Trousers thumbnail 1
Trousers thumbnail 2
+4
images
Not currently on display at the V&A

Trousers

1840-1870 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place of origin

These voluminous trousers are of a type worn by women in some of the Zoroastrian communities in Iran. Fine blue cotton that can be easily gathered has been used to form the upper part of the garment, and it reappears at the bottom of each leg, where it is gathered into a narrow cuff at the ankle. In between a strong blue cotton has been used that is coarser and more hardwearing, but less suitable for gathering.

Coloured strips of fine cotton embroidered with a lace-like pattern in red and white and in red and black have been sewn together and then attached to the coarse cotton legs. The seams between the strips have been disguised by red or black silk threads that have been laid along them and stitched in place with white silk through both thicknesses of fabric. The small rosettes within the lace pattern were also embroidered through both thicknesses.

Strips of block-printed cotton have been used on the inside of each leg, partly because printing was cheaper than embroidery and that part of the trousers would not been seen. Also, the inner leg is subjected to much wear and tear and printed fabric would have been cheaper to replace. If you look at the black strip to the right of the printed one, you will see that a patch of plain black cotton has been sewn on top of the lower part because the lower part of the embroidery has worn thin and has torn in places.

Object details

Categories
Object type
Materials and techniques
Cotton, embroidered with silk, with some panels of printed cotton
Brief description
A Zoroastrian woman's trousers, probably Yazd, Iran, 1840-1870
Physical description
Woman's trousers, predominantly cotton embroidered with silk but with some panels of printed cotton
Gallery label
Zoroastrian Woman’s Tunic, Trousers, Cap and Shawl Yazd, Iran About 1840–70 Like other religious minorities in Iran, Zoroastrians were required to dress to identify their religion. They wore brightly coloured clothing and did not usually veil their faces. This created an obvious contrast with the outdoor clothing worn by Muslim women. A Zoroastrian woman would typically wear a tunic (qamis), together with loose trousers (shalvar) gathered at the ankle. These trousers were made from textile remnants because there were restrictions on Zoroastrians buying full widths of fabric. Women covered their heads with a small fitted cap (lachak), over which they would wrap several shawls around their head and shoulders. Cotton plain weave with silk embroidery Museum nos. IS.9, 9A, 9B, 9C-1954 Jameel Gallery(31/08/2012)
Production
Zoroastrian
Summary
These voluminous trousers are of a type worn by women in some of the Zoroastrian communities in Iran. Fine blue cotton that can be easily gathered has been used to form the upper part of the garment, and it reappears at the bottom of each leg, where it is gathered into a narrow cuff at the ankle. In between a strong blue cotton has been used that is coarser and more hardwearing, but less suitable for gathering.

Coloured strips of fine cotton embroidered with a lace-like pattern in red and white and in red and black have been sewn together and then attached to the coarse cotton legs. The seams between the strips have been disguised by red or black silk threads that have been laid along them and stitched in place with white silk through both thicknesses of fabric. The small rosettes within the lace pattern were also embroidered through both thicknesses.

Strips of block-printed cotton have been used on the inside of each leg, partly because printing was cheaper than embroidery and that part of the trousers would not been seen. Also, the inner leg is subjected to much wear and tear and printed fabric would have been cheaper to replace. If you look at the black strip to the right of the printed one, you will see that a patch of plain black cotton has been sewn on top of the lower part because the lower part of the embroidery has worn thin and has torn in places.
Bibliographic reference
Crill, Rosemary, Jennifer Wearden and Verity Wilson. Dress in Detail from Around the World. London: V&A Publications, 2002. 224 p., ill. ISBN 09781851773787. p. 120. Illustrated in 'Iranian Textiles' by Jennifer Wearden and Patricia L Baker V&A Publishing 2010, fig.19 page 37.
Collection
Accession number
IS.9A-1954

About this object record

Explore the Collections contains over a million catalogue records, and over half a million images. It is a working database that includes information compiled over the life of the museum. Some of our records may contain offensive and discriminatory language, or reflect outdated ideas, practice and analysis. We are committed to addressing these issues, and to review and update our records accordingly.

You can write to us to suggest improvements to the record.

Suggest feedback

Record createdFebruary 5, 2004
Record URL
Download as: JSONIIIF Manifest