Naser al-Din Shah-Era Women’s and Men’s Clothing as Reflected in Sani ol-Molk’s Illustrations of One Thousand and One Nights

Document Type : Research Article


Assistant Professor, Faculty of Applied Arts, University of Art, Tehran, Iran.


Problem statement: In the early years of Naser al-Din Shah Qajar’s reign, textiles used for women’s and men’s clothing were embellished with various motifs. Created in the same historical period, Sani ol-Molk’s anachronistic illustrations for One Thousand and One Nights are a good source for research on the era’s clothing, as they realistically depict how Persians lived at the time. The present study attempts to answer the following question: “Based on Sani ol-Molk’s One Thousand and One Nights illustrations, what designs and motifs were prevalent in textiles used for women’s and men’s clothing in the Naserian era?” The assumption is that in this era, just as in the previous periods, there were different clothes patterning styles and gender had some influence on the choice of fabrics for clothing.
Research objective: The study aimed to explore early-Naserian-era fabric designs and motifs by examining the illustrations of the Qajar version of One Thousand and One Nights.
Research method: In this descriptive and analytical research, 24 book illustrations, selected through probability sampling, were examined.
Conclusion: Findings show that for women, textiles patterned with floral motifs were used for clothing that was worn in andaruni (the private, women-only quarter in traditional Persian houses; similar to the harem), and plain textiles for those worn out in biruni (outside both the andaruni and the house); for men, plain textiles were preferred, Termeh fabrics (patterned with Botteh Jegheh/ Paisley’s) were only used for Qaba’s, and the use of other patterned fabrics was limited to embellishments.


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