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Baker, Patricia Lesley (1986) A History of Islamic Court Dress in the Middle East. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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The aesthetic ideal of the well-dressed Muslim male and female was formulated in ?ad?th literature, which counselled that the individual's devotion should be reflected in suitable humble and unostentatious attire. Although the evidence is fragmentary, the reality of the Umayyad and Abbasid courts, however, shows an increasing concern for ritual and ceremonial, along with a growing belief that the individual's status, profession and political (and religious) allegiance should be manifested in dress. It has been generally assumed that costume in the Islamic Middle East remained virtually unchanged in its structure and form until the 19th century. A careful examination of the visual sources in respect of the military dress in the medieval and post-medieval periods challenges this assumption, which is further weakened by the pictorial evidence of court costumes in the Ottoman and Safavid empires. At both courts, distinctive features in dress and head-gear identified the wearer's rank, status and to some extent, office. To don clothes associated with another group was to indicate publicly one's social aspirations, and for this reason sumptuary laws were repeatedly issued, with questionable effect, to re-establish as traditional a social order and stratification. Similarly in the 19th and 20th centuries, government programmes of radical modernization were accompanied by rigorous clothing reforms for both men and women. As the study of costume has to be undertaken with reference to political, social and economic history, each section is introduced by a short historical summary. This is followed by the examination of data relating to the court dress of the period, and concluded with information on the economic situation of the textile industry.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2020 17:18

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