions invented in the service of re-Islamisation.” </li></ul><ul><li>Feminism and Islamic Fundamentalism, Haideh Moghissi, 1999 </li></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>“ When they leave the house, they are wrapped from head to foot in a large white veil, covering everything except their eyes. This veil is usually made from a single piece of cloth. They also wear bracelets of precious stones, and their fingers are ornamented with rings. The women of the lower status clothe themselves as well as they can.” </li></ul><ul><li>Cornelius Le Brun, in Persia 1702-4 </li></ul>
  4. 4. <ul><li>These women sitting in their separate area of a mosque in their white wraps have covered up their beautiful indoor clothes they wear for their picnic in a private garden. </li></ul>Women in a mosque, 16th century. Bodleian Library, Oxford
  5. 5. <ul><li>Ibn Battuta, in the 14th century, wrote of the women of Shiraz, </li></ul><ul><li>“ These wear boots, and when out of doors are swathed in mantles and head-veils, so that no part of them is to be seen, and they are [noted for] their charitable alms and their liberality.” </li></ul><ul><li>The Travels of Ibn Battuta 1325-1354 </li></ul>
  6. 6. Life in Karbala would have been as restricted, if not more so, than in cities in Iran but as we can see there are still women in the streets. <ul><li>Square of Karbala, Iraq. </li></ul><ul><li>Mirza-Mohammad-Khan Ghaffari, Golestan Palace, Tehran </li></ul>
  7. 7. <ul><li>Women preparing a picnic, 16th century. </li></ul><ul><li>Bibliothéque Nationale, Paris </li></ul>Women and children in a park in Tehran, 1860s-90s. Middle East Centre, St Anthony’s College, Oxford
  8. 8. Women at home in Isfahan, 1873-97. Ernst Hoeltzer, Isfahan in Camera, 1976 <ul><li>“ They had their own quarters at home and maintained their segregation when out of doors by dressing themselves in voluminous trousers and an all-enveloping dark cloak or chadar over which a white veil – rouband – pierced with an embroidered lattice for the eyes was fastened. This photograph shows them at home in indoor dress consisting of a pirahan or long-sleeved shirt over a tumban or series of knee-length skirts. The hair is modestly covered by a chargat – a square shawl folded in half diagonally and fastened under the chin.” </li></ul><ul><li>Isfahan in Camera, Jennifer Scarce, 1976 </li></ul>
  9. 9. Ladies round a samovar, Isma’il Jala’ir, c 1865. This painting shows a wealth of royal harem court dress of that period. Victoria and Albert Museum, London <ul><li>“ While one of the late Shahs was visiting Europe he saw the ballet dance and his fancy was so taken by the costume, that on his return he ordered all the inmates of the royal harem to adopt the same dress; and as royalty always sets the fashion for the country, in a short time all the Muslim women of Persia had adopted this hideous fashion. </li></ul><ul><li>The ladies do not like the fashion of the short skirts … So ashamed were some of the women of their short skirts, that they would often take their long, flowing chuddars from their heads and wrap them around their waists, giving the appearance of a draped skirt.” </li></ul><ul><li>Behind the Veil in Persia and Turkish Arabia, ME Hume-Griffith, 1909 </li></ul>
  10. 10. Women in political struggle <ul><li>“ Veiling has become perhaps the central symbol of the Islamic Republic; the veil and “proper veiling” have become definitional symbols of a woman’s faith and loyalty. Although in traditional Islamic discourse the veil is related to modesty and morality, its transformation into a central symbolism of power has imbued it with a total religiopolitical significance as well.” </li></ul><ul><li>Women in Iran since 1979, Nikkie Keddie, Social Research, Vol. 67 No 2 Summer 2000 </li></ul>
  11. 11. <ul><li>“ They have a saying in Tehran that when the women take part in chuluk (riot) against a cabinet of the government, the situation has become serious.” </li></ul><ul><li>The Strangling of Persia, Morgan Shuster, </li></ul><ul><li>(US financial adviser brought in to help with reforms) </li></ul><ul><li>1912 </li></ul>STOP PRESS – Nov. 30 1911 – TEHRAN
  12. 12. <ul><li>A demonstration in celebration of Iranian women getting the vote, 1963. </li></ul><ul><li>Mehr Iran, 1995 </li></ul>
