Study of Motifs in Zoroastrian Needlework, Based on Anthropological Aspect of Art

Document Type : Research Article


1 Lecturer, Islamic Art Department, Handicraft Faculty, Art University of Isfahan, Iran.

2 Assistant Professor, Islamic Art Department, Handicraft Faculty, Art University of Isfahan, Iran.


Problem statement: The art of “Zoroastrian needlework” is a sort of traditional needlework clothing design, belonged to Zoroastrian ladies, dating back to pre-Islamic Iran. Majority of the Zoroastrian needlework motives contain some meanings and roots from religious culture and aesthetics point of view which are not explained so far and identification of these motives can reveal their meanings which some believe they are just simple designs without any hidden meaning.
Research objectives: This study attempts to assess and understand the ornamental motifs of the Zoroastrian needlework from cultural and social point of view of the artists.
Research method: This anthropological study of art tries to answer the following question: what is the cultural iconography, aesthetic items and function of the motifs of the Zoroastrian Needlework? In order to answer this question based on anthropology of art views, the motifs of the Zoroastrian Needlework were studied using descriptive-analytical method by considering their iconography, aesthetic, and functions.
Conclusion: The results show that based on iconography analysis, many of these motifs remind us of old archetype such as mother and trees, and using them on wedding dresses is a symbol of goddess of fertility. This shows a relation between concept and application. In addition, based on aesthetic analysis, the structure of color, form, texture and composition are according to their sewing patterns and poses balance, difference and rhythm. In function analysis, motives were used mostly for women’s clothing, especially their wedding dress which is exactly according to its function and shows view of Zoroastrian religion in which living happily is the human mission.


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