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15 real photos of the Iranian Shah and his harem, in which there were almost 100 women
15 real photos of the Iranian Shah and his harem, in which there were almost 100 women
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Nasser al-Din Shah Qajar and his beloved wife Anis al-Doleh

The other day, the world spread the news: the leader of the DPRK Kim Jong-un revived the tradition of his grandfather and father and started his own harem "Garden of Pleasures". The harem seems to the European a sort of abode of young and beautiful women from the Arabian fairy tales "1000 and One Nights". Meanwhile, curious photos of the harem of Nasser al-Din Shah Qajar, who ruled Iran at the end of the 19th century, destroy the prevailing stereotypes. In our review, you can see the beauties of the harem of the Iranian ruler with your own eyes.

Nasser al-Din Shah Qajar - the fourth shah of Iran, gained power in 1848 and ruled for 47 years. His reign was the longest in Iran's 3000-year history.

Nasser ad-Din Shah Qajar is the happy owner of the harem

Historians tell about Nasser al-Din Shah Qajar that for his time he was well educated and was known as a sybarite, so much so that he subsequently caused discontent among his entourage.

Ad-Din Shah Qajar and photographer Sevryugin before the photo shoot

One of Shah Qajar's many passions was photography. He liked taking pictures as a child, and when he came to power, he decided to create the first official photo studio in his palace. In the 1870s, Russian photographer Anton Sevryugin opened his atelier in Tehran, who became the court photographer of the Iranian ruler. Sevryugin created a photo chronicle of Iran and was awarded an honorary title for his services.

The main entrance to the Gulistan Palace

A Russian photographer could take pictures of the Shah himself, his male relatives, courtiers and servants. And behind him, Qajar, an ardent admirer of the photo, left the right to shoot his harem, in which he had, according to historians, about 100 concubines.

Fullness is the main criterion for beauty

It is known that the photographs of Nasser al-Din Shah printed himself in the palace laboratory and kept in satin albums in his Golestan palace, where the museum is currently located.

The incomparable Anis al-Doleh is the beloved wife of the Shah (right)

The extraordinaryness of the photographs of his concubines lies in the fact that according to Shiite laws at that time it was impermissible to photograph the faces of people, and even more so the faces of women. And only the most powerful man in the country could afford to break the law.

Anis al-Doleh or Soul Friend of the State

Looking at the photos of the ladies from the harem, you understand that they look quite modern for their time. Women are confident in front of the camera, calm, not shy and not flirtatious.

The incomparable Anis al-Doleh (sitting)

Photos of women challenge the generally accepted idea of ​​life in a harem - the Shah's wives look quite modern for that time and confident in themselves, they calmly look into the camera lens, not flirting or shy.

Nasser ad-Din Shah Qajar with some women from the harem

It can even be assumed that the wives in the harem had friendly relations - some photographs show groups at a picnic.

Picnic harem The inhabitants of the harem did not suffer from thinness

From the photographs, one can judge the tastes of the Iranian monarch - all women are in bodies, with fused thick eyebrows and well-visible antennae. It is clearly seen that the women did not suffer from hunger and were not burdened with physical work. Experts say that there are even nude photos in Golestan's collection, but they are safely hidden.

Young concubine with a hookah

In many photos, the harem's concubines are depicted in short fluffy skirts like ballet tutus (shalitech). And this is no coincidence.

Ladies from the harem in ballet tutus Ladies from the harem in ballet tutus

It is known that in 1873 Nasser ed-Din Shah, at the invitation of Alexander II, visited St. Petersburg and attended the ballet. According to legend, he was so fascinated by Russian dancers that he introduced naughty ones for his women. True, the concubines could refuse Muslim headscarves only in front of the camera. However, it is possible that this is only a legend.

Ladies from the harem in ballet tutus

Specialist comments

The selection of photos was commented by a senior researcher at the Center for Arab and Islamic Studies of the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Candidate of Historical Sciences, Boris Vasilievich Dolgov:«».

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