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Stefan's Florilegium


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Arabs-msg - 4/19/99

Arab culture and dress.

NOTE: See also the files: Moors-msg, cl-Moorish-msg, fd-Turkey-msg,


This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that
I have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some
messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.

This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium.
These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org

I have done a limited amount of editing. Messages having to do with
seperate topics were sometimes split into different files and sometimes
extraneous information was removed. For instance, the message IDs were
removed to save space and remove clutter.

The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I
make no claims as to the accuracy of the information given by the
individual authors.

Please respect the time and efforts of those who have written these
messages. The copyright status of these messages is unclear at this
time. If information is published from these messages, please give
credit to the orignator(s).

Thank you,
Mark S. Harris AKA: Lord Stefan li Rous
RSVE60@email.sps.mot.com stefan@florilegium.org

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca
From: elmunadi@netcom.com (Kevin Munday)
Subject: Re: Arabic Clothing.
Organization: Caid College of Heralds - Enforcement Division
Date: Mon, 3 Jul 1995 02:30:33 GMT

The learned bowman (Cariadoc) states that, in regards to coronets and other
headgear of state, he knows of no examples of their use in the arab world...
(rough paraphrase there...)

Based on the examples at the "Treasures of the Ottoman Sultans" exhibition,
fancy pins and spectacular ornamentation attached to the front of one's turban
may have served in a similar capacity. Likewise gold-washed and jewel encrusted
helmets. The examples in the exhibition weren't labeled as "items of state" or
as marks of rank as such, but (at least in the case of the helmet and one
particular turban ornament that might better have served as a chandelier) they
were worn on state occasions... Most excel
lent trader of gems and stories, whose powers of observation are as legendary as
his ability to maintain a Caidan pilot's license sans wings, what might your
take on the subject be?

El Malim al-haadi abd-al-Malik Husam ibn Khalid - El Munadi Herald, Caid
mka Kevin Munday - onomastic hacker and right-brained swordsman
internet: elmunadi@netcom.com

From: priest@vaxsar.vassar.edu
Newsgroups: rec.org.sca
Subject: Re: Arabic Clothing.
Date: 3 Jul 95 22:09:11 EST
Organization: Vassar College

Greeting from Thora Sharptooth!

Here are a couple sources for some information on Arabic costume in a couple of
specific times and places.

* Clive Rogers, ed. _Early Islamic Textiles._ Brighton, England:
Rogers & Podmore, 1983.

Photos of two tunics, several decorative strips (including
some tiraz), and pieces of extant fabric, most Fatimid
from the period around the 11th century. A brief section on
cotton in the Islamic world.

* "Medieval Garments in the Mediterranean World," pp. 279-315 in _Cloth
and Clothing in Medieval Europe: Essays in Memory of Professor E.M.
Carus-Wilson_, ed N.B. Harte and K.G. Ponting. Pasold Studies in
Textile History, 2. London: Heinemann Educational Books/The
Pasold Research Fund Ltd., 1983. Veronika Gervers.

Cutting drafts for some Egyptian tunics, one Mamluk (14th C)
and some "Islamic" (7-10th C), including some for children.
Very good supporting information and footnotes.

For more general information, try this source. It isn't helpful for the actual
details of construction, and it's not easy to wade through the transliterated
terms sometimes, but you can get some idea of the appearance and social
significance of garments in various times and places from it.

* R. B. Serjeant. _Islamic Textiles: Material for a History up
to the Mongol Conquest._ Beirut: Librairie du Liban, 1972.

Carolyn Priest-Dorman Thora Sharptooth
Poughkeepsie, NY Frosted Hills ("where's that?")
priest@vassar.edu East Kingdom
Gules, three square weaver's tablets in bend Or

From: cromabu@aol.com (CromAbu)
Newsgroups: rec.org.sca
Subject: Re: Arabs, past and...past
Date: 5 Oct 1995 23:16:22 -0400
Organization: America Online, Inc. (1-800-827-6364)

Try 'Women's Costume of the Near and Middle East" by Jennifer Scarce
Sir fitz

From: DEW@ECL.PSU.EDU (Durr ishJabal Bey alFarengi)
Newsgroups: rec.org.sca
Subject: Re: Arabs, past and...past
Date: 6 Oct 1995 10:33:05 GMT
Organization: Orluk Oasis

In <452726$7pc@newsbf02.news.aol.com> cromabu@aol.com writes:

#> Try 'Women's Costume of the Near and Middle East" by Jennifer Scarce
#> 1987
#> Sir fitz

This is a good source for late and OOP TURKISH garb.

