Parsi Crafts

Art history/ Historiography, Crafts, Handlooms, Art

Parsi Crafts: Gifts from Magi

Cama, Dr. Shernaz

Some say that the Three Wise Men who came bearing gifts for the infant Jesus to welcome his birth, were in fact Zoroastrian priests. Gifts form an integral part of the Parsi Zoroastrian tradition. These support a craft tradition descending from Bronze Age Iran which gathered momentum along the Silk Route, adapting Chinese, Indian and European influences to create distinctively Zoroastrian crafts.   Zoroastrian men were also skilled weavers. Xenophon describes Cyrus the Great coming into battle “wearing a purple tunic shot with white…trousers of scarlet dye about his legs”, while tablets from Susa at the time of Emperor Darius mention not only flourishing weaving industries but also clothes of coloured embroidery. Marco Polo reports that “a thriving silk industry and Safavaid weaves of twill, satin, lampas, brocade and velvet were well known”.
  When women, who constitute all the weavers of the Kusti, could not weave a sacred material during their periods of ritual “uncleanliness”, they used the same loom to fashion a beautiful decorative toran. Tiny glass beads are painstakingly designed in traditional patterns – the rooster for pr...
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