Stunning slender beauties who seductively play and fulfill every wish of their master? If you have this vision of an Eastern harem, you are sorely mistaken ... at least when it comes to the harems of Persia!
Nasir al-Din Shah Qajar called his own people a "footman in the service of infidels" because he bought technical products from the British and Russians and allowed them to open factories, refineries and mines throughout Persia by accepting bribes. Despite being unpopular, he was one of the longest-serving rulers in Persian history and the longest in his dynasty. He was the Persian shah of the Qajar dynasty from 1847 to 1896.
He is remembered as a man who modernized Pesia in many spheres, and privately as a great lover of art, especially poetry, which he himself wrote and painting, which he also engaged in. He kept pace with world trends, so today he is considered the first Iranian to be photographed and one of the first to photograph himself.
It was the chess photos that became available to the public a few years ago that caused a real world craze.
Why? Because thanks to them, the women from the Shah's harem were seen for the first time, the way they really looked, and not the way the West imagined them (and still imagines them).
All but slender beauties
Foreign envoys, photographers and artists could often be seen at the chess court. One of them, Russian photographer Anton Sevryugin, immortalized the Persian ruler, his sons and grandsons. However, only chess had access to the harem, so it was he who photographed his wives and concubines.
Most often, the Shah recorded his first and favorite wife, Anis al-Doleh, whom he called his soulmate. He adored her and trusted her the most. He allegedly also confided state secrets to her, and she was also the manager’s harem.
He photographed chess and his wives. There were 84 of them in his harem! They were not slender and fragile women with long, flowing hair. The Shah's wives were short and, to put it mildly, pleasantly filled. Their heads and necks were covered with a richly decorated scarf, their main trump cards were joined eyebrows and a dark, very pronounced mustache. At first glance, it seems like it’s about men in women’s dresses!
Yet the criteria of beauty at the time were such, especially in the high class. The stronger and fatter the woman, the more beautiful she was, and this was especially true of the women in the harem. They ate the best food and were not allowed to move too often.
The look, which included that the woman was strong and hairy, attracted the chess, and all the women in the harem looked like that. And not only that! After seeing ballet for the first time in Russia during a visit to Tsar Alexander II Romanov in 1873, the chess liked the "tutu skirts" worn by ballerinas so much that when he returned to the country he ordered tailors to sew them for his wives as well.
Thus was created a whole series of photographs of women from the harem who instead of traditional baggy pants and dresses wear short skirts that reveal their knees.
It is rumored that the chess player also took nude photos of his wives, but, if they were found, they have not been shown to the public so far.
White socks fall into my eyes.