Page:Frederic Shoberl - Persia.djvu/130

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"If the prudence of a nation were manifested in a stedfast adherence to its costume, the Persians could not be too highly praised for that quality; for their dress never alters; they never make any change either in the colour or fashion of the stuff. I have seen dresses belonging to Tamerlane, which are preserved in the royal treasury at Ispahan, and which are cut in the very fashion of the present day, without the slightest difference." Such was the remark of Chardin nearly two centuries ago: but could the same traveller now revisit Persia, he would fancy himself in another country, such are the changes effected by the late revolutions in the state of the kingdom and the costume of its inhabitants.

In Chardin's time, all colours, black excepted, were worn indiscriminately. Under the dynasty of the Zends, light colours were preferred; but since the family of the Cadjars has filled the throne, the darker hues have been the fashion.

The form of garments also has undergone great change: and the dandy, if such a character exists in Persia, cannot appear but in clothes of the true Cadjar cut, the only style of dress that is considered as fashionable.

The garments composing the dress of a Persian are the following:—

1. The zeer djameh, a species of very wide trowsers, made of cotton cloth or silk, which reach down to the ancles, and are tied at the waist in front.

2. The peerahun, or shirt, of silk, comes over the trowsers, and falls a little below the hips. It is shaped at top like a woman's chemise, having no collar, and is fastened by means of two buttons over the left shoulder.

3. The erkalig, a very tight vest, which falls to the bend of the knee; the sleeves descend to the wrist, but are open from the elbow. It is made of Mahometan chintz, or fine shawls.

4. The caba, a long robe reaching to the ancles, fits close down to the hips, and buttons on the sides. The sleeves of the caba cover those of the erkalig, and are held together from the elbow downward by a row of buttons, so that they may be opened for the performance of the prescribed ablutions previously to prayers. The caba is made of various kinds of cloths, some of which are very magnificent and expensive.

The bagalee is another kind of robe, which folds over the breast, and buttons on the side, down to the hip. This garment