CLOTHING viii. In Persia from the Arab conquest to the Mongol invasion



viii. In Persia from the Arab conquest to the Mongol invasion

The Omayyad period (41-132/661-750). Investiga­tion of costume in the Omayyad period is hampered by the scarcity of surviving representations; furthermore, many of those that do survive are purely symbolic and do not reflect what was actually worn. For example, all the so-called “kings of the world” in a wall painting at Qoṣayr ʿAmra in Jordan, of the 2nd/8th century (Ettinghausen, 1972, p. 190 fig. 2), wear Byzantine robes. Similarly, the approximately contemporary stucco reliefs from Čāl Tarḵān-ʿEšqābād, near Ray, in which a king is depicted hunting boar in full Sasanian royal regalia (Thompson, pl. II/1-2), probably do not accurately record contemporary princely dress; more likely they express the wholesale adoption of Sasanian attributes of power.

Nevertheless, there is some evidence that styles of the late Sasanian period in Persia continued to be worn for some time after the Islamic conquest. For ex­ample, the costume worn by “Bahrām Gōr” in a relief from the same site probably reflects that of a contemporary man of high rank: It consists of a smooth, close­-fitting tunic with a jeweled belt at the waist, a wide skirt with jeweled hem below the knee, and tight sleeves ending in rolled cuffs or bracelets at the wrists worn over smooth trousers ornamented with pearls (Thompson, pl. II/3-4). Deborah Thompson (p. 21) has compared this garb with that worn by Ḵosrow II Parvēz (r. 591-628) on the Investiture and Boar Hunt reliefs at Ṭāq-e Bostān (see iv, above); the absence of a central fastening in front is most closely paralleled in the robe in the investiture and those worn by the courtiers in the boar hunt (Fukai and Horiuchi, I, pl. V; Peck, 1969, pls. XV-XVII). Stiff, close-fitting decorated caftans (long, heavy, often richly decorated robes with long sleeves, worn belted) and smooth pantaloons appeared in Sasanian Persia only in the 7th century and continued into the post-Sasanian period, as attested on the reliefs at Ṭāq-e Bostān and on silver vessels at­tributed to the 1st-2nd/7-8th centuries (Fukai and Horiuchi, I, pls. XXXV, XXXIX; Harper, 1981, pls. 19, 21, 27, 33, 36; idem, 1978, pl. 25). The flat cap with beaded fillet worn by “Bahrām Gōr” is also paralleled in the Boar Hunt relief, where it is worn by the king and some of his courtiers (Fukai and Horiuchi, I, pls. XLVIII, LVII). As Prudence Harper has pointed out, this cap, which is not characteristic of Sasanian dress, may have been introduced by Ḵosrow II, for it was incorporated into the royal headdress in representa­tions on his coins (Peck, 1969, p. 121).

The taste for richly decorated caftans seems to have spread through Omayyad domains. Remnants of a stucco figure known as the “standing caliph,” from the unfinished 2nd/8th-century palace at Ḵerbat al-Mafjar, north of Jericho, probably built during the reign of the caliph Hešām (r. 105-25/724-43), show a smooth, close-fitting garment with wide skirt and narrow sleeves, girt with a jeweled belt and worn over full trousers and soft boots (plate lxxxv; Hamilton, pl. LV/1). The central fastening recalls the king’s coat in the Boar Hunt relief at Ṭāq-e Bostān, which was also worn with ample pantaloons (Fukai and Horiuchi, I, pl. XLVIII). This type of heavy coat had a long history in Persia (see v, above). Although it was worn in the early Sasanian period (Herzfeld, 1941, p. 309 fig. 402), its form at Ḵerbat al-Mafjar is closest to that in the late Sasanian representations at Ṭāq-e Bostān, which are closely paralleled in turn by garments in wall paintings and sculpture of the 5-8th centuries at Central Asian and Afghan sites like Bāmīān, Qïzïl, Balalyk Tepe, Fondukistan (Fondoqestān) and Panjīkant (Panjīkaṯ; Rowland, pl. 57; T. T. Rice, figs. 83, 97, 157, 179; Belenitsky, 1968, fig. 143; see v, vi, above). Enough of the upper torso of the “standing caliph” has survived to suggest that the coat closed diagonally across the chest, from right to left. This type of closing recalls those on 4th or early 3rd-century b.c.e. tunics and jackets found at the Siberian site of Pazyryk, as well as rare Parthian and Sasanian examples (see iii, iv, above). The caftan worn by the standing caliph probably had lapels like those on the garments of smaller stucco figures from Ḵerbat al-Mafjar; (Hamilton, pl. XXXVI/6); this feature is also more closely linked with the caftans of Central Asia than with those represented at Ṭāq-e Bostān. The fastening, hem, and vertical slits on the sides of the skirt are edged with pearls, emphasizing the slightly pointed dip of the hem at the sides. The form of the skirt and the vents, suitable to a riding coat, are also known from late and post-Sasanian representations (Fukai and Horiuchi, I, pls. XXXV, XXXIX; Harper, 1981, pls. 19, 27, 36). The wide trousers, gathered at the ankles, hark back to Sasanian styles continued from Parthian and Kushan dress of the 2nd century c.e. (Kawami, pl. 31; Ghirshman, 1962, pp. 56 fig. 70, 155-56 fig. 197; Rosenfield, pls. 22, 120; Harper, 1981, pls. 10, 13, 16).

The dress of the “standing caliph,” which seems clearly to have been inspired by Sasanian and Central Asian models, is paralleled by a fur-lined green-silk caftan decorated with a pattern of sīmorḡs (legendary creatures generally represented in the art of this period as having the front quarters of quadrupeds combined with wings and peacocks’ tails) in roundels from a burial of the late 2nd/8th or early 3rd/9th century at Moshchevaya Balka in the northwest Caucasus and now in the Hermitage, Leningrad (Jeroussalimskaja, pls. I, XIII). It was probably worn belted over a lighter tunic, trousers, and soft leather shoes (Jeroussalimskaja, p. 186). This find provides evidence not only on the construction of early caftans but also on how they were fastened. The closing of the caftan, which was verti­cal, rather than diagonal, was from right to left in the Persian manner, as at Ḵerbat al-Mafjar, with small lapels (Figure 62); A. Jeroussalimskaja (p. 205) has noted that Chinese garments were wrapped in the opposite direction and that the Chinese considered a closing to the left characteristic of barbarians. The coat was fastened symmetrically by three or four pairs of tabs fastened to the right panel with covered buttons and containing buttonholes for a matching set of but­tons on the left panel. A hidden button secured the waist, but the wide skirt, constructed of several panels of material, was unfastened in front, and the sides were slit for freedom of movement. Jeroussalimskaja (pp. 203-06) related the form and decoration of this gar­ment to those of the royal caftan represented on the Boar Hunt relief at Ṭāq-e Bostān and to Central Asian examples. Only the wide sleeves, made separately and stitched to armholes, differ. Better-preserved men’s garments from Moshchevaya Balka suggest that the sleeves were generally longer than the wearers’ arms; though identical in cut to the sīmorḡ caftan, they are made of humbler materials, linen with silk borders or sackcloth.

