Afsaneh Haddadian at the Women's Exhibit Table

The Ancient Iran Day exhibit highlights the complexity of women's lives in Ancient Iran. While some texts show property rights and political power, others explore purity laws, suspicions of witchcraft, and social expectations. Although the actual lives of most Ancient Iranian women, their thoughts, ambitions, habits, and frustrations, are mostly invisible, the texts below give a good sampling of the available material.


As an additional touch, we also added hairstyling, based on depictions in Sasanian art. Volunteer Sima Abbaszadeh, a professional stylist, recreated the hairstyles (the link to the hairstyle images can be found here). Several visitors and volunteers of all ages took advantage of the opportunity to refashion their hair for a day.

The hairstyling exhibit made a small part of Ancient Iranian social life tangible in an accessible and enjoyable way. But it also provided an opportunity to think about hair as a means of personal and social expression. . . as well as an imaginative connection to the women of Ancient Iran and the way they shaped their appearance centuries ago.

Right: Professional stylist Sima Abbaszadeh recreates a hairtyle on volunteer Arwa Mokdad based on ancient Sasanian depictions