peran (Dress)

About this object

History of use

The use of embroidered silk textile in the construction of this piece, and the extremely long, full sleeves, suggest that this dress was worn on special occasions. Dresses of similar style, made of cotton, are worn for daily activities (e.g., see object 1201/1).

Narrative

Collected by Allice Legat in Afghanistan in 1977, while she was doing field work there.

Iconographic meaning

The embroidered disks that are sewn onto the front of the dress are thought to bring good fortune.

Physical description

Woman’s dress with multicoloured embroidered bodice front, very long wide sleeves, and very full, closely gathered, bright pink, embroidered skirt. The bodice front is embellished with a densely embroidered panel of floral forms and tree of life motifs in (predominantly) orange and dark red in chain stitch on maroon ground; appliquéd over the embroidery are four large, thick felt discs embellished with silver thread embroidery on red and multicoloured ground; two disks are located at the center front and two are over the breasts. The bodice back is made from deep pink and white striped textile, pieced with solid colour cotton textiles, and is trimmed with small, simple disks made of blue felt. The front neck opening is trimmed with silver braid; there is a button and loop made of twisted fibre at the center back neckline. The skirt front is densely gathered onto the bodice and is constructed from bright pink silk textile which is embroidered over-all with brightly coloured motifs, arranged in horizontal rows. The back of the skirt is pieced from panels of black, pink and white printed cotton textile and an embroidered pink silk textile that is almost identical to that used on the skirt front. The sleeves are also made from pink embroidered textile (but the right sleeve is pieced with a panel of plain pink), and the cuffs are made from wide bands of silver ribbon. Each cuff is trimmed with a felt disk which is embellished with silver thread embroidery.