پرده ها : نوشته جوی مدنی : آپادانا آذر ماه 1388
Images of Iran 1970-1974
5 – Curtains
There were some delightful Iranians, with us at Southampton University, who returned to Iran in 1969 before we did. Mahdokht kindly advised me about what I should take to Tehran from England. First on her list was Belgian velvet curtains, because, she said, these would not be easy to find there. I thanked her, but thought to myself the people of Persia have found local materials fit for this purpose and I will do the same.
Nasser had rented a spacious comfortable flat, off Amirabad Shomali. Cousin Amir and Renate had lived there for some years, but at the time we arrived, they were being posted to Esfahan. So we took over the flat from them. Friends, Hashem and Marianne Pessaran, who are now in Cambridge, England, occupied the flat when we left and had many happy years there. This had large windows and a balcony which we shaded by excellent reed blinds. There was therefore no need for heavy curtaining. We bought good quality local calico, had it dyed gold for the living room and left natural for the bedroom.
That was the start of our furnishing plans. Instead of the elaborate gilded tasselled furniture, then in fashion, we had a carpenter, Ostad Mehdi, make simple Scandinavian style dining chairs for us with a matching pine table and desk designed by Nasser. In our main living room he made a horseshoe shaped seat, covered with dark brown linen. In the corners behind the curve of the seat there were large bright orange and yellow lamps to cast a warm glow after dark. Simple gold and ivory geleams graced the floor. The Hall had a large low goldfish bowl lined with turquoise glaze, (it had been a taghar-e-mast). In this we put silver columns, (they were really looleh bokharies) in which we planted spider plants cascading into the water. Initially the bowl also contained a few mahi sefid we were given by friends in Tehran University, but they had an unfortunate habit of leaping from time to time, sometimes landing outside the bowl.
The bowl was moved aside in the winter to make place for a corsi, covered with the family heirloom quilt. The corsi table was also Ostad Mehdi’s work, made for the family decades earlier. The samovar was always going “ghol ghol” on a table nearby. This room was entirely in the conventional Persian style with blankets and cushions for comfort. It was lit by a traditional Esfahan lantern of brass and concertinaed waxed linen. This gave a gentle light resembling a full moon.
As mentioned earlier in Image 3, the intriguing upshot of this plan was to observe that the Iranian guests chose the Western living room and foreigners opted for the Persian Hall.
Now in chilly England we long for a corsi and the comforting sensation of the heat creeping up from toes to head as we sip tea from estakans.