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Full text of "Journeys In Persia And Kurdistan ( Vol.Ii)."

LETTER xx                   WOMEN'S DRESS                            107

mouths, thin lips, straight or slightly curved eyebrows,
dark gray or black eyes, hazel in a few instances, deeply
set, and usually rather close together, well-developed fore-
heads, small ears, very small feet, and small hands with
tapering fingers. The limbs below the knee are remark-
ably straight and well-developed, and the walk is always
good.

It is not easy to say how the women are made, as
their clothing gives no indications of form. They are
long-limbed, and walk with a firm, even, elastic stride.
They are frequently tall, and except when secluded are
rarely stout. Their hands and feet are small. Their
figures are spoilt (if they ever had any) by early maternity
and hard work. At twenty a woman looks past forty.
Many, perhaps it is not an exaggeration to say most, of
them have narrowly escaped being handsome. Fine eyes,
straight noses, and well-formed mouths with thin lips
are the rule. The hair is always glossy and abundant,
and the teeth of both sexes are white, regular, and healthy-
looking, though toothache is a painfully common ailment.

The women's dress in the " higher classes " is much
like that worn by the ordinary Persian women, with the
exception of what I have elsewhere called "balloon
trousers," but the hard-working tribesmen's wives are
clothed in loose blue cotton trousers drawn in at the
ankles, short open chemises, and short open jackets. A
black or coloured kerchief covers the head, the ends hang-
ing down behind or in front. They wear loose woollen
shoes with leather soles. The dress is not pretty or
picturesque, and is apt to be dirty and ragged, but it
suits their lives and their hard work.

Both sexes stain the finger-nails and the palms of
the hands with henna, and all wear amulets or charms
suspended round the neck, or bound on the upper part of
the arm. These consist of passages from the Koran,