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Illustrations of Arabian Costume & Soldiers

The Arab God Arsu Riding a Camel, ca. 2nd century A.D., Dura-Europos, Yale University Art Gallery
Relief, Ašadu and Sa'dai, 1st-3rd century AD, Dura-Europos, National Museum, Damascus
Relief of the Arab God Arsu, probably 3rd century A.D, Dura-Europos, Yale University Art Gallery
Arab Relief with Armoured Warrior, 3rd-5th Century, Shabwa, Yemen. British Museum, 2014,6002.1.
Joseph's Brothers sell him to the Midianite or Ishmaelite Merchants, Throne of Archbishop Maximian of Ravenna, Constantinople or Alexandria, 545–553AD
Ishmaelite or Midianite traders sell Joseph to the Egyptian officer Potiphar, Throne of Archbishop Maximian of Ravenna, Constantinople or Alexandria, 545–553AD
Coptic Egyptian Carved Limestone Relief of Arab Horse and Camel Riders, 6th century, Coptic Museum, inv. 8001, Cairo
A battle between Arabs, Persians and Ethiopians. Coptic textile fragment, Egypt, late 6th or early 7th century, Musee des Tissus, Lyon, France
Clothing - The Omayyad [Umayyad] period by Elsie H. Peck
Umayyad Gold Dinar Coin of the Caliph 'Abd al-Malik, AD 685-705
Horsearcher on an Umayyad? Stucco Plaque, 7th-8th century AD. Museum für Islamische Kunst no. 4424, Berlin.
Umayyad Coin of Yazīd ibn al Muhallab, early 8th century AD
Floor painting with hunting scene, Umayyad, Qasr al-Hayr al-Gharbi c.724-43AD
Fragment of an Umayyad Mural Painting of an Arab Woman. Qasr al-Hayr al-Gharbi, Syria. National Museum of Damascus.
Stucco Fragments of a Horse and Rider. Umayyad, Qasr al-Hayr al-Gharbi, Syria, mid-8th century AD, National Museum, Damascus
Fragments of an Umayyad Statue of a Standing Prince, Qasr al-Hayr West. 8th century.
Armoured Statue from Bath Porch, Umayyad, Khirbat al-Mafjar, Palestine, early eighth century AD. Palestine Archaeological (Rockefeller) Museum, Jerusalem.
Umayyad Fresco of an Archer, Khirbat al Mafjar, near Jericho, Palestine, 8th century AD.
Umayyad painted statue of 'The Standing Caliph', Khirbat al-Mafjir, c.740AD
Umayyad Stucco Statuette of a Horse, Khirbat al Mafjar, Palestine, mid-8th century AD. Rockefeller Museum, East Jerusalem.
Umayyad Stucco Statuette, Khirbat al Mafjar, Palestine, mid-8th century AD
Egyptian, Syrian or Arab Horse Archer on an Islamic Textile, Egypt or Syria, 8th century, Metropolitan Museum of Art: 51.57
Umayyad Frescoes from Quṣayr ʿAmra, mid-8th century AD, Syrian, in situ, Jordan
Warrior with sword fighting a lion on a Post-Sassanian Gilt Silver Dish, Umayyad Iran, c.8th Century
Soldier on an Umayyad or Abbasid Ivory Plaque, mid-8th century AD, Humaymah, Jordan
Abbasid Bowl, 9th Century, Iraq. Qatar Museum of Islamic Art
Abbasid Lustre Bowl with man holding a Pomegranate, Mesopotamia or Central Asia, 9th Century. Christie's Sale 7959 / Lot 12
An Arab Cavalryman in a 10th Century Papyrus Drawing, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Vienna
. Arab Cavalryman from Armies of the Dark Ages 600-1066 by Ian Heath, based on this papyrus drawing
Abbasid Bowl with Cavalryman, 10th Century, Iraq. Keir Collection, Dallas
Abbasid Bowl with Man holding a Cup, 10th Century, Iraq. Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1977.126
Abbasid Bowl with Man Playing Lute (al Oud), Iraq, 10th Century. Museum of Islamic Art, Cairo.
Forged Abbasid Bowl with Man Playing Lute (al Oud). Smithsonian F1925.6.
Abbasid Bowl with Standard Bearer, 10th Century, Iraq, Sothebys sale L13220/lot 162
Abbasid Bowl with Standard Bearer, 10th Century, Iraq. Louvre MAO 23.
Arab? Swordsman in round hat and trousers, Byzantine Relief, 10th-11th century. Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg.
A Siege of an Arab Fort in The Cynegetica of Pseudo-Oppian, Byzantine, 11th century
A cavalry battle between Byzantines and Arabs in Scylitzes Chronicle, c. 12th century
The Siege of Amorium by the Arabs in 838 in Scylitzes Chronicle, c. 12th century
