Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Caftan, Part III

*random cussing and pulling of hair*

I am officially changing this caftan's working title from "The Green Striped Caftan" to "Beelzebub's Caftan." I swear this has been the most irritating project I have ever undertaken. The whole thing is currently sitting in pieces in a box next to me, waiting to be completely resewn! After staring at it for another two weeks and thinking there was just something I didn't like about it, I decided it was the sleeves.

Thanks to a book I checked out from the library, Suleyman the Magnificent and the Ottoman Empire by Miriam Greenblatt, I am in love with the idea of a sleeveless caftan. In the book there is a miniature of Roxelana in the harem with six musicians, two dancers (presumably female), two acrobats and the Chief Black Eunuch. In the picture, Roxelana is wearing a green, sleeveless caftan with brown trim over a pink entari.

(Click to view a larger version)

You can clearly see Roxelana seated under the canopy in the center and you can see the caftan in question. My only issue with the picture is that a couple of the women appear to be wearing turban-like headdresses, something I have always been told is inaccurate. While it is entirely likely that this miniature was painted by someone who had never been in the harem, I don't know why they would have painted a woman wearing a turban if that was not a practice of the time.

I have posted these questions and a few others to the SCA_Turkish_Personas_Moderated list in the hopes that someone will have more information about the picture. I will update this post when/if I get any replies.

In the meantime, I guess I'll work on putting the darned thing back together... Or maybe it would be more constructive to work on that entari... I hate SCA-ADD...

EDIT: I received two replies to my post about the picture, but I didn't care for either of the answers. lol

Both Asim and Urtatim placed the picture in the 17th century or later, thus ruling out everything I mentioned. Asim drew my attention to the U-shaped necklines on some of the women, which I can't believe I overlooked! That alone should have told me the picture was out of period, but I guess I was just so excited about the caftan that I ignored them. For those who don't know, what I am calling a U-shaped neckline is not the actual shape of the neckline. It is a normal V-neck that is left unbuttoned to under the bust. The jacket is so tight that it makes a "U" shape. This is where the idea of the underbust neckline comes from with the ghawazee coats. Definitely out of period.

Both replies corrected my sleeveless claim, instead pointing out the possibility of capped sleeves. Since I have not yet seen capped sleeves on extant garments, I'm going to stick with the sleeveless idea for now. If I decide to add cap sleeves later, I will just add them to the coat as-is. I think a sleeveless caftan is necessary in the Ansteorran summers and why make a beautiful entari if I can't show of at least a bit of it?! I still plan on doing faux sleeves for the winter.

Asim says that the dancers are female and Urtatim says they might be male. But I was under the impression that "attached" males were not allowed to even look upon the harem women? Perhaps that is a part of the fantasy I have taken from books. Urtatim also says that the acrobats are probably dwarves and male.

This has taught me that I have a very long way to go in recognizing period miniatures. It's a good thing I always ask for opinions before proceeding, even though I feel like a heel doing so because I don't want people thinking I'm riding their coattails into an A&S competition. For the record, I'm nowhere near entering garb into A&S and when I am I will be basing it off of miniatures that I knew to be period previously.

I have spent this week slowly putting it back together. I expect it to be finished by this Saturday, sans buttons/frogging. My frogging tests haven't turned out like I wanted, so I will continue experimenting until I get it right. My caftan will be fine without buttons for now.


Ayrlyn said...

I think there is a different between a turban and a head wrap. I think the women have a way of wrapping their heads. As well, it might be specific to the harem. Many of the court pictures do not show these.

These are just my ideas however. Feel free to ignore :)

Urtatim al-Qurtubiyya said...

I was going to say something along the lines of Ayrlyn. There's a very big difference between a turban, which has an official way to wrap, defined by law, and a head wrap, which is defined by fashion.

Headwraps are common in many cultures, often on both men and women. Turbans, on the other hand, are generally limited to the ruling class and to religious leaders.

Urtatim al-Qurtubiyya said...

I meant to say:
ruling class males

Turbans are a mark of status for men.