Bisht

Syria - United States

Bisht

Syria, unknown date

Logan Museum of Anthropology

The bisht (بشت) is a traditional cloak worn by Saudi Arabian men on special occasions (weddings, festivals, graduations, and Eid) and represents status within the community. This traditional apparel is usually both created by and worn by men. 

These robes carry significance in their connection to both the wearer’s home location and cultural background, and are often custom-made to individuals. The migration of wearable personal objects, such as a Bisht, may portray a desire to sustain a physical connection to their homeland and heritage.

“Bisht” is derived from the Persian word for “back,” as the robe goes on your back. It is generally made of black, brown, beige, cream or grey wool. The focus is meant to be on the fancy embroidered edging. 

This robe in particular comes from Syria which, beginning in 2011, has endured a civil war resulting in around 5 million Syrian displaced refugees. Yet despite this obvious need for global resettlement and refugee support, between 2011 and 2016, only around 18,000 Syrian refugees have been resettled in the United States. Not many more have been admitted since the spike in 2016 and new immigration restrictions from Trump’s presidency.

By Helen Griffin, Sarah Grissom, and Onix Roige-Diez

Student Objects