Women In Enveloping Clothes

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Women In Enveloping Clothes

  1. 1. Images of veiled women in enveloping clothes, as promoted by the Western media as well as Muslim politico-religious groups, have become the one stereotype of “Muslim Women”. However: “ Hijab” or veil can be traced back to early civilizations. It can be found in early and late Roman and Greek art. The evidence can be seen in archaeological discoveries whether in pottery fragments, paintings or recorded civil laws. In Greco-Roman culture, both women and men wore head covering in religious contexts. The tradition of wearing the veil (by women) and the headcover (by men) was then adopted by the Jews who wrote it in the Talmud, and then the Christians adopted the same.” Women dress code in Islam – historical background, Ahmed Okla website
  2. 2. 3rd century BC pottery figurines from Alexandria (left) and Tanagra/Greece (right) British Museum Statuette of a Roman priest, 2 nd /3 rd century AD, Kent, UK. Royal Museum, Canterbury
  3. 3. Early 15th century painting of women at the Crucifixion Les Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry, Musée Condé Jews of Bokhara (now in Uzbekistan) Pictorial History of the Jewish People, 1953
  4. 4. <ul><li>A head cover, and sometimes a face cover, is an extremely practical answer to problems of dust, dirt, cold, sun, wind, flies, head-lice and trying to get work done without hair falling over one’s eyes. But the covering of the head, and of hair, especially women’s hair, became imbued with strong non-rational, non-utilitarian notions/ideas/associations. </li></ul>Early 15th France Les Très Riche Heures de Duc de Berry, Musée Condé Meidum, Egypt, 1824. John Gardiner Wilkinson, National Trust
  5. 5. <ul><li>Women working on the land and tending their animals, in regions where they wore clothes, have often worn loose long garments with head-covers. </li></ul>Tea Pluckers at work. This image shows headcovering adopted by women for occupational and not religious reasons. Most tea pickers in Ceylon were Indian, non-Muslim Tamils. Post card, 1910-20 Inside a village courtyard, Pakistan. Women of Pakistan, Government of Pakistan, 1975
  6. 6. <ul><li>This comment regarding European Dress Codes during the 5th - 11th century period has relevance to Muslim rural contexts as well: </li></ul><ul><li>“ Loose robes were worn by both sexes, styles were simple and unchanging. Societies existed for the most part at subsistence level, and were in many respects free from marked differences in wealth and class. Dress distinguished rich from poor, rulers from ruled only in that working people wore more wool and no silk, rougher materials with less ornamentation than their masters.” </li></ul><ul><li>Adorned in Dreams, Elizabeth Wilson, 1987 </li></ul>
  7. 7. <ul><li>The woman on the left of this detail from a larger painting, is one of over forty-five women in the picture. We see her through the window of an upstairs room, and she is the only woman heavily draped. She is most likely an older woman, and a visitor. </li></ul>Birth of a Prince, Mughal India, painted by Bishndas, 1605-10. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
  8. 8. <ul><li>The covering of the head in religious ceremonies and situations has a long history – predating both Islam and Christianity. However, very short references to dress in both the Bible and the Qur’an have been interpreted and re-interpreted for centuries – leading to controversies and outright violence. In these two images the uniformity of dress code blurs the individual identity of the woman at prayer and the woman devoted to the spiritual life. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Prayers on the morning of the Fetr holiday, end of Ramadan, Mossalla, Iran. Javad Montazeri, 2001 The Nuns of Hohenburg, Near Strasbourg, c.1170. Hortus Deliciarum – a book compiled for her nuns by the Abbess
  10. 10. <ul><li>“ Rather than showing the instability of social systems, dress styles show their inherent stability. Seen across space and time, dress patterns show remarkably regular alternation from one socially determined extreme to another. It is in the dialectic of extremes that variety and continuous connection are discovered.” </li></ul><ul><li>Reveal and Conceal, Andrea B Rugh, 1986 </li></ul>Continuity over time and place…
  11. 11. Women selling their produce at the local market wore long skirts, multiple layers and head covers. Portuguese women at Coimbra. Paul Popper, 1948
  12. 12. Lugano Market, Italy/Switzerland, c.1900
  13. 13. Vegetable Market, Jerusalem, 1908 Israel Museum, Jerusalem
  14. 14. <ul><li>These two photos of Bedouin women show little change in dress over one hundred years. </li></ul>Bedouin women c.1885. attrib: Marie Lydie Cobanis Dhiyabat Bedouin, south Jordan. Shelagh Weir, 1974
  15. 15. In most cultures and communities there are women who practice their skills as midwives. These women would have work stories to swap across continents and centuries. The Hour of Birth, Baghdad, 1237. painting by al-Wasiti Turkey, 17th century. Istanbul University Library Midwife carrying her payment in kind, rural Upper Egypt, 1920s. The Fellāhīn of Upper Egypt, Winifred S Blackman, 1927 Egyptian midwives in the Delta region. Sean Sprague, 2000
  16. 16. <ul><li>A long life of hard work is what shows in the faces of these women. </li></ul><ul><li>Guess where they come from! </li></ul><ul><li>(answers to follow…) </li></ul>