See also _Costume_, issue #3, 1969, "The Traditional Cosutmes of the Arab
Women of Palestine"

ibn Muusa

Dale E. Walter dew@ecl.psu.edu http://www.ecl.psu.edu/~dew/ Member # 02933
(Smokey) Baron Dur of Hidden Mountain
Durr ishJabal min alMaqfi Jabal abu Neefa, Sultan al-Tabl
Orluk Oasis on the War Road (of Aethelmarc)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca
From: bq676@torfree.net (Kristine E. Maitland)
Subject: Re: Arabs, past and...past
Organization: Toronto Free-Net
Date: Fri, 6 Oct 1995 14:12:28 GMT

As it happens, my former persona was that of a singer/spy in early ninth
century Bagdad (in the court of al-Ma'mun)... I choose that peroid
because of the great library that was built there at the time. Anyway,
here are some sources for you.

Lamm, Carl Johan. _Cotton in medieval Textiles of the East_.(1937)

Rice, David Talbot. _Islamic Art_

Scarce, Jennifer. _Women's Costume of the Near and Middle East_. London:
Unwin Hyman Unlimited, 1987.

Weibel, Adele Coulin. _Two thousand years of Textiles: the figured textiles
of Europe and the near East_

You should also MUST get a look at _The History of Beads: from 30, 000
B.C. to the present_ by lois Sherr Dubin. Assessories are important!!!

best of luck
Ines Carmen Maria de Freitas

From: ladams9495@aol.com (LAdams9495)
Newsgroups: rec.org.sca
Subject: Re: Muslim Names
Date: 3 Nov 1995 17:31:27 -0500
Organization: America Online, Inc. (1-800-827-6364)

Dear Miriam:

Many Arabs still do not have "last names", they may have a clan name
Al-something, but, traditionally, their "last name" is bin or ibn (son of)
and the father's first name or bint(daughter of) and the father's last


Myfanwy of the Sharp Tongue and Swift Needle, or was that the other way
Barony of the Bridge, EK
formerly of the Canton of Silver Swords, MK

From: ddfr@best.com (David Friedman)
Newsgroups: rec.org.sca
Subject: Re: Muslim Names
Date: 4 Nov 1995 06:36:37 GMT
Organization: Best Internet Communications

ladams9495@aol.com (LAdams9495) wrote:

> Dear Miriam:
> Many Arabs still do not have "last names", they may have a clan name
> Al-something, but, traditionally, their "last name" is bin or ibn (son of)
> and the father's first name or bint(daughter of) and the father's last
> name...

1. Why do you suggest that "bint" is followed by the father's last name?
As you have just said, there generally is no such thing.

2. Typically, a medieval Muslim male has a name (Mohammed, say) and
various attached terms, such as "ibn X" (son of X), "al baghdadi" (the guy
from baghdad), "abu Y" (father of Y; I think Y would typically be the
eldest son. I am Cariadoc abu Patri). So far as I know, there is no limit
to how many of these there could be.

3. A woman might be referred to as "X umm Y," where X was her own name and
Y was her (eldest?) son.

4. "al" means "the." While I suppose it could be used with a clan name, I
don't think that was true in general.

Hope this helps.

The original poster asked also for clothing information. Two books I have
heard recommended but have not myself seen are:

'Women's Costume of the Near and Middle East" by Jennifer Scarce

A book by Walthers Wiebke, which also has other stuff about Islamic
women's life.

