Page:Frederic Shoberl - Persia.djvu/146

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123
PERSIA.

figure is generally painted. All this is displayed by the style of their dress, every garment of which, even to the light gauze chemise, is open from the neck to that point.


SECTION V.

COSTUME OF THE PERSIAN WOMEN.

The dress of the Persian females is simple, being composed of a much smaller number of garments than that of the European women. A Persian lady, when at home, does not load herself with clothes; and in her finery she seems to attach very little value to beauty of form. Very ample trowsers of thick velvet cover the whole of the lower part of the body down to the heels. Over these trowsers is worn a peerashun or chemise of muslin, silk or gauze, which is open in front nearly down to the waist, and buttons down the bosom by means of a number of loops and small buttons of silk, gold, or silver. Over the peerashun is generally fastened a girdle of skin, covered with cloth or silk, embroidered, and decorated with a plate of gold or silver, and precious stones. Such is the summer costume. The winter dress is the same, with the addition of a short upper garment resembling a jacket, and shawls in which the women wrap themselves as a protection from the cold. The covering for the feet is a kind of slipper, with a sole of ivory, metal, or some hard sort of wood.

When they leave the house, they put on a cloak which descends from the head to the feet, and their faces are concealed with oriental scrupulosity. The veil which they wear, is sometimes worked like a net, or else two holes are made in the cloak for their eyes. It is curious to see a number of tall and elegantly formed figures walking in the streets, and presenting nothing to your view but a pair of sparkling black eyes, which seem to enjoy the curiosity they excite. The veil seems to be essential to their virtue; for as long as they can conceal their face, they care not how much they expose the rest of their person. The women in Persia are the only people who wear jewels and use perfumes; and this is a privilege in which they take much delight.

The hair is almost always arranged in tresses, which fall down behind. That in front is cut short, and turned up from the forehead. On the sides, it descends in ringlets over the ears and cheeks. The ends of the tresses are adorned with pearls and clusters of precious stones, or ornaments of gold or silver. The bandeaux, diadems, and caps, vary in form according to the caprice of the inventor, or the taste of the wearer: they are more or less costly, according to the circumstances of