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The Qashqa’i are probably the best known minority group in Iran because they are so well known for their bright, colorful traditional attire and style of dancing. The Qashqa’i are a traditionally nomadic group which are actually Turkic in ethnicity and culture and are closely related to Azeri turks. They live primarily in Fars province, in and around the Zagros mountains and down towards the Gulf.
The Qashqa’i are pretty similar to the Persian Loor nomadic group as far as lifestyle and womans dress goes. They both tend to live in the same areas, although the Qashqa’i are not as numerous and wide spread as the Loors are. I can frankly say I have only seen Qashqai’s when I was in Shiraz this past summer, we passed several incampments as we took the “scenic” route through the Zagros. I found it pretty hard to distinquish which villages were Loor and which were Qashqa’i though, although my husbands friend knew the differences and pointed them out to us. I really, really love their outfits and I just think the multi layered wide skirts is so beautiful. Although the bright, splashy outfits are reserved for weddings and parties they wear similar outfits for everyday wear in towns, villages, camps and cities and often their skirts are visible under their equally brightly patterned chadors as they walk around cities and towns.
The womans attire consists of a sheer tulle “veil” or a more conventual scarf, worn with a scarf wrapped arond the forhead, draping down the back. They wear a long tunic with slits up to the hips- which makes sense in the context of their nomadic culture. Their everyday skirts are multi-tiered and often are several layers- like 5-7 skirts worn on top of each other. This is done-so I have heard-for warmth, coverage and comfort and coverage. Their party or dancing gowns are composed of a dozen or more sheer-ish tulle skirts in really bright colors. The tunics are made of satin or silk. The outfit gives them a bottom heavy, billowy look and I can honestly say-from watching Loor women walk in these outfits-I get serious skirt envy because they just swish and glide so beautifully. Of-course I dont know how I would handle 5 skirts but hey, who knows. They do not wear chadors-generally-although in the cities they will often adopt a printed version for wearing out over their traditional attire.
Qashqa’i men too have their own distinctive attire which they have held on too and continue to wear, although, of course some have adopted western attire.
Qashqa’i men are best known for their rimless hats which are made of felted wool. Their traditional attire is generally composed of a long jacket, usually in a heavy brocade or wool, with a wide cloth wrapped around as a cumberbund. They wear baggy shalvar which fit closely at the ankles and billow out.