Zoroastrianism was the state religion of Iran 2500 years ago. It is a religion based on one god, good and evil, heaven and hell and final judgement. As such it predates Islam, Judaism and Christianity. When Islam became the official religion, Zoroastrians were not considered “people of the book” like the jews and were thus persecuted. Most of them left Iran and settled in Gujarat on the west coast of India where most Zoroastrins live nowadays.
Their dress code was developed prior to their migration. Men were allowed to wear locally dyed ochre robes but the women were accorded more freedom in decorating their dresses, pants and shawls with polychrome embroidery reflecting their farming traditions.
This rectangular shawl would be typically used as a head covering. It is decorated with a wealth of embroidered motifs- a variety of birds, fish, flowers, crops and poetry verses. They are all arranged around a linear scheme of circles and lozenges. The short edges are embroidered borders. All embroidery done with silk in straight stitches on plain weave brown cotton.
Circa: 19th C
Origin: Gujarat, India
Material: Silk embroidery on cotton
Condition: Very good; Two repaired spots along the long borders
Dimensions: 113" x 34"
Inventory number: TX4687