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Contact Admin. Skip to main content. You're using an out-of-date version of Internet Explorer. Log In Sign Up. Women Entertainers in Safavid iran Matthee and Baron, eds. Keddie's Contribution to Iranian Studies. Utopianism and Despair in Early ModernistPersianliterature..
The Iranian Revolution and the Failure of the Left '. Our current preoccupation with Orientalism and the tendency to project its nineteenlh-century romantic biases backward to earlier times makes it almost mandatory to summarily dismiss such observations as springing from the salacious minds of male European visitors keen to see their fantasies of licentious Orientals and especially their women confirmed in real life.
A superficial glance at late Safavid society, moreover, would validate this reaction, for one would be tempted to conclude that such western impressions are incompatible with a long-standing image of safavid lra[as a society where the tenets of Twelver Shi'ism and popular traditions combined to prescribe female chastity and a strict gender segre- gation. Nor were these just pious injunctions, invoked in theoretical trea- iises but neglected or ignored in practice.
Amsterdam, ' As elsewhere in Middle Eastem and Mediterranean societies, houses in Safavid Iran did not feature windows on the street side so that women remained invisible to the outside world. As one observer said about Isfahan in , there were "hardly any respectable women on the street.
Nevertheless, ample evidence beyond assertions by outsiders suggests that the straitlaced appearance of safavid society did not, at any time, fully ' [chick, ed. Prostitutes, Courtesans, and Dancing Girls reflect everyday reality. A cursory look at the Safavid artistic legacy as preserved in the visual imagery of especially the seventeenth century would suffice to drive this point home.