Sometimes I have tried to use books with period Islamic art in them, plus
books such as Max Tilke's that show reasonably modern middle eastern garb
in a lot of detail, and tried to use the second to make sense of the


From: jdejesus@eden.rutgers.edu (Ramirez)
Newsgroups: rec.org.sca
Subject: Re: Muslim Names
Date: 6 Nov 1995 11:14:43 -0500
Organization: Rutgers University

Miriam Gould <ST951553@pip.cc.brandeis.edu> writes:
>I am attempting to create an 11th Century Andalusian persona and I have
>found many books on Al-Andalus, but none of them have dealt with names
>or the common dress. Many of the male names seem to end in "ibn" and
>then another name. However, all the female names listed do not have
>last names. I am looking for help on what a typical female last name
>would have been or the reassurance that a typical female would not have
>a last name. Any help on the subject (or anything related to Andalus)
>would be GREATLY appreciated.


As for names and their meanings, especially titles such as ibn, Al, etc
I would recommend The cambridge history, The Classical Age of Islam, Vol 1. I
would Also suggest just for a few name choices flipping through "The Conference
of the birds. Penguin books does have a vey good tranlation of this book
alhough it isa little late for you. The book is a story/islamic prose about
sufi mystasim written in the mid thriteenth century. If these are still no help
let me know and ill go through my library of Islamic stuff here and see about
anything else. These were just the two books that first popped into my head. I
hope this helps.

-Julio DeJesus
History/Medival Studies student
Rutgers Univ.

From: Stephen Bloch <sbloch@adl15.adelphi.edu>
Date: Fri, 30 May 1997 21:04:48 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: SC - Aramco World

Michael Farrell wrote:
> I am not familiar with the publication you mentioned, Aramco World. Where
> could I find it?

It's a high-quality, carefully written and illustrated magazine about
Arab and Moslem culture, often including articles about medieval
Islamic culture and technology, published every two months. It carries
no ads, yet costs nothing to subscribe -- the publisher, the Saudi
national oil company Aramco, can easily afford to put out a magazine to
bolster its public image, or as the masthead says, "to increase
cross-cultural understanding. The magazine's goal is to broaden
knowledge of the culture of the Arab and Muslim worlds and the history,
geography and economy of Saudi Arabia."

To subscribe, send a note to

Aramco World
P.O. Box 469008
Escondido, CA

Date: Sun, 08 Feb 98 11:57:48 PST
From: "Alderton, Philippa" <phlip@morganco.net>
Subject: SC - A book- OT

I just picked up a book called "A History of the Arab Peoples", by Albert
Hourani, who is Emeritus Fellow at St. Anthony's College at Oxford. It goes
into the early history, starting about 700 about the appearance of
Muhammad, and continues up to the present day. I did notice that it has no
subject headings on Christian Arabs, but otherwise it seems to be pretty
good. Are you familiar with it? Can you tell me anything to beware of, in
so far as inaccuracies?


Date: Tue, 03 Nov 1998 15:46:13 -0500
From: Marilyn Traber <margali@99main.com>
Subject: SC - new mideast research info

`Dara Shikoh Shooting Nilgais: Hunt and Landscape in Mughal
Painting', Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler
Gallery Occasional Papers, 1 (1998), and learned that it
can be ordered from the Bookshop of the Sackler Gallery,
Smithsonian Institution, Washington D. C.
Tel. 1-202-357 48 80 #357
Fax. 1-202 633 98 38
e-mail: shops@asia.si.edu
The price of one copy is $15.95

Date: Fri, 11 Jun 1999 23:42:25 -0400
From: "Karen Dutton" <kdutton@carolina.rr.com>
To: <sca-arts@raven.cc.ukans.edu>
Subject: RE: Islamic traveling pen cases/inkwells

I'm afraid I can't help with the pen case part (I have one, but I found it
at an antique store in Raleigh, NC several years ago)... but as a good
introductory text on Islam and calligraphy, let me suggest _Calligraphy and
Islamic Culture_ by Annemarie Schimmel (New York Univ. Press, 1984, ISBN
0-8147-7830-5). It's out of print, but your library should have it or be
able to get it through ILL.

If you actually want to learn to write Arabic, I can recommend three titles
right off the top of my head (if you want more info, the links below each
title will take you to Amazon):

_The Arabic Alphabet: How to Read and Write It_, by Nicholas Awde and Putros

_Writing Arabic_, by T. F. Mitchell

_Count Your Way Through the Arab World_, by Jim Haskins (a children's book)


<the end>

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