Bisht (clothing)

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For the Indian title of nobility, see Bisht.
HM King Faisal of Saudi Arabia shakes hands with former President Richard Nixon of the United States while wearing a black bisht, in 1974.

A bisht (Arabic: بِشت, Persian: پُشت) is a traditional Arabic men’s cloak popular in Arabia and some Arab countries. The source of cloak/Pusht is Persian, as the style on materials used in this type of clothing could only be found in Persia. It is essentially a flowing outer cloak made of wool, worn over the thobe. Unlike the thobe, the bisht is soft, and it is usually black, brown, beige, cream or grey in colour. As winters are warm in this region, the bisht is usually only worn for prestige on special occasions such as weddings, or festivals such as Eid, or for Friday prayer. In Iraq it is worn by tribal chiefs. The bisht is also worn by East African nobility, including tribal chiefs, kings, and imams, over a kanzu or tunic.

Etymology[edit]

As the name implies, the origin of the name Bisht is purely Persian. The meaning of Bisht is originally derived from Pusht (Persian: پُشت). In Persian, Pusht simply means "Behind", a cloak is clothing to be worn from behind. The type of men-wear is imported from Persia over the time by Persian/Iranian people visiting and trading between Persia and the Arabia Peninsula.

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