The Basseri of Iran
Introduction to Culture Anthropology
Feb 13, 2011
The Basseri of Iran
The Basseri culture is one of the traditional Pastoral nomads who inhabit in Iran. The Basseri speak dialect of Faris. But the majority knows only the Basseri dialect, but there few that speak Turkish or Arabic. In these research paper I will be writing a little of the aspects that identify the Pastoralism. I will also be writing about the Basseri culture and the many aspects that identify their economy, social organization and religion. Pastoralism is an economy based on herding. They mainly maintain herds of animals and use their products to support themselves. They also exchange their products to other neighborhood tribes. Pastoralists are generally nomadic and they usually follow their herds in search of food and water. The Basseri is one of a prime example of a pastoral tribe and are a tribe that is tent dwelling living in South of Iran. They raise sheep and goats, camels and donkeys are only used for draft work. Horses are used by headmen and only the ones that are wealthier. Essential Pasture is very important and a big part of the Pastoral economy of the Basseri culture. Their flock cannot survive a year without pasture. Therefore, they have to migrate to other plains to seek for good pastures for their herds. In the winter snow covers the mountains in the North leaving poor pastures. In early March in the far South, the pasture progressively dies out. Good pastures are available during the summer in areas above 6,000 feet, but grass dries up later in the summer. All of the major tribes have traditionally traveled in their seasonal migrations. The tribes have a scheduled of pasture occupations in different locations, which is a combination of schedule and routs that are constituted by their Il-rah. An Il-rah is regarded by the tribesmen as the property of the tribe. The implicit within the concept of Il-rah is the rights to pass roads and over uncultivated lands, they can also draw water from everywhere except private wells, and to pasture flock only outside cultivated fields. These rights are recognized by the local population and authority. Although the Basseri culture keeps a variety of domesticated animals, sheep and goats they have the greatest economic importance. Donkeys as I mentioned before are used for draft work and also for transporting mainly women and children. The horses are only for the headmen and camels are used to transport their products. The dogs are used for guard so that they can guard their camps. Sheep and goats provide milk, meat and wool, these products are consumed immediately. The wool is used for clothing and quilts to cover them during the winter. The primary social unit in the Basseri society is a group of people who share tents. Each tent is occupied by a family group which is represented by a male head. A woman may only be regarded as head if she is a widow and there are no males present, but even in that case, the woman may have a male relative represent her. These tents are units of production and consumption, the tents also hold rights over all movable property over flock, as they can act as independent units of political purpose. For most efficient herding purposes these households combine in small herding units, the composition in which depends on expediency rather than kinship or other basic principals of organization. Since a tent is the basic unit of the Basseri household. Women and men have equal rights they both share the responsibility of making descision that will greatly affect the family in the domestic domain. Labor is also divided among household members by sex and age, but few tasks are allowed to only one sex or one age. Domestic tasks are mainly done by woman and girls. They prepare food, wash and mend cloth, and do spinning and weaving. The men and boys provide the...