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Around 1990, Iraqi archaeologists found three very rich tombs, dating to about 750-700 BC, under the floors of rooms in Ashurnasirpal's harem. One contained this extraordinary gold crown: it has a trellis vine on top, with bunches of lapis-lazuli grapes hanging below it, supported by four-winged robed figures, standing on rows of pomegranates and rosettes.

When the Assyrian empire fell, in 612 BC, its great cities were comprehensively looted. This crown provides some evidence for the exquisite workmanship and vanished riches of the empire.

 The crowns worn on special occasions by the Assyrian women in the highlands north of Mosul, before world war one, are in many ways similar to the Golden crown found among the ancient Assyrian jewelries. The mountain crowns have various design elements but in form and function are related to the above ancient predecessor. the crown worn by the woman on the right has a moon crescent shaped symbol on its top which attests to its pre-christian origin.

(AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

These traditional Costumes are replicas of what men and women of an Assyrian tribe wore when they lived in the mountains north of Mosul. During World War One the community was massacred by the combined forces of Trukey's regular army and the Kurds. Only those who managed to flee out of the region survived. wm warda


women jewelry

 Brigadier-Gen. H. H. Austin the English officer commanding the Bakuba Refugee camp in Iraq where Assyrians were settled between 1918 to 1920 describes the head ornaments which some Assyrian women wore during the weddings as follows: "circlets of silver, sequins [were] falling, all around their heads from the head-dresses to which they were attached."

 Some women wore gowns of vlvet in blue, green, yellow, purple, brown and other colors, with huge silver belt round their waist and handsome necklaces of silver and gold coins, or other ornaments hanging round their neck. H. H. Austin



west Assyrians
More colorful, similar costumes worn by the West Assyrians; members of the Syrian
Orthodox Church in (northeast syria or the khabour area)

 The picture above was drawn by Henry Layard in 1845. It shows an example of the Nestorian Assyrian men who worked for him during his archaeological digging. It also shows what their women wore.

Note the similarity of the workers' hats with the helmets the Assyrian soldier wore as shown on an ancien relief on the right. One has to take into account the 2500 years of time between the two pictures and that metal can be molded in perfect shape but felt which the workers hats were made up can not.

None of their neighbors, Kurds, Arabs, Turks, or Persians wore such hat.

The colors of the clothing were generated with computer and are not the original hues of the attires.


The Assyrians were somewhat more elaborate in their dress than the Egyptians. Their kings, at least, wore long tunics, small shawl draperies fastened to girdles, and many dangling tassels. The ancient Assyrian head-dress, the fez, or tarbush, has persisted to the present day. Wool was used as well as linen, and furs in hunting costume. There was more embroidery than in Egypt. An illustration in a recent costume book of the tunic of King Assur-bani-pal, seventh century B. C., richly embroidered and fringed, is a model for a modern tunic.

A royalty Costume from a relief in the British Museum.



Artist rendering of an Assyrian king from details of the ancient reliefs and statues.

The bracelets worn by the ancient Assyrians were a symbol of status similar to the status of wearing luxury watches in some parts of the world today. The more jeweled and ornate the ladies watches are the higher people perceive the person's social status to be. That was also true of the bracelets worn by the ancient Assyrians.

ladies watches


Saber dance in Syria during a group wedding on the Assyrian New Year 6752 April 2002

About the national dress worn by the Tiyari men in the Bakuba camp Brigadier-Gen Austin wrote; "Fine upstanding fellows they are, ...their legs, encased in long loose baggy trousers of a greyish hue originally, but so patched all over with bits of blue, red, green and other colors that their pants are veritable patch work. A broad cloth, "Kammar band," or waist band, is folded several times round the trunk of the body, and a short cut-away jacket of amazing colors, worn over a thin cotton variegated shirt. The head-dress consists of conical felt cap as depicted in frescoes of Assyrians of thousands of years ago, and which has survived to this day." (Brigadier-Gen. H.H. Austin, "The Baqubah Refugee Camp", The Faith Press, london 1920.)

 The highland Assyrians isolated from the rest of the world were relatively poor but their clothing was richly ornate as that of the ancient Assyrians with unique designs which can only be attributed to a distant tradition. Although the clothing style changed the embroidery remained similar. Compare the left sleeve of the king with that of the dancer on the left , and the vertical needlework on the panths with that of the Tunic.

According to Olmtead the name Tiyari is a variation of the ancient "Autiyara". An inscription by the Persian King Dariush (521-486) states that his forces defeated one of his enemies in the Assyrian district of "Autiyara" which is the Christian Assyrian "Tiyari" in the mountains a short distance form Nineveh where until world war one lived Assyrians known as "Tiyaraye " meaning the people of Tiyari. (Olmstead, History of the Persian Empire, University of Chicago Press, 1970, p. 114)

See Also: Assyrian costumes




Another element of the mountain Assyrians clothing common with the ancient attire is the wide cloth band worn by men at the waist and the narrower leather belt over it to hold the dagger in place.











Rituals described by Surma D'bait-mar Shimoun about the manner by which Assyrians of the highland cared for their dead relatives resemble what Olmsted wrote about how the ancient Assyrian cared for theirs.

Surma wrote: "In some districts-as in Tkhuma for instance - food is also placed on the graves and in this valley the graves are often made with a little niche in the side of them both for this purpose and for the putting of the light."  (S urma D 'beit-mar Shimoun, "Assyrian Church Customs and the Murder of Mar Shimoun", Mar Shimoun Memorial Fund 1983 p.40)

About the burial customs of the ancient Assyrians Olmsted writes: "always the lamp was left in a niche, and even the smoke can still be seen. A large water jar, a jug, and several dishes formed the remainder of the equipment needed for the after-life..." (A.T. Olsmtead, "History of Assyria" The University of Chicago Press 1968 third edition p.625)

Surma further adds; On the morning of the resurrection day before day light Assyrians in the highland visited the graves of their loved ones and lighted tapers on their resting site. The usual greeting at this time was "light to your departed". (Surma p.40) wm warda


Traditional clothing worn by the women of the Assyrian town of Algush in northern Iraq.

 The embroidered top portion begins at the left shoulder and goes counter clockwise under the right arm and is hooked to the frontal section at the left shoulder. The front and back vertical edges of the cloth meet at the left hand side. Christian symbols are embroidered over the outfit. These are the traditional women dresses of the town of Al-Gush near Nineveh.

Assyrian Newyear
Inhabitants of the town of Algush on parade during the Assyrian New year of Nissan (spring festival)

Additional Assyrian Costumes can be seen at the following link

Assyrian New Year celebration April 2006