Another reason why Qajar Iran is my favorite–beautiful documents like these. 

This document is two-page Jewish marriage contract (ketubah) in Arabic and Hebrew. The first page, in Arabic, is indistinguishable from Muslim marriage contracts from Qajar Iran. It starts with “bismillah irrahman irrahim” (In the name of God, Most Merciful, Most Kind). The next line praises God for allowing the marriage–literally thanking God for “halal-ifying” the marriage. The second page is in Hebrew, which I suspect expresses the same beautiful sentiments. 

1902, Iran. 


14-wall painting by baraneh on Flickr.

Via Flickr:
Golestān Palace (Persian: کاخ گلستان ) is the former royal Qajar complex in Iran’s capital city.

The oldest of the historic monuments in Tehran, the Golestan Palace (also Gulistan Palace) (Palace of Flowers) belongs to a group of royal buildings that were once enclosed within the mud-thatched walls of Tehran’s Historic Arg (citadel).

The Arg was built during the reign of Tahmasp I (r. 1524-1576) of the Safavid dynasty (1502-1736), and was later renovated by Karim Khan Zand (r. 1750-1779). Agha Mohamd Khan Qajar (1742-1797) chose Tehran as his capital. The Arg became the site of the Qajar (1794-1925). The Court and Golestan Palace became the official residence of the royal Qajar family. The palace was rebuilt to its current form in 1865 by Haji Abol-hasan Mimar Navai.

Antoin Sevruguin (1830s-1933) was an noted photographer during the Qajar era. Born to an Armenian-Georgian family in Tehran, Sevruguin commanded various languages and gained him access to diverse groups of people, which served him well in his photography. 

As the first Iranian to own a camera, Nasir al-Din Shah loved photography, so he invited Sevruguin to document life in the Qajar court. 

Based on the girl’s outfit, Sevruguin probably took the picture during the late nineteenth century. The short skirt, called a shalīteh, was introduced to Qajar fashion after Nasir al-Din Shah’s tour of Russia. He was fond of ballerinas and wanted the women in his harem to dress like them. His decision to introduce the tutu to the royal court influenced Iranian fashion for years to come.

Historical Bazaar in Arak City, Iran. Modern Arak is built around the same location of a village called Daskerah, which was destroyed during the Mongol Invasion in the 13th century. The city was reestablished ten years after the rise of the Qajars in 1795. Most of the foundational construction work was completed by 1852. 

Photographer: Sohrab Niazi

Thanks to Farrah joon for this great find!!  

Amulet Box

Medium: Gold, polychrome enamel, and repoussé decoration

Place Made: Iran

Dates: 19th century

Period: Qajar

Memoirs From Khamenei: Coexistence with Cannibals

They went to different parts of the world to encourage people to convert to Christianity so that the elements of colonialism could be spread there and so that they could do what they wanted. The missionaries knew what they were doing - it was not the case that they were unaware of the ulterior motives. But look at the pains they took in order to achieve this goal, pains that could not be recompensed with money. For instance, some missionaries sometimes had to go and live in the cannibals’ neighborhood for 7 years! We just read about such things in books, in novels or in some reports. We also see such things in movies sometimes. I know about these things, and I know what has happened in the time of colonialism. In our country, they sent a priest from a European country to Isfahan, Tehran and then to other parts of our country. For many consecutive years, a Christian missionary lived here in harsh conditions away from his homeland and had to tolerate the people’s suspicion, people who believed he was ‘an unclean pagan’. They came here and lived in our country at a time when people were much more sensitive about such religious matters, a time when people were very biased and had very firm religious beliefs. They chose to live in our country in the hope that they would manage to convert a handful of people to Christianity. They assumed that they could do here what they did in Africa, but that was just a false dream. They were not successful, but they stayed here for years. Just go and read the history of the Qajar dynasty, and you will find out that there was an orientalist who lived in Iran for years. He wrote a two-volume book on the history of Iran. He lived in the southern part of Khorasan province, in Birjand, Zabol and the neighboring areas, and finally wrote his two-volume book. Just go and see what he has written about the priests who lived here.

A Qajar Tile Featuring The Virgin Mary and Child
Iran (1800s)

Islamic Persia says:

This iconic tile shows the virgin Mary and Jesus, and was possibly created in Isfahan which had a huge Christian population.

The tile itself in beautiful, and has some European flavor as it was perhaps influenced by European images. They are depicted in shades of green and blue surrounded with floral motifs.

This book is about court ceremonies during the reign of Qajar monarch Nasir al Din Shah. According to the English-language back cover, the primary focus is on something translated as the “pottage-cooking festival.” I suspect that soup or stew might be a more understandable term for most of us, but there is something really delightful about “pottage-cooking.” I’m intrigued. #ajamreads #iran #qajars #persian #books #history #nonfiction #bookcovers

A small Qajar lacquer painting depicting a British officer surrendering to the Emperor Napoleon and his marshals, signed by Zain al-Abidin Persia, second half of the 19th Century [x]