Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 18

Women’s Dress and Dance of the 16 th Century Ottoman Empire

By Khayra bint Tahir ibn Rashid (aka) Kajira Camber mka Kory Lewis

I am a harem woman, an Ottoman slave. I was conceived in an act of contemptuous rape and born in a sumptuous palace. Hot sand is my father; the Bosphorus, my mother; wisdom, my destiny; ignorance, my doom. I am richly dressed and poorly regarded; I am a slave-owner and a slave. I am anonymous, I am infamous; one thousand and one tales have been written about me. My home is this place where gods are buried and devils breed, the land of holiness, the backyard of hell --Anonymous (Croutier, 1989)

My name is Khayra bint Tahir ibn Rashid. I am an odalisque residing in the Topkapi Palace in Constantinople. Here I am trained in the arts of dancing, singing, music, sewing, and

all things necessary to make me into the perfect wife, if I am so chosen.

aspects of women in Ottoman society that one could write about. From the misunderstanding of the woman’s role in the harem to the controversy regarding what is the true history of the Ottoman Empire as a whole. For the sake of respecting your time, I have decided to restrict my writings to only include information regarding clothing and dance documented for the 16 th century Ottoman female.

There are so many

Careful rules governing the subject, composition, conventions of clothing limit the use of manuscript illustrations as a source accurately documenting fashions in dress. Written accounts are similarly limited, giving little of the detail required to reconstruct the appearance and number of garments in a costume. As European visitors came more frequently to the Ottoman Empire, and the traditions of Ottoman painting, which was a secular art of book illustration recording in meticulous detail the exploits of sultans, court and public festivities, enable the composition and arrangement of costume to be analyzed (Scarce, 2003, pp. 25-26). Some are under the misunderstanding that at no time would a woman ever have appeared in public without her head covered, but non-Muslim ethnic groups in Turkish cities were not subject to the law forbidding women to be unveiled before men other than their immediate relatives. My preferred type of head covering is the turban. There is an inaccurate perception that 16 th century Ottoman women did not wear turbans, and that they only wore a headscarf or veil, but after years of searching and archiving, I have found artwork of people wearing turbans that are identified as women (see pictures on facing and following pages). In addition, the book Women’s Costume of the Near and Middle East stated, “…her hair is dressed to fall smoothly around her face and over her shoulders. Alternatively the hair could be dressed in long braids and swathed with a turban.(Scarce, 2003, p. 123) As for clothing, the piece that is worn closest to the body is the gömlek, which was a chemise, made either of a mixture of cotton and wool or silk gauze. Over the gömlek, an anteri is worn. As we can see in Turkish artwork, there were a wide range of styles for the anteri. Their overall length ranged from mid-thigh to ankle length. The sleeves varied in lengths, including sleeveless, short, elbow length, wrist length, and sometimes the sleeves were so long they were either folded back or pushed up the arm in order to see or use the hands. The neck of the anteri also varied in which it could be a snugly fit round neck, all the way to being a revealing V-neck. “Layering” was a main feature of Ottoman dress. Since the number and type of layers indicated an individual’s social and economic status, Ottoman robes were designed and arranged specifically to reveal the layers underneath. Open necklines and side slits intentionally exposed a robe’s lining and the fine fabric of undergarments. (Freer & Sackler, 2010). Sometimes over the anteri, a yelek is worn.

A yelek is a waistcoat that fits closely to the figure and usually has a row of little buttons close together, starting at the bosom and reaching a little below the waist. They were usually ¾ to full length, although shorter knee length styles were worn. The sleeves were short, wrist or ankle length. Under the gömlek, ankle length trousers, called şalvar, are worn (Scarce, 2003, p. 49). I have been unable to ascertain the hem length of the skirts seen in Ottoman miniatures, but, from the artwork found on the following pages, it appears to be very full, due to the number of pleats the artist portrays. The Ottomans were unusual among Islamic cultures for not treating the sash, or uçkur, as a symbol of martial power and prestige. Several 16 th century

belts in the Topkapi Saray Museum are presumed to be women’s.

mother of pearl plaques, joined by links or mounted on leather. They are elaborately decorated with gold or silver scrollwork, and set with jewels. (Finkelshteyn, 2007). In regards to cosmetics, I found this passage in the book Picturesque Representations of the Dress and Manners of the Turks, in which it is describing A Turkish Woman in the Dress Worn at Constantinople, “…The custom too of drawing a small line above and beneath the eye-lash, adds

They are of ivory, silver or

to the effect (of having brilliant and piercing eyes). They stain the nails both of their fingers and feet of a bright rose colour.” (William, 1814, p. 84). For the fifteenth to seventeenth centuries the (Ottoman) empire could draw on considerable resources in material and manpower to clothe itself in style and elegance (Scarce, 2003, p. 41).

