The Yellow Badge of Denial


May 24, 2006

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Culture | History

The bizarre, humiliating, and enduring nature of the dress regulations imposed upon the Zoroastrian community of central Iran (Yezd) were captured in this eyewitness account by Napier Malcolm, (Five Years in a Persian Town, New York, 1905, pp. 45-50) published in 1905:

Up to 1898 only brown, grey, and yellow were allowed for the qaba [outer coat] or arkhaluq [under coat] (body garments), but after that all colors were permitted except blue, black, bright red, or green. There was also a prohibition against white stockings, and up to about 1880 the Parsis [Zoroastrians] had to wear a special kind of peculiarly hideous shoe with a broad, turned-up toe. Up to 1885 they had to wear a torn cap. Up to 1880 they had to wear tight knickers, self-colored, instead of trousers.

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