The persistence of Sasanian styles of dress during the Omayyad caliphate is further exemplified by a stucco relief of a ruler from the palace at Qaṣr al-Ḥayr al-Ḡarbī in Syria, probably also dating from the time of Hešām. A tunic, decorated down the front and around the hem with a pearl band and at the knees with rosettes, is worn over ample trousers with jeweled bands down the front (Schlumberger, 1939, pl. XLV/3). The hem of the tunic is pulled up on the sides, probably by straps, which are represented as borders on the sides of the garment (Schlumberger, 1939, p. 353). This detail recalls the apron-like skirts of Sasa­nian Persia, which appeared first in the 4th-century reliefs at Ṭāq-e Bostān and were depicted on Persian metalwork into the 2nd/8th century (Fukai and Horiuchi, II, pls. LXVI, LXVIII, LXX; Harper, 1981, pls. 16, 19, 24, 29, 36). The Sasanian fashion, ulti­mately derived from Parthian dress, must have been adopted so that the long tunic could be worn for riding (see iv, above). The jeweled pantaloons were also adopted by the Sasanians from styles in vogue in Parthia and Palmyra (Ghirshman, 1962, pp. 47 fig. 60, 56 fig. 70, 79 fig. 91; Harper, 1981, pls. 13, 14, 16, 38). The headdress of the stucco figure at Qaṣr al-Ḥayr al-­Ḡarbī was described by Daniel Schlumberger (1939, p. 328) as a flat cap with metallic fillet supporting a central jewel flanked by a pair of wings. The form recalls the caps depicted in the Boar Hunt relief at Ṭāq-e Bostān and in the “Bahrām Gōr” relief at Čāl Tārḵān-ʿEšqābād, but the wings were borrowed from Sasanian royal crowns.

Few depictions of nonroyal male figures have sur­vived from the Omayyad period, but the late 2nd/8th-century finds from Moshchevaya Balka in the north­western Caucasus provide evidence that men of lower social status probably wore garments similar at least in form to those worn by their rulers (Jeroussalimskaja, p. 203). In other stucco reliefs from Ḵerbat al-Mafjar riders of lesser rank wear stiff tunics over full panta­loons tucked into boots, a costume quite close to that of the “standing caliph” (Hamilton, pl. VII/2, 3, 7). Simple boots are most characteristic of Omayyad rep­resentations, though at Čāl Tārḵān-ʿEšqābād there is one example of boots with upturned toes (Thompson, p. 44, pl. IX/1). Figures of low social status are represented in the paintings of Qoṣayr ʿAmra with bare feet and legs and wearing simple short tunics with long or short sleeves (Almagro et al., pp. 182-86, pls. XXXIV-XXXVIII). This tunic was ultimately derived from the Greek chiton, which was secured by a belt and then pulled up and folded over it, and recalls tunics worn by servants in the Boar Hunt relief at Ṭāq-e Bostān, which in turn must hark back to depictions of servants’ garments on Palmyrene reliefs (Fukai and Horiuchi, I, pl. LXXIV; Peck, pp. 104, 105). Male figures depicted either hunting on horseback or butch­ering onagers are clad in longer robes with wide sleeves, the hems tucked up for greater freedom of movement (Almagro et al., pp. 133, 178, 180, pls. XXX, XXXII). Such clothing worn with neither shoes nor boots seems to echo Hellenistic traditions of dress, rather than those of Sasanian Persia. More elaborate male outfits are worn by two fan bearers flanking the enthroned caliph (Almagro et al., pp. 158, 159, pls. Xb, XI); they wear soft shoes, long robes with beaded collars, and mantles with elaborately patterned lin­ings.

This costume is quite similar to that of a flute player depicted in a painting on the floor of a stairwell at Qaṣr al-Ḥayr al-Ḡarbī (Schlumberger, 1946-48, p. 89 fig. 4, pl. B), though the latter wears full trousers tucked into boots under his long belted caftan in violet cloth, with tight sleeves. The red of a tunic worn beneath shows at the cuffs and collar, and a long, transparent red cloak is worn over the whole. Flying ribbons and a jeweled scarf complete the costume (Schlumberger, 1946-48, p. 89 fig. 4, pl. B). Schlumberger (1946-48, p. 96) believed that this dress reflected Sasanian styles de­picted on the reliefs at Ṭāq-e Bostān and on silver vessels, though in Sasanian art only royal or divine personages were shown wearing cloaks (see iv, above). The elaborate garments worn by the fan bearers at Qoṣayr ʿAmra and the flute player at Qaṣr al-Ḥayr al-­Ḡarbī probably spread among both men and women of lower rank after the fall of the Sasanian dynasty.

In the main register of the same floor painting from Qaṣr al-Ḥayr al-Ḡarbī a hunter is shown wearing a close-fitting tunic with long sleeves similar to that in the “Bahrām Gōr” relief, though open below the waist to reveal trousers tucked into low boots (Schlumberger, 1946-48, p. 91 fig. 5, pl. B). The form of the robe is of Sasanian type, as are the knotted flying ribbons at the back of the head and the jeweled scarf fluttering from what is probably a leather belt (Schlumberger, 1946­-48, p. 90, pl. B; Harper, 1981, pls. 10, 13, 15); as hunting was a royal pursuit, it is possible that a royal personage was being depicted.

Depictions of female dress surviving from the Omayyad period are even fewer than those of male dress. In a stucco relief of “Bahrām Gōr and Āzāda” from Čāl Tārḵān-ʿEšqābād the slave girl is shown in a close-fitting tunic with necklace, bracelets or rolled cuffs, full trousers, and small slippers. The dress falls in rippling folds, suggesting soft or transparent cloth, in contrast to the stiff textile of Bahrām Gōr’s caftan. Certainly the taste for close-fitting, diaphanous robes was already familiar in Sasanian times, reflected in representations of queens and goddesses on rock re­liefs and of dancing girls on silver vessels (Ghirshman, 1962, pp. 173 fig. 215, 178 fig. 218, 215 fig. 256; Harper, 1978, pp. 60 fig. 18, 77 fig. 26). Trousers are not known to have been worn by women in the Sasa­nian period, however; they must have been introduced in imitation of male costume in the early Islamic period. Women wearing trousers are depicted on post­-Sasanian silver plates (e.g., Survey of Persian Art IV, pls. 229A, 230B).

A more complex garment of approximately contem­porary date is represented in the figure of a female lute player on the floor painting from Qaṣr al-Ḥayr al-­Ḡarbī. A long white robe with narrow sleeves and a short overskirt is worn over an even longer green tunic. A violet mantle and soft shoes complete the attire (Schlumberger, 1946-48, p. 89 fig. 4, pls. B, XXV). The basic dress is reminiscent of Sasanian examples (Peck, 1969, pls. X, XI; Ghirshman, 1962, p. 218 fig. 259). The long cloak and multiple skirts were new fashions, worn also by female musicians on a post-Sasanian plate in the Hermitage (Survey of Persian Art IV, pl. 208A).

A woman’s headdress depicted on another fresco fragment from Qaṣr al-Ḥayr al-Ḡarbī consists of a low, cloth turban wound with a length of material surrounding the face, which could serve as a veil when neces­sary (Weiss, p. 433 no. 258). It is difficult to find earlier parallels for this turban, as few representations of Sasanian women other than queens and goddesses survive. Two harpists on the Boar Hunt relief seem to wear soft turbans, though damage to the surface has obliterated the details (Peck, 1969, pls. IXb, X; see iv, above, plates lxx, lxxi). The wound turban or ʿemāma (see ʿamāma) became the characteristic head­dress of men in the Islamic world, and there is evidence that it was aready in use early in the Omayyad period (Masʿūdī, Morūj, ed. Pellat, IV, pp. 6-7; Ettinghausen, 1972, p. 30; Serjeant, p. 67).

