Women's Worlds in Qajar Iran

Women's Worlds in Qajar Iran

Zahra Sultan ‘Izzat al-Saltanah to Ma‘sumah Nizam Mafi, 1965

Zahra Sultan ‘Izzat al-Saltanah to Ma‘sumah Nizam Mafi, 1965

Zahra Sultan Nizam Mafi (‘Izzat al-Saltanah) writes to her sister, Ma‘sumah Nizam Mafi, in Rome, telling her family news and discussing Ma‘sumah Khanum’s interest in mysticism. She asks if her readings have offered her some understanding of human suffering, and requests that she share any insight she may have acquired. As an example, she tells the story of Salar al-Dawlah’s wife: “When I was nine years old, our father [Nizam al-Saltanah], the governor of Luristan and ‘Arabistan [Khuzistan] at the time, was sent to fight against Salar al-Dawlah, who was claiming the crown. Salar al-Dawlah was defeated in Khurram Abad and fled, leaving behind his wives and children, as well as his property. He then married a Christian wife in Turkey. Some of his silverware, a bejeweled sword, and a Khvajah [servant] were sent to Nizam al-Saltanah. I still own a set of nut bowls from that silverware. Nizam al-Saltanah sent Salar al-Dawlah’s wives and children to Tehran. This wife, Munir al-Dawlah, who was a princess herself, lived with hardship, especially after the Qajar period. She has an illness that has left her bedridden, cannot afford a full time servant, and lives with her son and daughter-in-law. Once in a while, I give her some money on Bahman’s behalf. Look at God’s work, that the price of that silverware and the bejeweled sword now has to go back to her through me. Her sister, who is deceased now, had three deaf-mute children and they are all going through a hard time.”

Item Details

  • Creator Zahra Sultan ʻIzzat al-Saltanah
  • Date 8 February 1965
  • Dimensions 28.5 x 20 cm
  • Collections Mansoureh Ettehadieh -- ‘Izzat al-Saltanah
  • Repository Mansoureh Ettehadieh
  • Restrictions No restrictions
  • Accessed 26 August 2015
  • Last Edited 9 December 2016
  • Record no. 13104A4
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