Persian Royal Clothes

I have been remiss in posting this since it was done almost two years ago but better late than never!

In May of 2018 my friends Antonii and Ciar were invested as Prince and Princess of the Mists, Kingdom of the West, and they asked me to be their clothing coordinator for the reign.  In addition to coordinating a team of artisans in creating their Investiture, Step-Down, and some other items I took on the task of creating their clothes for the Coronet Tournament to select their heirs.

They requested “middle eastern” clothing and we decided to do an Ottoman inspired outfit for him and a Safavid outfit for her.  While often lumped together they are very different peoples and engaged in almost constant warfare over control of the South Caucasus and Mesopotamia for over a century.

The Ottoman Empire was founded by the Oghuz Turkish tribal leader Osman I in 1299 and grew to control much of Southeast Europe, Western Asia, and North Africa between the 14th and early 20th centuries.  The Ottomans ended the Byzantine Empire with the 1453 conquest of Constantinople by Mehmed the Conqueror.  It was an empire controlled by Sunni Muslims, a branch of Islam.  The language of the court and government was Ottoman Turkish, but Persian was also spoken in the northern portions of the empire and Arabic in the southern portions.

The Safavid dynasty was one of the most significant ruling dynasties in the middle east from 1501 to 1736.  The dynasty was of Kurdish origin but during their rule they intermarried with Turkoman, Georgian, Circassian, and Pontic Greek dignitaries.  The Safavids established control over parts of Greater Iran and at their height controlled all of what is now Iran, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Armenia, eastern Georgia, parts of Iraq, Kuwait, and Afghanistan.  While the Safavids were descended from Islam they exchanged their Sunni affiliation for Shi’ism around 1400.  Azerbaijan was the language chiefly used by the Safavid court and military but the official language of the empire was Persian.

My inspiration for having them dressed in clothes of different empires was to show a joining of different peoples, similar to a wedding between factions, to secure an heir for their realm.  I don’t know that anyone got that reference but I liked it.

I used a combination of new and existing fabrics for both of them using the same fabric for different articles of clothing.  For example, his pants are from the same repurposed sari as her inner jame (robe/coat) and her pants are from the same material as his caftan (robe/coat).  All garments are cut with rectangular construction based on extant examples and the robes are fully lined.

This image is a good representation of the rectangular construction of an extant garment from the 13th century.


Ferace attributed to Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi (1207-1273)

I use a slightly different cut for the underarm/side pieces (general representation below) but this is also supported by extant garments.  For these garments the front is split down the center as opposed to a solid piece shown in this drawing.


Here are some images that inspired the Ottoman clothes I made for Antonii.


Accession of Mehmed II, 1451


Bayezid II fighting his son Selim I, 1511



Extant coat of Bayezid II, Ottoman Sultan from 1481-1512

The final outfit consists of the following layers:

  • Kamize (shirt) of white linen
  • Inner Caftan of blue linen
  • Outer Caftan of green cotton printed with gold, lined in green linen
  • Salwar (pants) of yellow and blue printed poly-blend (a reclaimed sari)

The inner caftan is fastened with ½” buttons and cord loops while the outer caftan is fastened with trim and thread covered wooden beads.

I enlisted the help of my friend Ann Taylor (SCA Mistress Drifa in Rutha) to create the trim for outer daftan.  At first look we thought that they were card woven but upon further review and research she determined that they were a multi-strand braid.  You can read more about that on her blog:

In order to accommodate the coronet (and be easier for a novice to wear) I chose to make him a hat from the same material as his outer caftan and attached a stuffed twist of white linen instead of a full turban.

For Ciar I wanted to make the iconic “cloud coat” as seen in these depictions.


Celebration of Nowruz, 1430


Safavid Princess, 1451

The layers for women are essentially the same as for men:

  • Pirahan (shirt) of white linen
  • Inner jame (robe) of yellow and blue printed poly-blend (a reclaimed sari) lined with burgundy linen
  • Outer jame of burgundy cotton printed with gold, lined in burgundy linen, with an appliqued yoke of poly-blend blue brocade
  • Trousers of blue linen
  • Chahar-qad (veil) of white linen with strands of pearls framing the face

As her coronet is similar in shape to many Safavid women’s headdresses I decided to just use a simple linen veil with strands of pearls framing her face to complete the outfit.

As usual, I neglected to take in-progress pictures but here are the final outfits.


Final Ottoman and Safavid clothing

Unfortunately I had a math error somewhere and his inner caftan was too tight to button properly so he wore both caftans open which I have no evidence for in period.

I was honored to have the opportunity to both clothe them myself and to lead others in producing garments for their reign.

Works Cited

Arabian Ornament from the 12th to the 18th Century. Gallery Books, 1991.

Binney, Edwin. Persian and Indian Miniatures, from the Collection of Edwin Binney, 3rd. Exhibited at the Portland Art Museum, September 28 – November 29, 1962. 1962.

Binney, Edwin, et al. Turkish Treasures from the Collection of Edwin Binney, 3rd: an Exhibition at the Portland Art Museum, January 16-February 18, 1979, with Later Showings at Other U.S. Museums. The Museum, 1979. “Encyclopædia Iranica.” RSS,

Gray, Basil. Persian Painting. Bookking International, 1995.

Lowry, Glenn D., and Susan Nemazee. A Jewelers Eye: Islamic Arts of the Book from the Vever Collection. Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, in Association with University of Washington Press, Seattle, 1988.

Lukonin, Vladimir Grigorʹevich., and A. A. Ivanov. Persian Art: Lost Treasures. Mage, 2003.,

Ottoman Turkish Garment Database,

Pāla Pratāpāditya. Islamic Art: the Nasli M. Heeramaneck Collection: Gift of Joan Palevsky. Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1973.

Rogers, J.M, and Nasser D. Khalili. Empire of the Sultans: Ottoman Art from the Khalili Collection. Art Services International, 2000.

Welch, Stuart Cary., and Sheila R. Canby. Wonders of the Age: Masterpieces of Early Safavid Painting, 1501-1576: British Library, London, August 10, 1979 – October 28, 1979: National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., December 16, 1979 – March 2, 1980: Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, Massachusetts, March 20, 1980 – May 18, 1980. Fogg Art Museum, 1979.

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