In the wall paintings at Qoṣayr ʿAmra female figures appear in various styles of dress and undress. A flute player wears a long-sleeved garment patterned with floral roundels, diamonds, and flower sprigs (Almagro et al., p. 154, pl. VIb), reflecting the tradition of elaborately decorated female garments in the late and post-Sasanian periods (Fukai and Horiuchi, I, pls. LIX, LXIX, LXX; Ghirshman, 1962, pp. 215 fig. 256, 218 fig. 259). Dancers are shown either elaborately bejeweled but nude (Almagro et al., p. 175, pl. XXVIIc) or wearing draped blouses or sleeveless belted gowns with short overskirts, both costumes echoing classical attire (Almagro et al., pp. 154, 190, pls. V, XLIIc). The figure of Fortuna is also dressed in Hellenistic style, a draped robe with a veil drawn over her head (Almagro et al., p. 157, pl. IXb), whereas a “bacchante” is portrayed nude to the waist but adorned with collars, belts, and bracelets (Almagro et al., p. 157, pl. IXa). This alluring outfit is repeated on other Omayyad representations of courtesans and dancers: Stucco figures at the palaces of Qaṣr al-Ḥayr al-Ḡarbī and Ḵerbat al-Mafjar are shown nude to the waist and wearing elaborate torques with pendants, bracelets, anklets, and hair rosettes. Skirts, belted at the hips with twisted cords, are elaborately patterned; they are either pleated or wrapped like sarongs (Schlumberger, 1939, p. 354 fig. 25; Hamilton, pl. LVI/6-9). Although no such depictions survive in contemporary Persian sculpture, Schlumberger (1939, p. 354) compared them to representations on Sasanian and post-Sasanian sil­ver objects. Certainly they call to mind the bejeweled dancers represented nude or in transparent, clinging robes on some vessels (Ghirshman, 1962, pp. 215-17 figs. 256-58; Grabar, pls. 19-23), but the style of the skirts is not known from Sasanian representations and seems peculiar to Omayyad and early ʿAbbasid art. In later times dancers were more discreetly clothed, with rare exceptions, for example, a drawing of a nude dancer (from Fatimid Egypt, probably 6th/12th century; Guest and Ettinghausen, pl. 12/43).

During the Omayyad caliphate dress for both men and women thus seems to have been derived in large part from the fashions of Sasanian and post-Sasanian Persia and Central Asia, though new elements had already appeared, for example, trousers and a complex arrangement of skirts worn by women. The clothing worn by rulers in sculptures from Qaṣr al-Ḥayr and Ḵerbat al-Mafjar suggests deliberate adoption of the attributes of power and authority associated with the vanquished empire.

The early ʿAbbasid period (132-ca. 422/749-1031). The trends observed in the Omayyad period continued through the early centuries of ʿAbbasid rule, with gradual evolution of new styles. In fragments of wall paintings and painted ceramic wine jars found in the palace of Jawsaq al-Ḵāqānī at Samarra in central Mesopotamia (218-27/833-42) male figures are de­picted in the heavy, ornamented caftan with short, tight sleeves and hems dipping to points at the sides and ample, decorated trousers gathered at the ankles above small boots (plate lxxxvi). The caftan with short sleeves, a new feature, is worn over a tunic with long sleeves, recalling garments worn by both men and women in wall paintings from Qïzïl, perhaps dating from the 7th century c.e. (Herzfeld, 1927, pls. XVI, LXV, LXIX; Le Coq, 1926, p. 116). The bright hues of green, red, and pink seem to conform to the dictum of Abu’l-Ṭayyeb Moḥammad Waššāʾ (246-325/860-­936) that men of position should wear pure colors and avoid “ugly” tones in their clothing (Serjeant, 1972, p. 214). A leather belt with short thongs, or lappets, is associated with the caftan worn by noble and warrior figures at Samarra (Herzfeld, 1927, p. 88 fig. 65, pls. LXV, LXVI, LXVIX). This belt, though also repre­sented on the Boar Hunt and Stag Hunt reliefs at Ṭāq-e Bostān, was essentially a foreign fashion originally borrowed from nomadic peoples (Fukai and Horiuchi, I, pls. XXXV, XXXIX, L, LVII, LXXXIX). The first examples seem to come from 5th-6th-century burials of the Avars in Mongolia and southern Siberia, where two belts were customarily worn, the upper as a sym­bol of rank, the lower for suspending weapons (Ghirshman, 1953, p. 69; idem, 1963, pp. 305-06 fig. 13). The lappet belt was popular in Central Asia in the 6th-8th centuries, and on wall paintings there are many representations with small objects or weapons sus­pended from the thongs (Le Coq, 1924, pls. 14, 15, 17; Grünwedel, 1920, p. 128 fig. 14; Bussagli, p. 59; Belenitsky, 1973, pls. 9, 11, 122; see belts ii. in the parthian and sasanian periods).

A belt with three long lappets tipped with metal, from which two swords are suspended, is shown on a wall painting of the 3rd-4th/9th-10th centuries from the palace of Sabzpūšān at Nīšāpūr (Figure 63; Wilkinson, 1986, pp. 206-07 figs. 2.39-40). The rider is clad in a stiff, decorated caftan with tight sleeves, ornamented trousers (or leggings that cover the heels), and high boots with pointed toes. On the upper sleeves of the caftan are ṭerāz (embroidered) bands of pseudo-Kufic writing, a common element of clothing in the early Islamic period. Charles Wilkinson believed that plain, uninscribed brassards were worn in Persia as early as the 3rd/9th century; they appear on the garments of what have been identified as “Persians” in wall paintings of approximately that date at Bäzäklik (Wilkinson, 1986, p. 211; Le Coq, 1926, pl. 20); it is more probable, however, that they are Central Asian donor figures. Although this parallel underscores the influence of Central Asian styles on Persian clothing, inscribed brassards seem to be a purely Islamic innova­tion in dress. According to Wilkinson, the headdress worn by the painted rider from Sabzpūšān is probably a helmet of silk and leather, which he considered unique in form (1986, p. 209). Next to the rider is a second, damaged figure wearing a stiff embroidered coat; what appears to be a stole; ample, decorated trousers; and small slippers reminiscent of Omayyad examples (Wilkinson, 1986, p. 207 fig. 2.40). The headdress, an onion-shaped turban, perhaps of orna­mented silk, with a pseudo-Kufic inscription and a knobbed finial at the top, is a new style that prefigures Islamic headdresses known from later representations; only the finial has earlier parallels, in the 7th-8th­century paintings at Panjīkant (T. T. Rice, p. 108 fig. 91; Azarpay, p. 66 fig. 31). The turban may, however, have had precursors in the Omayyad period: A conical cap of wrapped cloth is depicted in a late 2nd/early 8th-century wall painting at Qoṣayr ʿAmra (Almagro et al., p. 162, pl. XIVb).