  13. 13. <ul><li>Pro-Khomeini meeting, Tabriz, December 1979-January 1980. </li></ul><ul><li>Telex Iran, Gilles Peress, 1997 </li></ul>“ The “freedoms” and “rights” women had gained during the shah’s regime did not apply to everyone. Upper- and middle-class women, most of whom were educated and could afford a few dresses, enjoyed this apparent freedom, but most Iranian women, either because of poverty or religion, were still behind the veil. During the revolution these homebound women, suddenly given permission by their husbands to leave the house, poured into the streets.” Gholam-Hossein Sa’edi, 1983, Telex Iran, Gilles Peress, 1997
  14. 14. <ul><li>The body is the instrument of the soul , and the soul is divine air. This sacred instrument must not become a plaything of the desires, passions, and debauchery of anyone. Attention: Working sisters must observe the following: a) At the place of work, they must appear in full cover in conformity with the presented models without any sort of adornments; b) The color of the manteau [the outer gown] should, preferably, be black, dark blue, brown, or dark grey; c)The use of flat shoes in the workplace is mandatory; d)The use of tight and fashionable clothing and any sort of makeup is prohibited. Committed brothers and sisters, we are ready to receive your constructive opinions and suggestions with regard to fighting social corruption. </li></ul>Pattern of Islamic hijab. Decree of Imam Khomeini on the subject of Islamic coverage.
  15. 15. Wall slogan – Tehran, The Veil Unveiled – Faeghal Shirazi
  16. 16. <ul><li>“ The Iranian parliament has more women members than the US Senate. … What doesn’t penetrate Western consciousness, however, is that forced uncovering is also a tool of oppression. During the reign of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi in Iran, wearing the veil was prohibited. As an expression of their opposition to his repressive regime, women who supported the 1979 Islamic Revolution marched in the street clothed in chadors. Many of them did not expect to have this “dress code” institutionalised by those who led the revolution and then took power in the new government.” </li></ul><ul><li>An Identity Reduced to a Burka, Laila al-Marayati and Semeen Issa, 2002 </li></ul>
  17. 17. <ul><li>Regarding Reza Shah’s unveiling policy of 1936: </li></ul><ul><li>“… where local authorities could not achieve central government orders through persuasion , they resorted to daily violence. This violence ranged from dismissing women who refused to unveil from their jobs, to pressuring local bath attendants to report on women who went to public baths veiled (sometimes through roof hopping), to instructing shopkeepers to refuse business and services to veiled customers, to tearing women’s veils in public. The similarities between these measures and those undertaken by the Islamic Republic in the early 1980s to achieve reimposition of veiling are truly astounding.” </li></ul><ul><li>(Un)Veiling Feminism, Afsaneh Najmabadi, Social Text, 2000 </li></ul>
  18. 18. The first women MPs. Pioneering Women of Iran, Mehr Iran, 1995
  19. 19. <ul><li>Tehran, March 9, 2000 </li></ul><ul><li>Women MPs Question Dress Codes </li></ul><ul><li>Four Iranian women newly elected to parliament are questioning the need to wear the chador, the black head-to-toe wrap which has been standard garb for female MPs since the 1979 revolution, a Tehran daily reported Thursday. </li></ul><ul><li>The four women, who won election on the reform ticket in last month’s polls, say a scarf concealing their hair and a long coat is sufficient to meet the requirements of Iran’s Islamic dress code. </li></ul><ul><li>“ We are the revolution’s first generation, and we carried out this revolution wearing a coat,” said Tahereh Rezazadeh, who represents the southern city of Shiraz. </li></ul>
  20. 20. 1936 Reza Shah abolished the veil – police removed women’s veils in the street. 1941 Reza Shah ousted – clerics tried to bring back the veil. 1979 Feb 11 Revolution 1979 March 8 International Women’s Day celebration turns into protest against veiling of women and banning of Family Protect Law. 1980 Women required to wear hijab in all Government offices
