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  • What is a bisht? Messi’s World Cup cloak sparks questions online

What is a bisht? Messi’s World Cup cloak sparks questions online

Argentine football legend Lionel Messi wore a bisht. (AFP)
Argentine football legend Lionel Messi wore a bisht. (AFP)
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19 Dec 2022 08:12:53 GMT9
19 Dec 2022 08:12:53 GMT9
  • The bisht has been the choice of formal wear for high-profile officials for centuries
  • The garment is usually stitched with pure gold thread and is worn on special occasions

Arab News

DUBAI: Fans across the world watched Argentine football legend Lionel Messi lift the FIFA World Cup trophy on Sunday night while wearing a traditional Gulf bisht.

The cloak drew praise from far-flung corners of the internet, but for those who failed to understand the significance of this revered garment here is a breakdown of why it is seen as a mark of respect in the Gulf and beyond.  

A bisht is only worn on special occasions, such as a wedding, but royal family members are commonly seen wearing the garment while attending formal functions.

The bisht has been the choice of formal wear for politicians, religious scholars and high-ranking individuals in Arabian Gulf countries, Iraq and countries north of Saudi Arabia for centuries, with the traditional flowing cloak acting as a distinguishing garment for those who wear it. It is often regarded as sign of prestige or high status and this is why the art of bisht tailoring is a skill handed down from generation to generation.

The garment is commonly made from wool, with the most expensive variants using camel or lama hair or goat wool.

Embroidery is found on the sleeves and collar and is made using pure gold and silver stitchwork.

Prices can range up to $9000.

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