Samanid buff-ware ceramics from Nīšāpūr, gener­ally dated to the 3rd-4th/9th-10th centuries, also attest the Sasanian and Central Asian origin of garments worn in Persia during the early ʿAbbasid period. Deco­rated men’s caftans with stiff skirts and diagonal closings (usually from left to right) and lapels were worn over wide trousers and boots with pointed or upturned toes (plate lxxxvii; Wilkinson, 1973, pl. 2; The Arts of Islam, p. 35, pl. 4); sometimes there were also an overskirt and an undergarment. This costume is closely related to those shown on wall paintings at Qïzïl (Le Coq, 1926, p. 116; Wilkinson, 1973, pl. 2). The curious pointed boots are akin to those of the rider in the painting from Sabzpūšān and in one early repre­sentation at Čāl Tārḵān-ʿEšqābād (Wilkinson, 1973, pl. 2/62a; Thompson, p. 44, pl. IX/1). Possible Central Asian affiliations can again be cited, for upturned shoes of felt and leather are known from the late 2nd­-3rd/8th-9th centuries at Mazar Tagh, east of Khotan (Whitfield, pl. 84). A unique feature of male dress depicted on Nīšāpūr buff ware is the bifurcated wing-­like veils or sleeve attachments, which terminate in narrow points (plate lxxxvii; Wilkinson, 1973, p. 47 fig. 64, pl. 2; The Arts of Islam, p. 35, pl. 4). Judging from the ceramics, tight-fitting, decorated shirts and full, elaborate pantaloons, sometimes covered from ankle to knee with stiff leggings, were also popular at Nīšāpūr (Wilkinson, 1973, pp. 45 fig. 62, 47 fig. 64). Leggings, a distinctively nomadic accouterment, were first worn by Persian tribes in the Achaemenid period and continued to be worn through the Sasanian period (see ii-iv, above). The stiff version represented on the ceramics most closely resembles those of donor figures on the wall paintings at Qïzïl (Le Coq, 1913, pl. IV; T. T. Rice, p. 190 fig. 180).

There appear to be but few representations of early ʿAbbasid headgear other than helmets, and it is often difficult to distinguish caps from hairstyles. It seems, however, that at Nīšāpūr long, decorated head cover­ings with points were popular, in contrast to the pointed caps with ear flaps that were worn with stiff coats and boots in Mesopotamia (The Arts of Islam, p. 35, pl. 4; Atıl, p. 18 fig. 3; Grube, 1976, p. 77 fig. 38). A number of headdresses are also to be found on silver and gold ʿAbbasid medallions of the 3rd-4th/9th-10th centuries. The ruler may be shown in what seems to be a crenellated crown or in a rounded cap with beaded brim, tied at the sides with ribbons; the latter harks back to Sasanian styles (Sourdel-Thomine and Spuler, pl. 154d-e). A camel attendant wears a tall, conical hat and a lute player a small pointed cap with a brim (Sourdel-Thomine and Spuler, pls. 155b, 204c). By the 5th/11th century the ruler was depicted wearing not a cap or crown but an elaborate tulip-shaped turban (Sourdel-Thomine and Spuler, pl. 267b).

Literary and historical accounts contribute further information on male clothing in the early ʿAbbasid period. Waššāʾ described the fashionable footgear for men of rank: shoes and boots of black or red leather with fur trim. He approved of the use of fine silk and linen shirts worn with cloaks and hoods but decried the choice of saffron-dyed garments and those scented with musk and ambergris, as such trappings were more appropriate to dancing and serving girls (Serjeant, 1972, p. 214). Ebn Qotayba Dīnavarī (213-76/828-89) gave an account of the cloaks (borūd) of Baṣra in southern Mesopotamia, which were, according to an Arab informant, “sewn with blossoms of spring which caught the eye” (ed. Guirgass, I, p. 300; Serjeant, p. 90). This description recalls the elaborately decorated garments depicted at Samarra and Nīšāpūr. The stiff contours of many of the early illustrated caftans may be explained by the statement of Ṯaʿālebī (d. 412/ 1021) that for winter silk (ḵazz) robes were lined (mobaṭṭan) with silk and quilted raw silk (qazz; Ḡorar, p. 710; Serjeant, p. 68).

On a few polychrome-painted ceramic wine jars from the Jawsaq al-Ḵāqānī palace monks or priests are depicted (Herzfeld, pls. LXI, LXIII). Their habits consist of striped shawls or vestments worn over long, decorated robes; hoods like balaclavas cover their heads and necks. The garb of a figure represented on an approximately contemporary luster-painted jar from Mesopotamia, consisting of along robe with a pointed hood and long veil, has been interpreted as that of a priest (Atıl, pp. 20-21 no. 4), though the presence of earrings suggests that the figure may be female. (There is no doubt that a comparable image on a luster-painted bowl from Fatimid Egypt, probably of the early 6th/12th-century, is a priest wearing a long, decorated robe with wide sleeves and a pointed hood; Lane, pl. 26a.)

A particularly valuable source of information on Persian costume in this period is a manuscript of Ketāb ṣowar al-kawākeb al-ṯābeta (Treatise on the fixed stars) by ʿAbd-al-Raḥmān b. ʿOmar Ṣūfī, written in 355/965 for the Buyid ʿAżod-al-Dawla and cop­ied by the author’s son in 400/1009. In the drawings of the personified constellations male and female cloth­ing of the early 5th/11th century is represented in some detail. The basic male garment is a tunic similar in form to the caftan, with a diagonal closing from right to left and lapels, open in front below the waist to reveal knee-length trousers or long, loose pantaloons covering the heels. This tunic was worn over a shirt with longer sleeves (plate lxxxviii). It differs from the caftan in that it is shorter, has wider sleeves, and is made of soft material (Wellesz, pls. 2/3-4, 3/5, 4/7-8, 5/9). The most common male headdress represented in this manuscript is the soft, wound turban, flat in silhou­ette and set squarely on top of the head (Wellesz, pls. 2/4, 4/8, 5/9, 7/14). The personification of the constel­lation Cepheus, however, wears a tall hat, rounded at the top and covered with a lattice pattern (plate lxxxviii), probably representing the qalansowa ṭawīla (tall qalansowa). Richard Ettinghausen has identified the qalansowa as the official headgear of the Omayyad and early ʿAbbasid caliphs on the basis of historical and literary sources (1972, pp. 30-33), though no early pictorial representations survive, with the possible exception of the tall, rounded cap worn by a camel attendant depicted on a silver medallion of the caliph al-Motawakkel (232-47/847-61; Sourdel-­Thomine and Spuler, pl. 154e). Ettinghausen traced its origin from the kyrbasía of the Achaemenids (see ii, above) through the 1st-century b.c.e. pointed hats represented at Commagenian Nimrud Dagh in south­eastern Turkey and Parthian examples; tall, rounded caps were also current during the Sasanian period (Ghirshman, 1962, pp. 153-54 fig. 196, 169-170 fig, 212). By the beginning of the 5th/11th century the qalansowa had come to be worn by men who did not have royal status, even by non-Muslims. The taller version was probably of silk over a framework of reeds, whereas the shorter one may have resembled the modern fez and was most often worn wrapped in a turban. The use of the qalansowa ṭawīla is docu­mented in illustrated manuscripts as late as the 8th-9th/14th-15th centuries (Ettinghausen, 1972, fig. 89; see ix, below).

Depictions of female dress in the 3rd-5th/9th-11th centuries are less numerous than those of male dress. A variety of styles is, however, depicted on the wall paintings from the Jawsaq al-Ḵāqānī palace at Samarra. In a particularly well-known example (plate lxxxix) two dancing girls are clad in long-sleeved hip-length tunics, long skirts, and soft shoes; the tunics are girdled at the hips with two strands of beads. Scarves are draped over the arms and across the front. On their heads the dancers wear rounded caps with gold dia­dems and strands of pearls in their hair, which is worn in long plaits. There are pearl drops in their ears. The pink garment on the left is patterned with “v”s, and the blue robe on the right has a broad, frilled collar. These bejeweled figures with their clinging robes and scarves are reminiscent of the dancers on Sasanian silver vessels (see iv, above, plate lxix). The broad collar and hip-length tunics are new features, however, prob­ably derived from the costume of female entertainers like those on a post-Sasanian plate in the Hermitage (Survey of Persian Art IV, pl. 208A). A similar collar is also worn by male figures represented on post-Sasanian silver plates (pls. 208A, 218), and the caps of the Samarra dancers recall the round, filleted head­dresses worn by male figures on still another vessel in the Hermitage (pl. 207B). Other dancers are also represented in the Samarra wall paintings; they are bare to the waist and wear brightly colored and pat­terned skirts girdled at the hips with corded sashes (Herzfeld, 1927, pls. XX-XXI), evoking the costumes depicted on Omayyad stuccos from Ḵerbat al-Mafjar and Qaṣr al-Ḥayr al-Ḡarbī (see above). Other female dress depicted at Samarra includes tightly fitted tunics with a variety of patterns and narrow short sleeves worn over long-sleeved undergarments, again resem­bling some male costumes (Herzfeld, 1927, pl. XVI). This type of tunic was also worn by both men and women somewhat earlier in Central Asia (Le Coq, 1926, p. 116).

