"Ghondaghs: a Baby Wrapping in Iran

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Posted by R. John Howe on November 30, 1998 at 19:39:40:

Dear folks -

Today I talked about this discussion with a Persian rug dealer friend who grew up in Teheran but traveled the whole country.

He said that babies in Iran are diapered in one or two layers but that then they are laid on their backs and their legs are wrapped rather tightly with a soft cloth called a "ghondagh." This cloth is then bound firmly with woven bands. The reason for this practice is concern that the child's legs be straight as he or she grows. He said that a rug would never be used as a ghondagh. If I heard correctly he also said that the cradles are often wooden (even in tribal areas, although he wouldn't rule out a hammock-like woven piece such as some of us now feel at least some salatchaks were). He also indicated that the wooden cribs sometimes have "potty" holes in the bottom. He said the use of the ghandagh described here is universal in his experince in Iran. Still wouldn't explain why a salatchak that had been used wouldn't have at least some stains but it might explain why a child might not fall out of a hammock arrangement: their movement is pretty well restricted. I thought this conversation interesting enough to share.

John Howe

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