Monday, January 31, 2011

From Hammam to Catwalk: A Study in Footwear

19th century Western artists were fascinated by the Oriental Hammam and its rituals. One such artist was Jean-Leon Gerome, who painted this scene, The Grand Bath at Bursa in 1885 based on descriptions he had read. Of note in the painting are the women wearing stilts known as kabkabs or nalin which were worn to protect their feet from the wet tiled floors. In 2008 the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston exhibited a rare pair of stilts, inlayed in mother-of-pearl, ivory and rosewood. The shoes are believed to be Turkish or Syrian, and date from the late 18th century.

Moorish Bath, by Jean-Leon Gerome 1885

Turkish Woman with Slave, a late 18th century painting by Jean-Etienne Liotard. Kabkabs, Lebanon 14th-17th Century.

Jan Taminiau Spring 2011 haute couture

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