Aside from the paintings at Samarra, depictions of women are rare from the Islamic world in the 3rd-4th/9th-10th centuries. Two women on a Samanid bowl are dressed like their male counterparts in heavy belted caftans with tight sleeves and simple undergarments; the caftans are wrapped diagonally from right to left and have lapels (Atıl, p. 24 no. 6). That such caftans were in fact worn by women is also clear from the donor figures on the wall paintings at Qïzïl (Le Coq, 1924, pl. 1; idem, 1926, p. 116). In the Ṣūfī manuscript already mentioned most of the female figures representing constellations are rendered as dancing girls. Two distinct types of costume are illustrated. One is a long, soft tunic with a diagonal closing; it is belted with a jeweled girdle over full trousers. Like the male tunics represented in the same manuscript, it has fea­tures in common with slightly earlier caftans but is of soft material and is worn with an undergarment with long sleeves and possibly a decorated skirt (Wellesz, pls. 3/6, 7/13): it lacks the lapels that usually appear on the male version, however. Female figures are fre­quently also represented wearing a more complex fashion. It consists of a close-fitting tunic with short scalloped sleeves and hem over an ankle-length dress with longer sleeves. A third skirt, short and open at the front, is held in place by a twisted scarf; sometimes tight, decorated trousers are worn beneath the dress as well (Wellesz, pls. 5/10, 6/11-12). All the female figures in the manuscript are adorned with jewelry: diadems with single composite jewels in front, neck­laces, bracelets, hoop earrings, and anklets. The jewel on the diadem of one image of Andromeda is a rosette contained in a crescent, which is derived from ele­ments of the Sasanian crown (Wellesz, p. 14, pl. 6/12). Although in general the jewelry and diadems are simi­lar to those of dancers on Sasanian and post-Sasanian silver (e.g., Ghirshman, 1962, pp. 215-17 figs. 256-­58), the dress is new and may reflect the actual attire of entertainers at the Buyid court.

The Saljuqs and the post-Saljuq period. The deco­rated caftan retained its popularity as a male garment into the 5th/11th century and can be seen in the wall paintings from one of the Ghaznavid palaces at Laškarī Bāzār in central Afghanistan, probably built by Masʿūd I (421-32/1030-41). On the inner faces of the piers in the throne room were painted friezes of richly dressed nobles, probably originally sixty of them, in stiff coats, which close diagonally from right to left and have lapels only on the right of the openings. The single lapel appeared at Balalyk Tepe in Sogdiana perhaps as early as the 5-6th centuries and occurs side by side with double lapels at Qïzïl (T. T. Rice, pp. 101 fig. 83, 97 fig. 112, 180 fig. 190). It seems that this Central Asian fashion was continued at Laškarī Bāzār. The caftans are worn over elaborate undergarments and are embel­lished with inscribed ṭerāz borders on the upper arms (Schlumberger, 1952, pls. XXI, XXII/1). They are belted with thonged girdles, from which small objects are suspended. Full trousers and high boots complete the outfit. Schlumberger (1952, p. 264) suggested that such inscribed garments were robes of honor presented by Muslim rulers to members of their retinues or to important allies. As details of the caftans, belts, and boots were apparently imported from Chinese Turkestan, he concluded (1952, p. 267) that these figures represent the Ghaznavid sultan’s Turkish bodyguard. A soft headdress resembling a turban in a wall painting from room IV in the same palace (Schlumberger, 1952, pl. XXXII/2) is also paralleled in Central Asia, in a wall painting at Bäzäklik of the 8th or 9th century (Bussagli, p. 110).

Few representations of either male or female dress seem to have survived from the period after the advent of the Saljuq dynasty (429/1038) in Persia through the early 6th/12th century. Illustrations in a manuscript of Ṣūfī’s treatise dated 525/1130-31 (Topkapı Sarayı, Istanbul, Ahmet III 3493) demonstrate some modern­ization of male dress in the century and a quarter since the Bodleian manuscript had been copied; although the basic forms of the turban and tunic remained the same, a belt with thongs for suspending weapons had been added (Wellesz, pl. 18/45). Silver belt ornaments from a Saljuq hoard said to have been found at Nehāvand (Gray, p. 75, pl. XXXII) attest that this type was still worn at the end of the 6th/12th century.

Continuity of dress styles between the two Ṣūfī manuscripts can, however, be assumed on the basis of representations on 11th-12th-century pottery, ivories, wall paintings, and woodwork from Fatimid Egypt, where Persian garments like the flat turban had a strong influence (Lane, pl. 26B; Atıl, p. 128 no. 57; Kühnel, 1971, p. 229 fig. 194; Ettinghausen, 1942, p. 123 fig. 23; Jenkins, fig. 6). It is shown, particularly on luster-painted pottery, along with the familiar embroi­dered caftan decorated with brassards and worn over boots. These garments differ from their Persian proto­types, however, in their wider sleeves and complex, polygonal necklines, a style peculiar to Fatimid Egypt (Lane, pl. 26B; Atıl, p. 128 no. 57; Ettinghausen, 1942, fig. 23). A taste for loose robes with wide sleeves seems to have had no parallel in Persia, though the surviving evidence is scant. Laborers and hunters in Fatimid art are shown wearing either short decorated tunics with sleeve bands and short underskirts or longer robes tucked up for greater freedom of move­ment (Kühnel, 1971, p. 229 fig. 194; idem, 1929, p. 408 fig. 404), costumes that may be traceable to styles depicted in the early 4th/11th-century Ṣūfī manu­script. A complex series of paintings on the ceiling of the Cappella Palatina at Palermo in Sicily, dated to about 534/1140, also attest the continuity of earlier styles of male dress: rounded turbans and long robes with sleeves and brassards worn with full trousers like those of the Fatimids (Ettinghausen, 1942, figs. 7-8; idem, 1962, p. 45). A three-pointed crown of reversed heart-shaped leaf forms is represented several times; it is reminiscent of ornate crowns depicted in the wall paintings from Panjīkant (Ettinghausen, 1962, p. 45; idem, 1942, fig. 7; Belenitsky, 1968, fig. 142).

Representations of women are also common on lus­ter pottery and wall paintings of Fatimid Egypt. They, too, wear jeweled diadems and headdresses derived from Sasanian royal crowns or the fillets of dancers from silver vessels (Grube, 1968, p. 13 fig. 4; Philon, pl. XXIIA; D. T. Rice, p. 127 fig. 93). The women wear loose, decorated robes with wide sleeves banded with ṭerāz and polygonal necklines, similar to those worn by men. The robes may be girt with jeweled belts and worn over wide trousers (Grube, 1968, p. 13 fig. 4; Philon, pls. XXIIA, XXV; Robinson, pl. 3/1.7; D. T. Rice, p. 127 fig. 93).

