CLOTHING xxiii. Clothing of the Persian Gulf area



xxiii. Clothing of the Persian Gulf area

The people on the shores of the Persian Gulf are divided among three provinces, each with a distinctive style of dress: Ḵūzestān, Būšehr, and Hormozgān. The last is the main focus here.

Women’s clothing. Women’s clothing consists of four basic parts: head covering, dress, trousers, and shoes. The normal head covering is a rectangular (200 x 70 cm; plate clix) black scarf of thin silk (maknā) wrapped round the head and fastened on top with a metal pin (čollāba), which formerly was sometimes of gold. The basic garment is a dress in colored cotton, either draped around the hips (gavan) or cut full (daraʿa). Older women wear over it a loose shift (jūma/jāma) of thin material, with a collar (yaqa-ye jūma, garībūn/garībān) embroidered with gold thread (ḵūs). Under these garments women wear full trousers (šalvār) tapered at the ankles (plate clx, Figure 72). The cuffs are embroidered (badle/badla) in designs that vary from region to region and take their names from their places of origin: bangladeši, bastaki, bandari, wadūvī, tī bandari. Shoes were formerly made of green leather (kowš-e sabz), with the toes turned up, but today women wear Western-style slippers called čapalī.

When they leave their villages women don floral-cotton čādors, wrapped loosely around the body and covering the head except for the face. The black čādor is worn only during funeral ceremonies. The tradi­tional face covering (baṭṭūla) is still worn in some parts of this region, but its popularity is declining. No serious information about the place of origin of this garment or the period when it was introduced in Hormozgān is available. The variants of the baṭṭūla are named for the places or ethnic groups with which they are identified: moqāmi, ḥomeyrāni, ʿarabī, qaṭari, sekāni, and so on (plate clxi; Figure 73).

Men’s clothing. Men used to wear a small white or colored cap (kolāh), over which a cloth 2 m long (lang, langūta) was wrapped, white or striped for older men, colored for younger men. This tradition is still alive among older men, especially in winter.

The traditional shirt (jūma) reached below the knee, fastening with buttons on the right side of the neck and with 10-cm slits on either side of the hem. Today the jūma has largely been replaced by the Western-style shirt with collar (qamīṣ), and the traditional version is worn only by shepherds and farmers. At home men still sometimes wear loosely cut trousers (šalvār) made of coarse cotton under the shirt, but outside they wear trousers in the Western style.

In winter the qabā, a long, heavy overcoat is worn over the qamīṣ or the jūma and cinched at the waist with a rope belt (šāl). Over the qabā a second long coat of camel’s hair or wool, with half-sleeves (čokka) or long, wide sleeves (kūfta), was worn; another version, which is made only of wool, is known as māšūē.

There are three types of traditional men’s shoes. Harza had soles made of a material compacted from cloth and ground sheep bones drawn together on a leather thong; the shoe was fastened to the toe with a cord made of palm leaves. Another type was the malakī, a triangular piece of leather with a point at the toe. Jūfī are any Western style of shoe.

For clothing of Būšehr and Ḵūzestān, see Supplement.



J. Żīāʾpūr, Pūšāk-e īlhā wa čadornešīnān wa rūstāʾīān-e Īrān dar rūzgar-e šāhanšāhī-e Moḥammad-Reżā Šāh Pahlavī, Tehran, 1341 Š./1962.

(R. Shahnaz Nadjmabadi)

Originally Published: December 15, 1992

Last Updated: October 25, 2011

This article is available in print.
Vol. V, Fasc. 8, pp. 848-850