All artwork is 1500-1600, please refer to larger versions found after the bibliography for descriptions, year, and citation

artwork is 1500-1600, please refer to larger versions found after the bibliography for descriptions, year, and
artwork is 1500-1600, please refer to larger versions found after the bibliography for descriptions, year, and
artwork is 1500-1600, please refer to larger versions found after the bibliography for descriptions, year, and
artwork is 1500-1600, please refer to larger versions found after the bibliography for descriptions, year, and
artwork is 1500-1600, please refer to larger versions found after the bibliography for descriptions, year, and
artwork is 1500-1600, please refer to larger versions found after the bibliography for descriptions, year, and
artwork is 1500-1600, please refer to larger versions found after the bibliography for descriptions, year, and
artwork is 1500-1600, please refer to larger versions found after the bibliography for descriptions, year, and
artwork is 1500-1600, please refer to larger versions found after the bibliography for descriptions, year, and
artwork is 1500-1600, please refer to larger versions found after the bibliography for descriptions, year, and
artwork is 1500-1600, please refer to larger versions found after the bibliography for descriptions, year, and
artwork is 1500-1600, please refer to larger versions found after the bibliography for descriptions, year, and
artwork is 1500-1600, please refer to larger versions found after the bibliography for descriptions, year, and
artwork is 1500-1600, please refer to larger versions found after the bibliography for descriptions, year, and
artwork is 1500-1600, please refer to larger versions found after the bibliography for descriptions, year, and

Few things are more difficult to document than that of the clothing styles of the 16 th

century Ottoman female, and one of those things is 16 th century Turkish dance.

is probably one of the oldest surviving dances in creation, and though its purest form may have

been lost, it undoubtedly retains some of its original elements. An abundance of evidence is found in artwork and written descriptions of the dance that have survived, much of it from ancient sources. What is unique about the belly dance is that its movements are focused in the abdomen with the legs and arms being used to enhance the swaying, rotation, shaking, and

undulating movements of the torso and hips.

individual belly dancers, but particular characteristics that vary from country to country, and many countries pride themselves on their own traditions of belly dancing. One style of belly dancing recognized is Turkish. Exhibiting a faster and wilder style, most Turkish dancers are very agile and athletic. They frequently close their performance to music with an irregular beat

called karsilama, one of several musical influences that likely originated with the Gypsies. Despite the fact that different regions have their own style of belly dance, the basic makeup of the dance transcends regional divisions. Dance movements can be classified as isolations or undulations, meaning that either a body part is moved separately (isolation) or that several body parts move in smooth, wavelike motion (undulation). One of the most recognizable movements would be those concentrated on the hips, where up and/or down thrusts are emphasized. In many circles, when the hips thrust or pop up, they are referred to as Turkish, and when they focus on a downward movement, they are labeled Arabic. Hip movements can be circles, twists, pops, or rapid vibrations called shimmies. They can alternate between hips or emphasize one hip exclusively. Undulations can be performed front to back or sided to side and can be figure eights that are traced on a horizontal or vertical plane. (AlZayer, 2004). On the facing page, I have supplied copies of various pieces of artwork depicting Turkish dancers using various props, consisting of handkerchiefs, plates, and wooden castanets, body movements and clothing styles. When a prop is depicted as being used with dancing, castanets

seems to be the favored prop, followed by a pair of handkerchiefs.

the dancers’ arms in a variety of poses: both arms up, both arms to one side of the body; one arm above the head while back arched and the other arm out behind the body; both elbows bent with one arm angled up and one bent down (what is currently recognized as ‘snake arms’). Some of the torso variations can also be seen: body fully bent forward at the hips with arm work below the body; back arched with head lifted to the sky while performing arm work; torso rounded to the side with hips pressed to ones side to allow arm movements on the opposite side. And, likewise, head positions can be identified: looking up; looking down; looking to the side; looking behind the body. Due to the attempted ‘movement’ of the skirts and anteri, one could assume that there was attempt to portray forward motion of the dancer, not simply the movement of arms and torso. This is expressed in the art by having the skirts and clothing portray an appearance of ‘flowing’ to one side of the body, causing the effect of the person moving in the opposite direction. The position of the feet varies just as much as the rest of the body. You can see examples of both feet on the ground, the dancer on their toes, the feet shoulder width apart, flat footed, where one foot is flat and the other is up on the ball of the foot, or where they are doing a cross step. You can find examples of each of these body positions in the artwork on the opposite page.

