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By Yedida Stillman, Norman Stillman

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Extra info for Arab Dress: A Short History: From the Dawn of Islam to Modern Times (Themes in Islamic Studies, V. 2)

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Contra W. Björkman, “Turban,” EI 1, IV, 889, cf. al-Bukh§rÊ, ‘aÈÊÈ, Kit§b Fa·§"il al-‘aȧba, b§b 8, no. 1. 32 The ãaylas§n was a shawl-like headcloth which, though worn by Muslims, was considered a typically KhaybarÊ Jewish garment. Anas b. ”33 It could be that the ãaylas§n was identical with the Jewish ãallÊth, the four-cornered shawl with “show fringe” (Hebrew ßißÊth) on each corner in accordance with the biblical injunction of Numbers 15:37-39ff. Jews in the Eastern Mediterranean world in the centuries just preceding Islam wore a variety of such shawls (Talmudic Aramaic appiliyÙn and isãÙla) which were without the ritual fringes no different from their Roman counterparts, the pallium and the stola.

But these have their own problematics of interpretation. Not a few ethnographic photographs of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries (and some later ones) are staged images, catering to European romantic notions and taste for exotica. Young women and sometimes young men—according to the proclivities of the photographer—are occasionally posed with clothing that reveals parts of the body which would never be exposed in real life. Women are sometimes shown in scenes of daily life absolutely laden with jewelry in quantities that might not even have been worn on festive occasions.

In the historical chapters dates and centuries are generally given first according to the Gregorian reckoning and followed after a slash (/) with the Hijra equivalent. introduction 1 INTRODUCTION Clothing constitutes a cultural statement. It is a manifestation of culture, no less than art, architecture, literature, and music. Like all cultural phenomena, it communicates a great deal of information both on the physical and symbolic level about the society in which it is found. Fashions, or modes of dress, reflect not only the aesthetics of a particular society (what might be called the “adornment factor”), but also its social mores and values (the “modesty/immodesty factor,” or “reveal/conceal factor”).

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