Byzantines defeated by Arab infantry in Scylitzes Chronicle, c. 12th century
An Arabic Translation of the Materia Medica of Dioscorides by ‛Abdullah ibn al-Fadl, Abbasid Iraq, 1224AD
Maqamat of al-Hariri, 1237AD, 'Bedouin escorting a caravan of pilgrims', Bibliothèque nationale de France, MS. Arabe 5847
Maqamat of al-Hariri, 2nd quarter of 13th century, 'Bedouin' with swords, Bibliothèque nationale de France, MS. Arabe 3929
Sgraffito-ware bowl showing a horseman in urban Arab costume, Syria?, 13th century, Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, X-316
Maqamat of Muhammad al-Qasim Al-Hariri, Mosul 1256AD, British Library, Ms. Or. 1200, f.81r, 'al-Harith helps Abu Zayd to retrieve his camel stolen by a bedouin'
Bedouin Arab warrior on an inlaid bronze bowl, late 13th or early 14th centuries AD, Mamluk, Victoria and Albert Museum 740-1898
Arab costume in the London Qazwīnī, Encyclopaedic work on cosmology by Zakarīyā ibn Muḥammad ibn Maḥmūd al-Qazwīnī. MS copied in Mosul, Iraq, c.1300 CE. British Library Or 14140.
Arabian Costume in 'The Chronology of Ancient Nations' by Al-Biruni, Tabriz, Iran, 1307AD. University of Edinburgh Or.Ms.161
Arab Cavalry in the 14th century Jami‛ al-Tawarikh by Rashid al-Din
. Bedouin Tribesmen in Armies and Enemies of the Crusades 1096-1291, by Ian Heath, based on the Jami‛ al-Tawarikh & Hariri's Maqamat
Maqamat of Muhammad al-Qasim Al-Hariri, 1337AD, Cairo, MS. Marsh 458, folio 45a, 'al-Harith helps Abu Zayd to retrieve his camel stolen by a bedouin'
Arab Cavalry in a 15th century copy of Jami' al-Tawarikh by Rashid al-Din
An Arab Cavalryman in the manuscript of The pilgrimage of the Knight Arnold von Harff, 1496 to 1499
An Arab Cavalryman in The pilgrimage of the Knight Arnold von Harff, printed 1860
. Bedouin Tribesman in Armies of the Middle Ages, Volume 2 by Ian Heath, based on The pilgrimage of Arnold von Harff in 1496 to 1499
Camel Mounted Bedouin Arabs in a Timurid Khamsah illustrated by Bihzad, BL Add MS 25900, late 15th/early 16th century
Three Arabs on horseback, 1526, by Jan Swart van Groningen
Arab Cavalry Soldiers in Illustrations de Diversarum gentium armatura equestris Abraham de Bruyn, 1577
Arab Cavalryman in Costumes and Genre Pictures of the 16th Century from Western and Eastern Europe, the Orient, the Americas, and Africa c.1580
Murder of Ma'sum Beg, the envoy of the Safavid Shah Tahmasp, by Bedouin in the Hijaz, in Sehname-i Selim Han by Lokman, 1581
African and Arab Costume and Soldiers from De gli habiti antichi, e moderni di diverse parti del mondo libri due by Cesare Vecellio, 1590
Arab Cavalrymen in 'Abbas Ali is attacked, fetching water in the Euphrates'. Hadikat us-suada of Fuzuli. British Library Ms. Oriental 12009, folio 233
'Book of Fixed Stars' (Kitāb suwar al-kawākib al-ṯābita) by ‛Abd al-Rahman ibn ‛Umar al-Ṣūfī, Ms Copenhagen ms Arabe 83, 1602AD. Medina, Arabia.
An Arabian in Peter Mundy's Album, "A briefe relation of the Turckes, their kings, Emperors, or Grandsigneurs, their conquests, religion, customes, habbits, etc", Istanbul, 1618AD
Arab costume & soldiers in La Terre-Sainte, ou Description Topographique tres-particuliere des saints Lieux, & de la Terre de Promission by Pere Eugéne Roger, Paris, 1664
Arabian horsemen in the Hamse (quintet) of the Ottoman Turkish poet Atai, Walters MS. W666, 1721AD
Costume in the Arab section of Recueil de tous les costumes des ordres religieux et militaires by Jacques Charles Bar, Paris, 1778
30 Illustrations of Mamluks and Janissaries during Napoleon's Egyptian campaign in Description De L'Egypte
Bedouin Arab in the vicinity of Alexandria, after d'Alvimart in The Costume Of Turkey, 1802
Arab Bedouin woman from Sahara desert, with her child, after d'Alvimart in The Costume Of Turkey, 1802



Illustrations referenced by Arab Dress. From the dawn of Islam to Modern times by Smirna Si:
3. Caliphal statue from Khirbet al-Mafjar wearing Sasanian-style qabāʾ with “pearl” border.