Belly dancing

There are not only differences in the styles of

In the artwork, you can see

When I initially started researching 16 th century Turkish clothing and dancing, I was already defeated in my search due to being informed that women were not allowed to be painted due to religious beliefs of the Middle East. In my years of reading and collecting bits and pieces of information regarding this subject, I have come to the realization that that statement is false; it is just difficult to find! I recently found an article in a Smithsonian teachers guide titled Arts of the Islamic World, which states, “Contrary to the assumption that the Koran prohibits figural representation, it only warns against the creation and worship of idols to prevent idolatry…In general, figural imagery is excluded from works of art and architecture made in the service of the faith, such as Korans, religious structures, and the furnishings for these spaces. On the other hand, private buildings, objects, and manuscripts created for personal use and enjoyment were frequently embellished with figurative forms.” (Smithsonian Institution, 2002, p. 24) So, as I continue to research this subject and grow in knowledge, so, too, will my documentation. I hope you have enjoyed reading the information as much as I had obtaining and performing it!

--The following pages contain larger copies of the pictures presented on the-- --previous pages for your enjoyment

Bibliography

AlZayer, P. (2004). World of Dance: Middle Eastern Dance. USA: Chelsea House Publishers.

And, M. (1987). Turkish Miniature Painting: The Ottoman Period. Turkey: Dost Publications.

Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution. (2009). Falnama: The Book of Omens. United Kingdom: Thames & Hudson Ltd.

Brescia, S. (n.d.). Retrieved from Kat's Turban:

http://katerina.purplefiles.net/garb/diaries/Kat's%20Turban.htm

Croutier, A. L. (1989). Harem: The World Behind the Veil. New York: Abbeville Press.

Fehervari, G., & Safadi, Y. H. (1981). 1400 Years of Islamic Art: A Descriptive Catalogue. London: Khalili Gallery.

Ferrier, R. (1989). The Arts of Persia. Hong Kong: Kwong Fat Offset Printing Co. Ltd.

Finkelshteyn, N. (2007). The Red Kaganate - Turkish Clothing. Retrieved 2011, from The Red Kagnate:

http://www.redkaganate.org/clothing/ottocloth.shtml

Freer & Sackler. (2010). Style and Status: Imperial Costumes From Ottoman Turkey. Retrieved 06 01, 2010, from The Smithsonian's Museums of Asian Art: http://www.asia.si.edu

Scarce, J. (2003). Women's Costume of the Near and Middle East. Great Britain: Antony Rowe Ltd.

Scott, P. (2001). Turkish Delights. London: Thames & Hudson.

Smithsonian Institution. (2002). Arts of the Islamic World: A Teacher's Guide. United Kingdom: Freer Gallery of Art.

Sweezey, C. (2007). Plate #8c-Fourth to the Sith Centuries. Retrieved 2011, from The History of Costume by Braun & Scheider: http://www.siue.edu/COSTUMES/PLATE8CX.HTML

The British Museum. (2010). eil de divers portraits des principales dames de la Porte du Grand Turc / Comédienne Turque. Retrieved 2011, from The British Museum: http://www.britishmuseum.org

Turkish Culture Foundation. (2010). Retrieved 2010, from Turkish Cultural Foundation:

http://www.turkishculture.org

William, A. (1814). Picturesque Representations of the Dress and Manners of the Turks. London: W. Bulmer and Co.

Octagonal, painted in polychrome under clear glaze: the portrait of a lady holding a bouquet,
Octagonal, painted in polychrome under clear glaze: the portrait of a lady holding a bouquet,

Octagonal, painted in polychrome under clear glaze: the portrait of a lady holding a bouquet, against a background of floral sprays; the whole is framed by bands in brownish-red and cobalt blue.

c. 1600

(Fehervari & Safadi, 1981)

The Harem in Topkapi Palace, from “Codex Vindobonensis,” late 16 th century, Watercolor, Austrian National Library, Vienna

(Croutier, 1989)

Albrecht Durer’s The Turkish Family , engraving 1497/1500 (Scott, 2001) Turkish lady at home. painting

Albrecht Durer’s The Turkish Family, engraving 1497/1500

(Scott, 2001)

The Turkish Family , engraving 1497/1500 (Scott, 2001) Turkish lady at home. painting from a traveller’s

Turkish lady at home.

painting from a traveller’s handbook, Turkey, 1588.

