My Persian mystery….

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Above is a woodcut of 17th-century Safavid Persian clothing, based on the description provided by Sir John Chardin in his travelogue.

The gentleman on the right is wearing a very lovely short outer-vest. This vest is not found in any of the 16th-century Persian miniatures that I’ve seen. Yet Willem Floor has a description of this garment in his book on the Persian Textile Industry.

So my mystery is: at what point did this garment come into existence in the Safavid Persian empire? How did we get from ankle- or knee-length outer garments with hanging sleeves to a waist-length outer garment without sleeves in less than 100 years?

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