  21. 21. 1984 street patrols to deal with violations of hijab. No lipstick 1986 Revolutionary Guards Corps – military training for women. 500 volunteer women 2000 Several liberal women elected to Majlis. Debate about proper hijab. Should women representatives wear chador or is proper Islamic dress enough? post 1979: Chronology of Events Regarding Women in Iran since the Revolution of 1979, Elfiam Gheytanchi, Social Research, Summer 2000 1983 Islamic Punishment Law stating 74 lashes required for not wearing the strict hijab
  22. 22. Women continue to be arrested for improper veiling. In November 1997, an Agence France Presse correspondent in Tehran witnessed approximately ten young women being arrested and placed into a patrol car for improper veiling or wearing clothing that did not conform to Islamic regulations. The women were wearing colorful headscarves and light make-up. In June Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told senior official that it was time &quot;to crack down on wanton behavior by women.&quot; By mid-August 1,800 women and men had been arrested for &quot;mal-veiling and lewd conduct.&quot; Most of the women were wearing makeup or in the company of young males who were not related to them. Women who fail to conform to the strict dress code are boarded on minibuses and taken to a center for fighting &quot;social corruption.&quot; Z Magazine, October 1998
  23. 23. Here and There, a Burst of Color Is Now Islamic Under new guidelines issued by the ministry of Education, schoolgirls through fifth grade will be allowed to wear “gay, light colors,” including light blue, beige, pink, light green and yellow. Until now, only black, brown and navy blue were allowed. “ The use of light colors helps to create a cheerful atmosphere” and to “safeguard the mental health of students,” the ministry directive stated. But “loud and gaudy colors” that are “not in harmony with the spirit of education” will not be allowed. Although the all-encompassing black chador remains the favoured Islamic dress, it “in no way can be imposed upon students,” the directive said. July 23, 2000 – New York Times
  24. 24. Iranian women vote for reform, February 2000. Vahid Salemi/AP/AAP
  25. 25. Codes, Modes and Customs <ul><li>“ Modern Iranian history may best exemplify the many possible alterations in the meaning of the veil: in 1936, Reza Shah abolished the veil because he saw it as a sign of backwardness; in 1979, the Islamic Republic of Iran forced women to adopt the veil because the Iranian clergy regards it as a sign of progress along the ideological path of Islam. In a period of less than 50 years, the rulers of Iran have allotted the veil diametrically opposed meanings.” </li></ul><ul><li>The Veil Unveiled – The Hijab in Modern Culture, Faeghah Shirazi, 2001 </li></ul>
  26. 26. <ul><li>“ The Iranian woman was forced to unveil to fit Reza Shah’s delusions of grandeur and forced to reveil to fit Ayatollah Khomeini’s visions of true religion. She was told that by donning the veil, she would fend off the assault of Western culture. She was told that by sending her son to martyrdom, she would help save the Islamic Republic of Iran and support the defence of Islam. Ten years after the war with Iraq, she was told that by not veiling according to the guidelines of the clergy, she would cause the downfall of the Islamic Republic. In Iranian politics, the veil has proved to be the most effective weapon of the rulers, secular and clerical.” </li></ul><ul><li>Shirazi, 2001 </li></ul>
  27. 27. <ul><li>These two young women display very similar characteristics of strength, self-confidence and attitude despite their different styles of dress. </li></ul>Young woman near Isfahan, 1938. A Brett, Images of Women 1939 Young woman in Iran, 1998. Rex Features, New Internationalist 1998
  28. 28. <ul><li>In contrast, these two images both show women together in space and time, but their dress and gestures speak of great differences in character, class and wealth. </li></ul>Women and children in a city street, c 1937. De Lindt, Mondiale, Women of All Lands, 1939 Sattareh Farman-Farmaian and friend. Farman Farmaian helped to shape the social work school and the profession of social work in Iran. Mehr Iran, 1995
  29. 29. <ul><li>photos: Tavoos, Iranian Art Quarterly, 2000 and 2001 </li></ul>While mullahs and politicians continue to be obsessed with items of dress, Iranian women become more creative and artistically productive in all art forms. What is important and relevant about these women - and all artists - is their creativity and not whether or how they wear a headcover.
