Naser al-Din Shah's slide

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File:An Early Painting of Fath Ali Shah.jpg
Fat′h-Ali Shah, creator of the marble slide, who is supposed to have felt the need to use it every day

Naser al-Din Shah's slide is a structure in the form of a playground slide which was used by Persian kings of the Qajar dynasty as a sex device in their harem.Template:Fact It became an emblem of the sensuality of the Shah's court.Template:Fact

Some of the slides were still in existence at the end of the Qajar dynasty, when Rezā Shāh destroyed them after overthrowing the last Qajar Shah in 1925.Template:Fact


According to John H. Waller the story has it that the first marble slide was made for a pleasure garden in the harem of Fat′h-Ali Shah Qajar in the Negaristan Palace.

Beyond range of the artists' canvases were even jollier scenes; Fath Ali Shah, it was said, happily whiled away the hours as, one by one, naked harem beauties swooped down a slide, especially made for the sport, into the arms of their lord and master before being playfully dunked in a pool.<ref>John H. Waller, Beyond the Khyber Pass: the road to British disaster in the First Afghan War, Random House, 1990, p. 59.</ref>

The slide was described by Edward Granville Brown in his account of the palace,

a beautiful marble bath [is] furnished with a long smooth glissoire, called by the Persians sursurak ("the slide"), which descends from above to the very edge of the bath. Down this slope the numerous ladies of Fath-'Ali Shah's harem used to slide into the arms of their lord, who was waiting below to receive them.<ref>Edward Granville Brown, A Year Among the Persians: Impressions as to the Life, Character, & Thought of the People of Persia, Received During Twelve Months' Residence in that Country in the Years 1887-1888, CUP Archive, 1926, p.105.</ref>

Fat′h-Ali Shah, who had about 1000 concubines, allegedly built several in different parts of Iran.Template:Fact It was said that the Shah lay on his back awaiting each concubine: "Fath'ali did so every day naked so that his wives would slide down naked over him."<ref name = "erv">Ervand Abrahamian, A History of Modern Iran, South Asia Bulletin, Volume 28, Issue 2, South Asia Association, University of California, Los Angeles, 2008.</ref>Template:Disputed-inline

Referring to the story, the Iranian linguist Ali-Akbar Dehkhoda once joked that if he stopped writing he would feel ill because "as the Persian expression has it 'stopping a habit results in sickness'," adding that "he would have taken ill just as Fath'ali Shah would have done if every day he did not lie with his back down beneath the slide in the Negaristan Palace."<ref name = "erv"/>

Association with Naser al-Din Shah

File:Naser al-Din Shah1.jpg
Naser al-Din, the Shah who is most popularly associated with the slideTemplate:Fact

There is no evidence that they were used by other kings of this dynasty. Nonetheless, this type of slide has come to be known as "Naser al-Din Shah's slide"Template:Fact or the "Naserian slide"Template:Fact after Naser al-Din Shah Qajar, Fat′h-Ali Shah's grandson, who had 84 wives. This may be because he reconstructed the Negarestan palace, where the most famous of the slides was located.<ref>Hassan Azad, Posht-e pardeh- haye haramsala, Anzali Publication, Oromiyeh, 2003</ref><ref>Darioush Shahbazi (Iranian historian) website (because of a temporary problem, now accessible form here)</ref>

A somewhat sanitisedTemplate:Fact version of the story is given by Harry De Windt in his 1891 book A Ride to India Across Persia and Baluchistan, who also associates the slide with Naser al-Din Shah. De Wint says that the slide was alabaster and that the Shah invented a sport in which he would "gravely slide into the water followed by his seraglio. The sight must have been a strange one, the costumes on those occassions, to say the least of it, scanty!"<ref>De Windt, Harry, A Ride to India Across Persia and Baluchistan, 1891, p. 36.</ref>

After the Qajar dynasty was overthrown by Rezā Shāh in 1925 any surviving examples of the slide were destroyed to signify the rejection of the alleged decadence of the Qajars and the new values of the Pahlavi dynasty.Template:Fact

In film

Naser al-Din Shah and the slide have been portrayed in film. In Once Upon a Time, Cinema (1992: original Persian title: Nasseroddin Shah Actor-e Cinema‎), Golnar, the feisty heroine of classic Iranian movie Lor Girl (1932) is magically transported to the reign of Naser al-Din Shah, who falls in love with her and forces her to join his harem. She escapes after being sent down the slide. In the animated docudrama Nasseredin Shah and his 84 wives (2011) the king is depicted in animated silhouette receiving an endless line of (fully clothed) wives down the slide, while real decisions about the kingdom are made by others.Template:Fact



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