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The Basseri. Kimberly Mahr Period 2. Where it all started…. “The Basseri have always been. We have always been on this land; we were created from its dust.”. The Basseri People. Their population is 16,000 people They are nomadic, pastoral people.

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the basseri

The Basseri

Kimberly Mahr

Period 2

where it all started
Where it all started…
  • “The Basseri have always been. We have always been on this land; we were created from its dust.”
the basseri people
The Basseri People
  • Their population is 16,000 people
  • They are nomadic, pastoral people
location
They are located in southern Iran where the migrate to the east, north and south by mountains and steppes

Territory is diverse from mountains to desert

Mountains get more water causing them to have more vegetation

The south has usable pasture land for the animals

Location
animals
Animals
  • Animals are key to the Basseri
  • Every family has a herd of about 100 animals
  • Sheep and goat provide food and things they need
  • Donkeys serve as pack animals and are ridden by women and children
  • Men ride horses
  • Also sheep and goats provide hide for their homes, weaving, and for making sleeping mats
  • Camels are used to carry items as well
  • Economic survival is placed on animals
wealth
Wealth is shown by the amount of animals are in your herd

As you herd grows so does your wealth, but as this happens their capital value is less; this is because people can’t watch the herds as well so there is theft and carelessness

Also leasing land lead to wealth security along with social status

Wealth
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Milk is a key part of their diet

They mix sheep and goat milk (heat it)

From the milk they take out the curds and make butter or buttermilk—which they sell and they also eat themselves

Food
trade
Trade
  • They trade to get wheat—to make unleavened bread
  • They also receive sugar, tea, fruits and vegetables
  • They trade butter, wool, hides and occasionally animals
tents
Tents
  • Large tents are for longer stay
  • In tents you have nuclear families—father, mother and their children
  • In their camps there are 30 to 40 tents
  • If there is an argument tents are set on opposite sides of village. When the argument ends, the tents will move closer
roles of the family
Women: prepare most of the food, sew and washing clothes

Boy: haul water and wood

Men and Women are also milkers—milk animals

Roles of the Family
lifestyles
Every year the Basseri migrate on a trail called the il-rah (“tribal road”)

They constantly migrate to keep their animals healthy by giving them land to graze in

The average daily trek is about 3 hours

Families with smaller tents and fewer things leave first. The larger tent families leave an hour and a half later. This helps split up the group and they also move at different paces.

Lifestyles
marriage
Marriage
  • Sexual activity is forbidden before marriage. If caught kissing, girls are beaten
  • Most elaborate ceremony: first there is the ritual feasting, then the bathing of the Bride and Groom where they are shaved, bathed and oiled. After the ceremony they go to the Bride’s tent to check her sheets for blood, if there is blood it symbolizes she is not a virgin.
  • Mullah (Holy Man)—performs the marriage ceremonies
  • Upon marriage, the women will stay with her husband’s family in their tent, but this is only temporary. They then make their own nuclear tent—but they must be able to support themselves.
  • When gone a groom’s brother or father will step in—daughter-in-law meaning “my bride”
  • The groom’s father must pay a bride-price or “milk-price”. Some of that money will go for buying rugs, blankets, and cooking utensils.
  • Divorce is rare
kinship ties
Kinship Ties
  • Patrilineal
  • Inheritance is father to son
  • “Anticipatory Inheritance”: when son gets married he receives part of his father’s herd
  • Male bonds strongest respect
  • A women receives no membership rights to her own tribe on her offspring
  • But there is a strong matrikin—bond between Mother and child
  • Women are important economically and socially
chiefs
Chiefs
  • Chief is the head of everyone
  • They are suppose to descend from noble lineage
  • they receive respect and authority from the people
  • They make decisions, settle disputes, organize migration patterns and represent the tribe
  • Gifts are given when the Chief is seen
  • He does not maintain a nomadic lifestyle
  • Headmen are appointed by the Chief and are his representatives
outsiders
Outsiders
  • The Basseri people rarely communicate or come in contact with outsiders
  • Sometimes the Chief would meet with hostile tribes
  • In this occasion decorative tents are put up and large animals hunted
sedentarization
Sedentarization
  • When people go from migrating to settling year-round
  • Some people settle because they have land, wealth and no heirs
  • The main reason people settle is because they are poor. They have either lost their herd or got left behind.
  • Typically, they become agricultural laborers or the make trade goods
religion
Religion
  • Shiah Moslems but they were referred to as “indifferent” and “uninterested”
  • They do not celebrate holidays or pray
  • The only thing the Moslem calendar affects is good luck or misfortune
  • They go more by the Solar Calendar because it is how the migration plan is set
  • They celebrate the seasons
beliefs
Beliefs
  • Beliefs are based good luck and bad luck of their herds
  • The evil eye is envy
  • People get sick or die from being envied
  • Blue eyes are suspicious
  • Children or animals are used to distract when doing things
birth
Birth
  • Usually the first born of each family are celebrated
  • For 3 days and weekly for a month they cut with a razor the nose, neck and chest.
  • They do the to prevent blood from later pollution
  • Boys are circumcised as infants or at the age of 6 or 7
death and burial
Death and Burial
  • For death there is minimal ceremony
  • The family grieves in their tents for a few hours and then the body is taken away
  • The body is washed before it is buried
  • At the burial it is silent
  • Sorrow and love are showed by gifts of sweets every Friday for extended amount of time
  • Graves of important of holy men are showed with respect when passed during migration
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