Watercolour

(Scarce, 2003)

Turkish lady in outdoor dress. Watercolour painting from a traveller’s handbook, Turkey, 1588. (Scarce, 2003)
Turkish lady in outdoor dress. Watercolour painting from a traveller’s handbook, Turkey, 1588. (Scarce, 2003)
Turkish lady in outdoor dress. Watercolour painting from a traveller’s handbook, Turkey, 1588. (Scarce, 2003)
Turkish lady in outdoor dress. Watercolour painting from a traveller’s handbook, Turkey, 1588. (Scarce, 2003)
Turkish lady in outdoor dress. Watercolour painting from a traveller’s handbook, Turkey, 1588. (Scarce, 2003)
Turkish lady in outdoor dress. Watercolour painting from a traveller’s handbook, Turkey, 1588. (Scarce, 2003)

Turkish lady in outdoor dress. Watercolour painting from a traveller’s handbook, Turkey, 1588.

(Scarce, 2003)

Habitvs Praecipvorvm Popvlorvm, tam virorvm qvam foeminarum Singulari arte depicti. Trachtenbuch: Darin fast allerley und der für/nembsten Nationen / die heutigs tags be/standt sein/ Kleidungen, / Sic Tvrcae discvmbvnt in solo super stratos tapetes, quando cibum sumunt.

“Turks eating; four male figures and one female figure in Turkish dress seated on a carpet around a large bowl at centre.”

1577

(The British Museum, 2010)

A Princely Couple with Attendants , second quarter of 15th century; Metropolitan Museum of Art

A Princely Couple with Attendants, second quarter of 15th century; Metropolitan Museum of Art Online.

quarter of 15th century; Metropolitan Museum of Art Online. The Queen of Sheba (Bilqis) and the

The Queen of Sheba (Bilqis) and the hoopoe, Solomon's messenger, a drawing. Safavid dynasty, about AD 1590 from Qazvin, Iran. The British Museum Online.

(The British Museum, 2010)

Peter Mundy, A briefe relation of the Turckes, their Kings, Emperors or Grandsigneurs, their conquests,

Peter Mundy, A briefe relation of the Turckes, their Kings, Emperors or Grandsigneurs, their conquests, religion, customes, habbits at Constantinople, etc, Turkey AD c.

1600. The British Museum Online.

(The British Museum, 2010)

customes, habbits at Constantinople, etc , Turkey AD c. 1600. The British Museum Online. (The British
customes, habbits at Constantinople, etc , Turkey AD c. 1600. The British Museum Online. (The British

Dancing Poses

Dancing Poses Palace dancers, from “Codex Vindobonensis,” late 16 th century, Watercolor, Austrian National Library,

Palace dancers, from “Codex Vindobonensis,” late 16 th century, Watercolor, Austrian National Library, Vienna

(Croutier, 1989)

Austrian National Library, Vienna (Croutier, 1989) Nightime in a Palace , attributed to Mir Sayyid ‘Ali,

Nightime in a Palace, attributed to Mir Sayyid ‘Ali, from the Shah Tahmasp’s Quintet of Nizami, c. 1540, Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.

(Ferrier, 1989)

The Imperial procession marching to the festival site (Lokman’s Surname-I Humayun The Imperial Book of

The Imperial procession marching to the festival site (Lokman’s Surname-I Humayun The Imperial Book of Festival dating 1582-83 TSM H. 1344)

(And, 1987)

The display of rope dancers, jesters, dancing boys and stilt dancers with swords (ibid)

1582

(And, 1987)

1344) (And, 1987) The display of rope dancers, jesters, dancing boys and stilt dancers with swords
Eight dancing boys attired in girl’s clothes performing on a raft on the Golden Horn

Eight dancing boys attired in girl’s clothes performing on a raft on the Golden Horn (ibid)

1582

(And, 1987)

on a raft on the Golden Horn (ibid) 1582 (And, 1987) Recueil de divers portraits des

Recueil de divers portraits des principales dames de la Porte du Grand TurcComédienne Turque, “Turkish actress, dancing with some kind of musical instruments in her hands, and wearing headdress with long veil, jacket, see-through skirt and baggy breeches.

(The British Museum, 2010)

c. 1597

(Turkish Culture Foundation, 2010)

c. 1597 (Turkish Culture Foundation, 2010)
c. 1597 (Turkish Culture Foundation, 2010)
c. 1597 (Turkish Culture Foundation, 2010)

Оценить