A long time ago, before the invention of heaters or radiators, Iranians used a special furniture called Korsi. For the new generation, it is a big reminder of warm, cozy, homey nights at grandma’s house and brings a big smile to their faces.
Korsi is a 50-centimeter high-legged table with a heater underneath (either by coals or electrical heater), decorated with thick blankets overhanging on all sides to keep its occupants warm. A special woven rug called ru korsi (cloths for Korsi) is usually placed over any blankets to protect them from food stains.
In cold winters, family members sat on large cushions around it and put down their feet under blankets. From a medical point of view, it is also beneficial for anemia. Lying the feet beneath the Korsi improves blood circulation, and also, by getting the feet warm, the temperature goes to the upper part of the body and makes a man feel warm as well.
Korsi is not just a piece of furniture for Iranians. It plays a big role in Iranian culture as well. It was a big driving force for family gatherings and a fun time when there was no TV or social media. Family members spent good quality time together, and siblings helped each other with homework; grandparents told the story of themselves to the kids, and at night, all family members slept all together around it. For Iranians, it is a birthplace of love and solidarity within the family to overcome winter’s cold, long, dark nights. Korsi and the pleasant warm time also intertwine with national festivals like Yalda night and Iranian New Year.
Korsi, Kotatsu, Brasero
Comparing this kind of heating system in Iranian culture with other cultures reveals to us that similar devices are also utilized in different corners of the world. Japanese kotatsu, Spanish Brasero, Afghan Sandali, Dutch foot stove, Portuguese mesa Camilla, Chinese Kang bed-stove, and Korean Ondlos are based on the fact that heating the feet is helpful not only to health but also to the soul.