Time Period: 1960s

Category: Accessories, shoes

Accession Number: 2004.06.16b

Donor: Norma J. Owens


These Persian shoes, called Giveh, are most commonly found and produced in Kermanshah, Iran. According to the donor file,s they were purchased in the 1960s. They are typically worn by women but men and boys can be seen wearing them in some parts of Iran as well. They are slip on sandals with a small, cork heel and woven upper that forms into a point at the tip of the shoe. The fabric on these specific giveh is turquoise with yellow, red, and black embroidery. The fabric is 5.5 inches (13.97 cm) long. Extending from the fabric are 2 turquoise and yellow tassels attached to braided strands that measure approximately 5 inches (12.7 cm) long; they seem to be long enough to touch the ground when you walk. The inside bottom of the shoe where the foot rests is hard blue plastic with a square and rectangle pattern. The soles seem to be made of a brown leather or animal skin. The shoes measure 9 inches (22.86 cm) long; the heel is 2.5 inches (6.35 cm) tall and 2 inches (5.08 cm) wide. On the bottom of the shoe, there is a pink sticker with the label "Iran Kermanshah SALEH", and above it is some Arabic writing. According to the donor records there is also a 6 or 9 stamped on the sole of the right shoe.


Iran is a very ethnically diverse nation. It was once known as Persia/the Persian Empire; but after the Iranian Revolution in 1979, it became the Islamic Republic of Iran. Iran is a highly urbanized; 70% of its population lives in cities. Agriculture covers 20% of the gross national product and employs about one third of the labor force. The other 80% is made up of oil sales.[1] Kermanshah is one of 31 provinces of Iran and is most commonly associated with the production and wearing of giveh. It is located in the mid-western region right on the highway connecting Baghdad, Iraq with the Iranian Plateau. Its population is around 631,199 people. The climate is pleasant most of the year besides in the winter when it is very cold and rainy. In Kermanshah you will find a lot of markets with very traditional native people. Men tend to wear large turbans and black dungarees, which are the equivalent of overalls. Women wear bright scarves and trousers, but are beginning to dress more urbanely now. Kermanshah was built around the 4th century AD. It was a very peaceful location at this time but because of its location on the road to Baghdad, Iraq it faced a lot of problems including Iraqi missile and bomb attacks during the war. Now, Kermanshah is an important agricultural and industrial center where you can find different types of fruit being grown, carpet weaving, and of course the manufacturing of giveh.

Giveh are a type of Persian shoe called mules. Mules are "a light indoor shoe with only a front section, either flat-soled or high-heeled." [2] Here is an interesting magazine article about Mules and how variations of them are still popular today . The distinct characteristic that makes these specific mules giveh is the cork heel. Giveh are very durable, hand-woven shoes popular in mostly rural areas of Iran. Giveh are made from coarse, cotton cloth and their production dates back many centuries. The shoes are very cool, comfortable, and sturdy which makes them ideal for the warm summer months. They take a long time to make because the creators often have to spend a lot of time decorating the top cloth. Different materials such as cotton or silk are used depending on the social status of the people who are going to wear them. [3] They are primarily produced in home-based workshops and consist of two main parts, the "sole" and the "upper" (the upper is the part that is woven and goes over your foot). Many different hand tools are used for this weaving, and the weaver must lean forward in order to see what they are doing. Working conditions of small industries such as shoe weaving are very poor. Weavers are forced to work long hours without breaks and cannot move around much. In fact, a lot of different musculoskeletal disorders are associated with shoe weaving due to such repetitiveness, unnatural postures, stress, and forceful exertions. Many different studies have been done in areas such as Kermanshah to find out exactly how bad these problems are. In a study done by Dianat and Salimi, various workers were directly observed as well as given questionnaires regarding their working conditions. According to these studies 77.8% of the population questioned reported some sort of musculoskeletal problems in at least one area. It is inferred that part of the reason these problems are not often brought up is because workers feel pressured to do their work. There are also not a lot of resources in developing countries to help bring better methods of completing these mandatory tasks. [4]

Sandals are very common all over the world and are specifically found among locations in hot, rocky climates because they are sturdy while also allowing ventilation of the feet. Western cultures often trace the origins of sandals from ancient Egyptian tombs about 5100 years ago. [5] In some parts of Iran thick, baggy clothing is worn. In the west, however, the clothing is more suited to keep people cool and protect them from the sun without being too heavy. A group known as the Kurds lives in the western part of Iran. The Kurds are very centered around having their own regional dress and identity; however, there are many different variations of clothing worn. Along with the Kurds are the Abayaneh people. They are located south of Tehran and also have a distinct type of dress. Men and boys in this region wear giveh sandals, which is not usually the case. It is very different than most other parts of Iran where giveh are mainly women's shoes. These types of clothing are worn because they cover the body but still allow the individual to remain cool in the extreme heat. [6]


Leah Abrahamson TMD 224H S15

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Other Images:
  1. ^

    Steven Danver, Native Peoples of the World: An Encyclopedia of Groups, Cultures, and Contemporary Issues (New York: Sharp Reference, 2013). 626-627.
  2. ^

    Valerie Cumming, C.W. Cunnington and P.E. Cunningon, The Dictionary of Fashion History (New York: Berg, 2010). 431.
  3. ^ Iran Traveling Center. "Kermanshah." Last modified July 26, 2014.
  4. ^ Iman Dianat & Arezou Salimi, Ergonomics: Working conditions of Iranian hand-sewn shoe workers and associations with musculoskeletal symptoms (London: Taylor & Francis, 2014). Accessed online on March 7, 2015 from the University of Rhode Island.
  5. ^

    Valerie Steele, Encyclopedia of Clothing and Fashion Volume 3 (MI: Scribner Library Daily Life, 2005).135-136.
  6. ^

    Jill Condra, Encyclopedia of National Dress: Traditional Clothing Around the World Volume 1 (California: ABC-CLIO, LLC, 2013). 345.