The number of surviving illustrations of costume from the late 6th/12th and early 7th/13th centuries, the period of the small dynasties that succeeded the Great Saljuqs in Persia, is much greater, especially for men and women of high rank. Representations on ceramics and metalwork, as well as in wall paintings, manu­script miniatures, and stucco sculptures, permit a fairly comprehensive description of the clothing worn at court, among which new styles probably introduced by the Saljuqs were combined with older fashions.

Most characteristic for high-ranking men was a stiff, decorated caftan closing diagonally from right to left. D. S. Rice identified this garment as a qabāʾ (1953, p. 133; see xxvii, below), and L. A. Mayer suggested that the closing from the right was specifically Turkish, in contrast to the closing from the left, which he believed characterized “Tartar,” or Mongol, robes (p. 21). In fact, the closing from the right was typical of Persian caftans, worn with high boots, from the last decades of the Sasanian dynasty through the early centuries of Islam and also paralleled in Central Asian examples (see above). In the Turkish period the version with narrow sleeves and wide skirt was the single most important male garment. It is depicted in an early 7th/13th-century illustrated manuscript of Varqa wa Golšāh by ʿAyyūqī and on contemporary pottery with­out decoration other than gold arm bands, which ap­pear to have been very common (Ateş, pls. 1/2-3, 5/13, 15; Atıl, pp. 82 no. 35, 92 no. 40, 100 no. 44). It sometimes closed vertically in front, with jeweled borders; the brassards were inscribed “the faithful” (al-moʾmenīn) or a similar expression; there might also be shoulder ornaments similar to epaulettes (plate xc), recalling late Sasanian and Central Asian embellishments at Ṭāq-e Bostān and Panjīkant (Fukai and Horiuchi, I, pl. LXVI; T. T. Rice, p. 108 fig. 91).

Nevertheless, the most distinctive feature of late Saljuq and post-Saljuq male dress was the popularity of patterned textiles for these garments. On pottery simple patterns of dots or groups of three dots (also a conventional textile pattern on Sasanian silver ves­sels) appear, as well as more complex patterns of tiny scrolls or arabesques of palmettes and half palmettes, some of them even incorporating figures (Survey of Persian Art V, pls. 640B, 642, 643A-B, 651, 653, 673B; Atıl, pp. 68 no. 28, 72 no. 30, 78 no. 33, 102 no. 45, 104 no. 46). Various stripes and overall geometric patterns were also common (Lane, pl. 68; Survey of Persian Art V, pls. 652, 654, 656A, 657A, 666-68; Atıl, pp. 78 no. 33, 84 no. 36, 96 no. 42). That these patterns do not merely represent ceramic conventions is clear from the rendering of garments in fragmentary wall paintings and in illustrations from the copy of Varqa wa Golšāh already mentioned, as well as in frontispieces to the volumes of Abu’l-Faraj Eṣfahānī’s Ketāb al-aḡānī dated 614-16/1217-19 and to two cop­ies of Ketāb al-deryāq (Book of antidotes) by Pseudo-Galen, dated 596/1199 and ascribed to the second quarter of the 7th/13th century respectively (Survey of Persian Art V, pl. 554A-B; Ateş, pls. 1/3, 6/16, 18; D. S. Rice, 1953, figs. 14-19; Ettinghausen, 1962, pp. 65, 85, 91). The last three manuscripts, all of them attrib­uted to northern Mesopotamia, show that the stiff coat with diagonal closing and arm bands was also worn in that region from the end of the 6th/12th century. The wavy patterning on some garments represents a local convention for rendering folds. The same garment was also depicted on contemporary inlaid metalwork from the same area (Du Ry, pp. 116-17; Guest and Ettinghausen, figs. 11-16). A variant of this coat had wide sleeves, similar to the robes known from Fatimid Egypt and the ceiling of the Cappella Palatina. Ver­sions made from decorated textiles and with ṭerāz bands are depicted on contemporary Persian ceramics and in the illustrated Varqa wa Golšāh manuscript (Lane, pls. 55A, 58B, 68A; Atıl, 102 no. 45; Survey of Persian Art V, pls. 641B, 687; Ateş, pls. 6/18, 10/27). They also appear on late 6th/12th-century metalwork (Baer, figs. 3-4), worn open at the neck with two lapels; though made of undecorated textiles, they are adorned with arm bands.

The dress for men of high station included a variety of head coverings, some of them harking back to older styles, others clearly of Saljuq Turkish derivation. The turban, which had been the most characteristic head­gear for Muslim men since the Omayyad period, continued to be worn by men of importance, its larger size and typical flat-topped silhouette echoing those of the turbans depicted in the early 5th/11th-century Ṣūfī manuscript (see above). Turbans constructed from either plain or decorated lengths of cloth are illustrated on pottery and metalwork of the late 6th/12th and early 7th/13th centuries (Atıl, p. 72 no. 30; Lane, pls. 52C, 55A, 58B, 63A; Survey of Persian Art V, pls. 642, 643B, 672, 686, 693; Guest and Ettinghausen, figs. 12-16, 73). In illustrations from the autograph Persian translation of Ṣūfī’s text by Ṭūsī (597-672/1201-74), dated 647/1249-50 (Topkapı Sarayı, Istanbul, Aya Sofya 2595), the turbans are even larger and more elaborate, adorned with ṭerāz bands inscribed in Kufic (plate xci; Wellesz, figs. 46, 48). Although no picto­rial depictions of turbans with ṭerāz bands have sur­vived from before this period, it is mentioned in historical sources that the late 4th/10th-century Fatimid caliphs wore them (Serjeant, 1972, p. 158). Smaller, more rounded turbans, sometimes with long ends dangling, are depicted in the Varqa wa Golšāh manuscript (Ateş, pls. 1/1-3, 6/17-18, 7/20, 10/27, 11/32, 13/38); this type seems to have been much more common in the Arabic-speaking countries, where it, too, grew larger with the passage of time. In fact, despite the continuing use of the turban in Persia at the end of the 6th/12th and early 7th/13th centuries, it seems not to have been as popular there as in Syria and northern Mesopotamia. In contemporary manuscripts from the latter areas a great variety of styles not known from Persia are illustrated (Ettinghausen, 1962, pp. 75-77, 79, 87, 97, 106-07, 113-14, 116, 118-19).

In Persian art courtiers are also depicted wearing the winged crown. Although ultimately derived from the Sasanian royal ceremonial headdress and subsequently adopted by Omayyad rulers (see, e.g., the stucco figure from Qaṣr al-Ḥayr al-Ḡarbī), by the late 6th/12th century it had lost its royal connotations and become a decorative headdress for the nobility. In both ceramic and stucco representations it is shown as a pair of wings flanking a jewel in the shape of a lotus bud or placed above jeweled fillets (plate xc; Atıl, pp. 188 no. 52, 120 no. 53; Survey of Persian Art V, pls. 687, 707C).