  30. 30. <ul><li>&quot;I view it as a kind of work uniform,&quot; claimed one female journalist. &quot;I'm far more concerned about press restrictions than about dress codes.&quot; </li></ul><ul><li>Iranian Women’s situation has </li></ul><ul><li>improved since the Islamic Republic, </li></ul><ul><li>William Beeman, 2001 </li></ul>
  31. 31. <ul><li>“ The notion that hejab fights consumerism and erases class distinctions is also wishful thinking at best. Class divisions in fact are deepening among women in the Middle East and North Africa. … In Iran well-to-do women hide bold European fashions under the chador . It is a known fact that the ayatollahs’ wives and daughters and nouveau-riche mullahs are regular customers in exclusive boutiques selling brand-name imported clothing which other middle-class women cannot afford to buy. Even the material used for the chador itself varies considerably, signalling clear differences in class and wealth.” </li></ul><ul><li>Feminism and Islamic Fundamentalism, Haideh Moghissi, 1999 </li></ul>
  32. 32. <ul><li>Meanwhile nomadic and rural women continue to wear their traditional dress. </li></ul><ul><li>Neither work nor dress has changed much over a century for these carpet weavers. </li></ul>Girls weaving on a vertical loom, c.1892. Nikkie R Keddie 1999 Carpet weavers, Ghashghaie tribe, Fars province. Iran, a visual journey, 1995
  33. 33. <ul><li>The Kurds traditionally lived mainly in the mountains and uplands where Turkey, Iraq and Iran meet, in the area known as Kurdistan for hundreds of years. Although the Kurdish people are overwhelmingly Sunni Muslim, they embrace Jews, Christians, Yazidis and other sects. Of the 20 million Kurds in the late 1990s, half lived in Turkey and a quarter in Iran where they make up 10% of its people. Ethnically close to the Iranians they were traditionally nomadic herders but are now mostly semi-nomadic or sedentary. Dress is an important part of Kurdish culture. </li></ul><ul><li>“ The style varies from one clan to another. Among the Banjanlu younger women tend to wear yellow or red velvet skirts decorated with bands of seven colours. They make the skirts from bought velvet, sew on the bands of seven colours, and sew patterned materials inside the hem. The hems of the skirts of older women, on the other hand, are decorated with striped or plain material. Amongst the Topkanlu, unmarried girls wear velvet skirts decorated with seven colours while the older women wear plain red skirts. Varanlu girls wear skirts of dark blue velvet with white flowers, and married women wear plain dark blue.” </li></ul><ul><li>Kurds of Khorasan, Mohammed-Hossein Papoli-Yazdi, The Nomadic Peoples of Iran, Tapper and Thompson, 2002 </li></ul>
  34. 34. <ul><li>“ All Qashqa’i women wear the same style of clothes, whatever their age or the event. What varies is the colour of the fabric from which the costume is sewn, and it does so according to the age of the wearer and nature of the occasion. Thus dress for ceremonial occasions is not marked by variation in style; instead, colour and a fixed combination of garments identify the costume’s function.” </li></ul><ul><li>The Qashqa’i, Yassaman Amir-Moez, The Nomadic Peoples of Iran, Tapper and Thompson, 2002 </li></ul>
  35. 35. A woman of the Qahremanlu clan preparing to load the camels. Nasrollah Kasraian, The Nomadic Peoples of Iran, 2002 Two women of the Za’faranlu clan 1984 Kasraian, 2002

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