gender knockers

Old Persian domestic doors were able to unveil the gender of the person knocking on them.

By simple means of two different knockers (kūba), the dweller could guess who was standing at the other side of the wall. The one to be used by male visitors produced a heavier sound than the one for female guests. Their shape also was related to correspondent genital forms: flowing curves vs. a simple straight shaft. Dating back to the Qajar and Pahlavi Periods, this system determined who from the household was able to open the door: the man of the family or the housewife.

The function of a door’s threshold is to provide access as well as to keep a dwelling safe. This obsolete piece of Iranian Gender Architecture did not focus on the intentions of the visitor (if he was a friend, a thief, a vendor or a wolf in sheep’s clothing); but rather on safety understood from religious culture, and aiming to avoid mixed encounters.

Thanks, Tan!

[1>By Maziar Barzi, 2010][2>Esfahan male/female knockers,2008 by ozmac46][3>via topleftpixel]

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