Among the new styles of headgear in Persia at this time were a variety of caps and hats of different shapes and sizes, ranging from small decorated creased or dented hats (Atıl, p. 68 no. 28) to flat caps with or without central knobs (Atıl, pp. 78 no. 33, 82 no. 35) to those with fur brims or made completely of fur (Atıl, p. 94 no. 41; Survey of Persian Art V, pl. 653). Flat hunting caps trimmed with fur are depicted on Saljuq wall paintings from Nīšāpūr (Wilkinson, 1986, fig. 28). Other headdresses were taller and slightly coni­cal, with brims, or more similar to the modern fez, with finials (Survey of Persian Art V, pl. 643B, 646A, 688A; Atıl, p. 110 no. 50). Similar small hats with knobs and upturned brims were illustrated in wall paintings (Survey of Persian Art V, pl. 554) and in the illustrated Varqa wa Golšāh manuscript (Ateş, fig. 27), where fur-trimmed conical caps (plate xcii) and a tall forked headdress of curious shape (Ateş, pl. 1/3; İpşiroğlu, fig. 16) also occur. Tall, rounded caps with palmette­-shaped cockades on the side or in front are also worn by courtiers in the frontispieces to the Ketāb al-aḡānī manuscript from northern Mesopotamia (e.g., Ettinghausen, 1962, p. 65). That these new types of headgear, rounded or pointed in outline, conical or brimmed, were introduced by the Turks is clear from earlier representations of similar forms at such Central Asian sites as Qïzïl, Dandan Öiliq, Bäzäklik, and Panjīkant (Grünwedel, 1920, pls. XXVII, XLIX; Le Coq, 1926, pl. 20; Whitfield, pl. 69; Belenitsky, 1968, fig. 144; Seyrig, pl. II).

The most distinctive headdress worn by rulers and courtiers was a conical cap with a wide fur band that also bordered a tall, rounded metal plaque in the front (plate xciii). It is illustrated on both glazed and unglazed ceramics from Persia and northern Mesopotamia (Lane, pls. 37B, 63A, 64B, 68A, 78A; Atıl, p. 96 no. 42; Survey of Persian Art V, pls. 651, 672, 675, 688, 708). In the Varqa wa Golšāh manuscript, on the other hand, the plaque is much taller than in the pottery representations, and the cap itself is often even taller, resembling the qalansowa ṭawīla (see above; Ateş, pls. 13/36, 14/39). In northern Mesopotamia and Syria this cap, as illustrated in the Ketāb al-aḡānī frontispieces and in the two copies of Ketāb al-deryāq already mentioned, as well as in sev­eral contemporary manuscripts of the Maqāmāt (As­semblies) by Ḥarīrī, was low and rounded, hidden by the taller plaque (Ettinghausen, 1977, pp. 65, 91; D. S. Rice, 1953, figs. 16-19; Buchthal, fig. 6). D. S. Rice (1953, p. 133) identified it with the šarbūš favored by the Zangids, a Turkish dynasty that ruled parts of northern Mesopotamia and Syria (521-619/1127-1222), and their successors (cf. Mayer, p. 28). It is difficult to trace the earlier history of this cap. Hats with rectan­gular plaques in both front and back, which may have been trimmed with fur (Le Coq, 1926, pl. 20), were depicted on the 3rd/9th-century wall paintings at Bäzäklik and may have been early versions of the Turkish šarbūš.

Finally, a characteristic fashion for rulers and men of high rank in the late 6th/12th and early 7th/13th centu­ries was tall boots, a natural choice of footgear for nomadic peoples, with a long tradition in Persia, from the Achaemenid period onward (see v, above). It is difficult to determine the form of the boots from post-Saljuq representations, as the tops are almost always hidden under the hems of the caftans. They were slim, close-fitting, with slightly pointed toes, and seem to have been made of soft leather (plate xciii). On pottery they are shown in a variety of colors: black, brown, red, blue, and green (Survey of Persian Art V, pls. 668D, 686, 687, 705; Atıl, p. 100 no. 44), and some seem to have been patterned with scrolls, rosettes, and spirals (Survey of Persian Art V, pls. 653, 651). In a few instances it is possible to glimpse the complete form of these boots, which rise to single points at the knees (Survey of Persian Art V, pl. 705), recalling the boots worn by servants in the Sasanian Boar Hunt relief at Ṭāq-e Bostān (Fukai and Horiuchi, I, pls. XXV, XLIII) and those depicted on post-Sasanian silver vessels (Harper, 1981, pls. 19, 27, 36). They were probably derived from Central Asian examples like those represented at Qïzïl, Dandan Öiliq, Fondukistan, Bäzäklik, and Panjīkant (Le Coq, 1928, pp. 116; Bussagli, pp. 57, 59, 80; Ghirshman, 1962, p. 32 fig. 430; Belenitsky, 1968, figs. 143-44) and on a Sogdian silver plate (T. T. Rice, p. 115 fig. 101).

On two ceramic pieces the pointed boot tops are elongated to form straps, which were apparently at­tached to inner belts in the manner of the leggings worn by the Parthians and Sasanians (Survey of Persian Art V, pls. 672, 686; see v, above). That the boots illustrated in the Varqa wa Golšāh manuscript were at­tached in this way is clear from battle scenes, in which the displacement of the coat reveals a broad thong reaching from the knee to an inner belt (plate xciii; Ateş, pls. 1/2, 2/4, 4/11, 5/13, 9/24; İpşiroğlu, fig. 17; Melikian-Chirvani, opp. p. 99, fig. 38). This method of securing boots was certainly of Central Asian origin and is represented in 6th-7th-century sculptures from Fondukistan, and 8th-9th-century wall paintings from Bäzäklik (Ghirshman, 1962, p. 321 fig. 430; Le Coq, 1913, pl. 22). Although the man’s caftan was almost always worn with trousers tucked into boots, the Varqa wa Golšāh manuscript shows wide pantaloons worn outside (Ateş, pl. 11/32).

Male figures of lower social status are not repre­sented wearing caftans and boots. In the Varqa wa Golšāh manuscript the butcher and the baker are unshod and bare to the waist, wearing only loose white trousers (Ateş, pl. 1/1). Foot soldiers and attendants are shown in wrapped leggings or loose pantaloons and short jerkins (Ateş, pls. 8/21, 15/42). Varqa himself wears only loose pantaloons after being taken captive, apparently the usual garb for prisoners (Ateş, pl. 4/11; Survey of Persian Art V, pl. 692B; Grube, 1976, pl. 142). In the Ketāb al-deryāq manuscript of 596/1199 laborers and gardeners wear either knee-length trou­sers with bare torsos or short tunics without trousers (Ettinghausen, 1962, pp. 84, 85); on contemporary metalwork from the same region they wear short trou­sers with tunics tucked up and caught at the waist (D. S. Rice, 1949, p. 338 fig. D; idem, 1957, fig. 11). Although these workmen are often bareheaded, they also wear a variety of hats: tall conical bonnets with upturned brims (D. S. Rice, 1949, p. 338 fig. D), small pointed caps (D. S. Rice, 1957, fig. 11), and tiered caps (Ettinghausen, 1962, p. 85). One distinctive headdress that seems peculiar to northern Mesopotamia is a tall pointed hat with a broad brim, suitable for shading the face from the sun. It is seen on illustrations of garden­ers and laborers on both inlaid metalwork and the later Ketāb al-deryāq manuscript (D. S. Rice, 1949, p. 338 fig. D; Ettinghausen, 1962, p. 91). In the same manu­script it is also worn as a traveling hat by horsemen wearing the decorated caftan associated with high rank (Ettinghausen, 1962, p. 91); on an inlaid ewer from Anatolia it is worn by a hunter (Allen, pl. 7, detail, p. 60).

A few figures are also shown clad in either loose or tight trousers of a richer sort, decorated with patterns and worn with elaborate short tunics. They include fallen enemies and fantastic winged creatures (Atıl, p. 112 no. 50; Lane, pl. 69A), as well as men engaged in enigmatic physical activities, perhaps acrobatics or dance (Survey of Persian Art V, pl. 712).

