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Until the 1920s Falak (bastinado) was the dominant form of public punishment and torture in Iran. Bastinado was used to punish children, servants, criminals, dissidents, and even the members of the elite and the government officials.

In the Iranian style of bastinado the soles of the feet were beaten with a cane. Although bastinado is extremely painful, it leaves few physical marks.

Bastinado in Persian (1864-1874). Watercolor over pencil by William Henry Pierson

Bastinado in Persian (1864-1874). Watercolor over pencil by William Henry Pierson

Bastinado in Persia, The Illustrated London News (1872)

Bastinado in Persia, The Illustrated London News (1872)

Bastinado in Persia, The Illustrated London News (1896)

Bastinado in Persia, The Illustrated London News (1896)

Bastinado (Postcard)

Bastinado (Postcard)

Bastinado (Falak)

Bastinado (Falak)

Falak whipping of a criminal. Photo by Antoin Sevruguin

Falak whipping of a criminal. Photo by Antoin Sevruguin

Falak whipping in Persia. Postcard, Early 20th Century.

Falak whipping in Persia. Postcard, Early 20th Century.

Bastinado, from “About Persia and its people”(1899) by Joseph Knanishu

Bastinado, from “About Persia and its people”(1899) by Joseph Knanishu

Falak whipping of a student. Photo by Antoin Sevruguin

Falak whipping of a student. Photo by Antoin Sevruguin

Falak whipping of a student

Falak whipping of a student

This post is also available in: Persian

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