  17. 17. Ireland A Palestinian Christian Arab living in Israel Spain Iran Central Turkey Hungary Sources: Ireland : National Museum of Ireland Iran: Pioneering Women of Iran, 1995 Spain: Women of All Lands, 1939 Palestine/Israel: Warda Rohana, Hoda’s Granny, 1982 Hungary: Paul Popper c. 1950 Central Turkey: Women of Nar, 1974
  18. 18. <ul><li>Practical Clothing </li></ul><ul><li>Large pieces of woven cloth can be draped and worn unsewn or sewn into simple garments. They can be “modesty” garments or overdresses, or complete ‘outfits’ worn indoors and out with portions used to cover the head if required. Here we look at three types of multi-purpose dress. </li></ul>Two early stages in how to put on the haik - the voluminous cloak and veil of Morocco and Algeria. G G de Clérambault, Morocco, 1917, Images of Women, Sarah Graham-Brown, 1988 The haik
  19. 19. The double dress (thob ‘ob) was worn by Bedouin and settled people of south Jordan in 19th and early 20th century. A girdle of plaited wool was tied over the dress and around the waist, and the material was pulled up and through the belt until the hem was level with the ground and the excess material fell in a baggy fold. The points of one or both sleeves were thrown over the head as a veil, and secured with a band (‘asbeh)…” The Bedouin, Shelagh Weir, 1968 The thob ‘ob: dress, undredress and veil – all in one Woman of the ‘Adwan Bedouin wearing the ‘double dress’. Matson, 1920-48
  20. 20. The sari adapted itself to situations requiring ‘modesty’ ie. if an elderly person was in the room, or for religious observances. The pallaw – the bit over the shoulder – could be used to cover the head or even the head and face. The Sari Clothing Matters, Emma Tarlo
  21. 21. This comment regarding Western fashion has relevance to changes in dress code ‘fashions’: “ At one period the breasts are bared, at another even a V-neck is daring. At one time the rich wear cloth of gold embroidered with pearls, at another beige cashmere and grey suiting. In one epoch man parade in ringlets, high heels and rouge, at another to do so is to court outcast status and physical abuse.” re: Western fashion, Adorned in Dreams, Elizabeth Wilson 1987 Fashions change and come round again, reflecting a change in perceptions of morality and the influence of class and political forces
  22. 22. Istanbul, 1870s. Fashion and Women’s Clothing in the Satirical Press of Istanbul at the end of the 19th century, Nora Seni, 1991 The Strand Magazine, April 1891 Punch magazine, 1915 Woman being dressed in gilded leather breast plate for a fashion show in Turkey. Alex Webb, 2002, National Geographic
  23. 23. Indoors and Outdoors: Urban North Africa “ In order to prevent sexual interaction between members of the umma and members of the domestic universe, seclusion and veiling (a symbolic form of seclusion) were developed. … The veil is worn by Moroccan (and other North African) women only when they leave the house and walk through the street, which is a man’s space. The veil means that the woman is present in the men’s world, but invisible; she has no right to be in the street.” Beyond the Veil, Fatima Mernissi, 1975 Sketches of Moroccan women, 1832. Eugene Delacroix, Musée Condé
  24. 24. Early 20th Century Postcard Photos There were thousands of photographs and paintings of North African Women, which ranged from the pornographic and erotic, through general Orientalist and ‘anthropological’ to the more unusual, simple un-posed ‘snap’. The images here are at the more representative end of the spectrum.
  25. 25. <ul><li>“ The outer layer represents the external or public person and the inner one his or her private self.” </li></ul><ul><li>The Language of Clothes, Alison Lurie, 1981 </li></ul>An Algerian woman protests as she casts her vote in the country’s elections. Contributor to OK magazine
  26. 26. The People of the Veil <ul><li>The veil, most associated in the West with Muslim women, is fundamental to the self-image of male Tuareg, who call themselves ‘The People of the Veil’. </li></ul>Three wheeling through Africa, James C Wilson, 1937 “ Whatever the social position of the men, the Veil is invariably worn by day and by night, while the women go unveiled.” People of the Veil, Francis Rennell Rodd , 1926
  27. 27. <ul><li>The Tuareg are the most well-known of the veiled nomadic people. The Western travellers’ romance with the desert and the East in the 19th and early 20th century led to many images of the seductive veiled male. Recently there is a new genre of postcards available in High Street shops and through International NGO catalogues, this could be called the New Ethnic Orientalism; veiled ‘tribal’ women, lightly clothed ‘tribal’ women, and yet again the Tuareg male. </li></ul>Touareg, Niger, NouvellesImages, 1998
  28. 28. Political Contexts In a context where women were seen, by both colonisers and nationalists, as recipients and guarantors of the indigenous culture, the rise, fall and aftermaths of empires and colonies strongly influenced dress. Nationalist movements often promoted “traditional” dress codes for women, while their male leaders often adopted Western costumes. Current codes and modes, together with veiling, unveiling and re-veiling can be seen as part of the continuing reverberation. “ The function of dress is much more than simply to mark differences and similarities within the indigenous society. It has also provided a way to express a particular attitude towards foreign cultural and political influences.” Sarong, jubbah, and trousers, Kees van Dijk,. Outward Appearances – Dress, state and society in Indonesia, 1997
  29. 29. Maps, Tim Simpson, 2002
  30. 30. Maps, Tim Simpson, 2002
  31. 31. Maps, Tim Simpson, 2002

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