Representations of women in the 6th/12th and early 7th/13th centuries, though far more numerous than in earlier periods, are sometimes difficult to distinguish from beardless youths, as they also wear decorated, stiff caftans with narrow sleeves and diagonal closings from right to left (Atıl, pp. 99 no. 41, 96 no. 42, 104 no. 46, 120 no. 53; Survey of Persian Art V, pls. 672, 689). These caftans are ornamented in the same way as those of their male counterparts, with arm bands and patterns of dots, scrolls, geometric, and figural designs. Robes with wide sleeves, recalling Fatimid examples (plate xciv), were apparently more popular for women than for men (Survey of Persian Art V, pls. 641 B, 653, 693). Indeed, all female figures in the Varqa wa Golšāh manuscript wear them, whereas the men almost always have narrow sleeves (plate xcii; Ateş, pls. 1/2-3, 5/15, 6/17-18, 7/19, 9/25-26, 10/28-29). These robes are sometimes worn under open, patterned coats with wide sleeves (Survey of Persian Art V, pls. 651, 691 A, 720A). The woman’s caftan is sometimes shown open below the waist, revealing either wide white trousers or striped or plaid pantaloons underneath (plate xcii, plate xciv; Ateş, pls. 1/2-3, 5/15, 7/19, 10/28-29, 11/31, 14/39 and 41, 15/43; Survey of Persian Art V, pls. 652, 664, 672), a garment that had first been adopted by women in the early years of the Omayyad period (see above).

Women of the court are depicted wearing small, pointed slippers in the Varqa wa Golšāh manuscript (plate xcii; Ateş, pls. 1/2-3, 7/19, 10/28-29, 11/31, 15/43). On pottery one slipper may be worn while the other foot is shown bare with a tattooed or hennaed design and an anklet (Survey of Persian Art V, pls. 651, 652, 653). Boots were seldom worn by female figures, though they do appear occasionally on ceramics (Survey of Persian Art V, pls. 641, 672; Atıl, p. 10 no. 53).

Women of the court wore a variety of hair ornaments, crowns, and hats. Perhaps the most characteristic headdress, shown on pottery, on metalwork, and in manuscript illustrations, was a jeweled diadem ornamented in front with a round lotus bud or a trefoil-­shaped jewel and sometimes bound with long, deco­rated ribbons (Atıl, pp. 94 no. 41, 104 no. 46; Lane, pls. 59 B, 84 A; Survey of Persian Art V, pls. 641 B, 646 B, 651, 693; Grube, 1976, p. 183; Du Ry, p. 116). Such hair ornaments are worn by women in the Varqa wa Golšāh manuscript (İpşiroğlu, fig. 16; Ateş, pls. 1/3, 13/38), the Ketāb al-aḡānī frontispieces, and the Ketāb at-deryāq of 595/1199 (D. S. Rice, 1953, fig. 17-19; D. T. Rice, 1965, pl. I, opp. frontispiece). They are very similar to those depicted on the female constellations in the early 5th/11th-century Ṣūfī manuscript (see above; Wellesz, pls. 3/6, 5/10, 6/11-12), which were ultimately derived from the diadems of dancers on late Sasanian silver vessels (Grabar, 1967, pls. 19-22).

A small flat cap adorned with a jewel or plaque in front or tied with ribbons was also a popular feminine style (Survey of Persian Art V, pls. 653, 672; Lane, pl. 68A; Atıl, p. 96 no. 42). Other headdresses resembled those worn by men: round caps, flat hats with central knobs, and “fezes.” It is this similarity in particular that makes it difficult to distinguish between male and female representations (Survey of Persian Art V, pls. 641 B, 664, 666, 688, 703; Atıl, pp. 120 no. 53, 121); only when the figures are represented wearing the characteristic tiered and looped earrings is it certain that they are female (plate xcii; Survey of Persian Art V, pls. 641, 646, 652, 690, 691). These hats, which originated in Central Asia, are worn by female donor figures in wall paintings at Qïzïl (Grünwedel, 1920, pl. XXVII). The winged crown derived from Sasanian prototypes was also worn by high-ranking women. It is represented on ceramics, in the frontispiece to the 7th/13th-century Ketāb al-deryāq, and in the Persian translation of Ṣūfī’s text (plate xciv; Atıl, p. 120 no. 53; Survey of Persian Art V, pl. 687; D. T. Rice, 1965, pl. I opp. frontispiece; Wellesz, pl. 20/49). In the Ṣūfī manuscript the constellation wearing the winged crown is Andromeda, represented as a dancer or court enter­tainer. She is dressed in a fitted tunic, closing from right to left and belted with a sash; wide, floating trousers; pointed slippers; and a wealth of jewelery, including a necklace with pendant, earrings, two bracelets on each wrist, and anklets. The richness of her ornaments links this figure to dancers on Sasanian and post-Sasanian silver vessels and in Omayyad and early ʿAbbasid representations, though in the late 6th/12th and early 7th/13th centuries such dancers were more fully clothed.

In illustrations winged figures unfurling canopies above the heads of rulers or shown in conjunction with important personages are also dressed as court dancers. On ceramics they are usually shown wearing the jeweled diadem, slippers, wide trousers, and decorated tunics (Survey of Persian Art V, pl. 686). In the fron­tispiece to the Ketāb al-deryāq of 596/1199 such fig­ures are dressed in brightly colored tunics tied up with sashes in front to allow greater freedom of movement; these tunics are decorated with arm bands and scrolled patterns and are worn over loose trousers with flaring cuffs in contrasting patterned textiles (D. T. Rice, 1965, pl. I, opp. frontispiece). The figures also wear elaborate jewelry. The central seated figure in the frontispiece is clad in the same way, with the addition of an elaborate loose coat with little underneath. In the Ketāb al-aḡānī frontispieces similar winged figures are shown in rich tunics and pantaloons (D. S. Rice, 1953, figs. 16-19).

In this period women were sometimes represented wearing scarves wound round their heads and draped over their shoulders, as in an illustration of Cassiopeia in the Ṣūfī manuscript dated 647/1249-50 (Wellesz, pl. 20 fig. 51) and in the Varqa wa Golšāh manuscript, where it seems to characterize Golšāh’s mother and older women in general (Ateş, pls. 9/26, 10/29). In images on ceramics this scarf may be shown pulled up to veil the lower half of the face, especially during travel (Lane, pl. 62B); in one miniature from the 7th/13th-century Ketāb al-deryāq women traveling by camel are shown with their veils secured by headbands (Ettinghausen, p. 91).

It is clear from these examples that Persian clothing during the first six centuries of Islamic rule was strik­ingly conservative. Although new styles were intro­duced, especially after the advent of the Turks, innovative fashions in headgear and elaborate jewelry under the Saljuqs altered the basic form of Persian costume very little. There was also a definite trend toward a more androgynous mode of dress; in the 6/12th and 7th/13th centuries the caftan was worn as often by females as males, and women adopted such previously male accessories as boots and certain head­dresses. Nevertheless, despite this shift, the traditional nature of Persian clothing remained fundamentally unchanged. The stiff, decorated caftan worn with boots and pantaloons, retained from late Sasanian and Central Asian fashions, continued to be worn by high-­ranking men and women in Persia until the advent of the Mongols and even afterward (see vii, below).


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(Elsie H. Peck)

Originally Published: December 15, 1992

Last Updated: October 25, 2011

This article is available in print.
Vol. V, Fasc. 7, pp. 760-778

Cite this entry:

Elsie H. Peck, “CLOTHING viii. In Persia from the Arab conquest to the Mongol invasion,” Encyclopædia Iranica, V/7, pp. 760-778, available online at (accessed on 30 December 2012).