5. Mahmūd of Ghazna donning a Khilʿa sent by the Caliph al-Qahir in 1000 A.D. as depicted in a manuscript of Rashīd al-Dīn’s Jāmiʿ al-Tawārīkh (Edinburgh University Library).

6. Qāḍī seated on raised chair atop the minbar with a black taylasān draped over his turban and shoulders as depicted in a 13th-century manuscript of the Maqāmāt of al-Ḥarīrī (Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, ms arabe 6094, folio 93).
7. Seated qāḍī with a long while ṭarḥa drawn over his turban and shoulders in a 14th century manuscript of the Maqāmāt (Nationalbibliothek, Vienna, A. F. 9, fol. 30 verso).

8. Figure depicted on a Fatimid lustre ware bowl wearing a giant ellipsoid turban (perhaps the caliphal tāj al-sharīf).

13. Seated drinking figure wearing a robe with ornamental spots (probably the so-called muʿayyan, “with eyes,” pattern) on a Fatimid ceramic (Museum of Islamic Art, Cairo, no. 15501).

14. Seated figure of Abū Zayd wearing a "paneled" tunic from an early 14th-century Maqāmāt manuscript, probably from Syria (BM Add. 22.114, f. 98).

17. Mamluk polo players wearing aqbiya turkiyya cinched at the waist by a band as depicted on an enamelled glass caraffe from Syria, ca. 1260-1270 (Staartliche Museen für Islamische Kunst, Berlin.

19. Frontispiece of a mid-13th-century manuscript, probably from Mosul of the Kitāb al-Diryāq of Pseudo-Galen showing an informal court scene in the center with a seated Turkish ruler (on left) wearing a fur-trimmed, patterned qabāʾ maftūḥ with elbow-length with elbow-length ṭirāz sleeves and on his head a sharbush. Most of his attendants wear aqbiya turkiyya and kalawta caps. Workman depicted behind the palace and riders in the lower register wear the brimmed hat with conical crown known as sarāqūj. On the sarāqūj of one workman is a crisscrossed colored takhfifa with a brooch or plaquette pinned in the center of the overlap. The women on camels in the lower righthand corner wear a sac-like head veil kept in place by a cloth ʿiṣāba (Nationalbibliothek, Vienna, ms A. F. 10, fol. 1).

20. Inlaid metal basin (so-called Baptistère de St. Louis) depicting Mamluk soldiers several of whom have blazons on their boots. (Louvre, Paris).

21. Illumination from the Maqāmāt painted by al-Wāsiṭī in Baghdad in 1237 depicting the pilgrims caravan. The two walking figures are both wearing rānāt (Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, ms arabe 5847, fol. 94 verso).

22. Frontispiece of a court scene from a Maqāmāt manuscript, probably from Egypt, dated 1334. The enthroned prince wears a brocaded qabāʾ maftūh, with inscribed ṭirāz armbands over a qabāʾ turki which is cinched at the waist with a hiyāsa of gold roundels bawākir). The two musicians at the lower right both wear turkic coats and plumed caps, one of which has an upwardly turned brim. The plumes are set in a front metal plaque (ʿamūd) (Nationalbibliothek, Vienna, ms A. F. 9, fol. 1).

23. Frontispiece of Kitāb al-Aghāni from Iraq, ca. 1218/19 depicting the enthroned atabeg Badr al-Din LuʾLuʾ ʿAbd Allāh wearing a gold brocaded (zarkash), lined qabāʾ turki with gold tirāz armbands on which his name is clearly inscribed. His boots are of red leather with gold, probably stamped, vegetal decoration. On his head is a fur-trimed sharbūsh. Most of his attendants wear Turkish coats, boots, and a variety of kalawtāt (Millet Kūtūphanesi, Istanbul, Feyzullah Efendi ms 1566. folio 1b).

24. Classroom scene from Maqāmāt manuscript dated 1222, probably from Syria. Some of the schoolboys are wearing Turkish military kalawta caps, a medieval parallel to the military caps worn by students in 19th- and early 20th century Central and Eastern Europe (Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, ms arabe 6094, fol. 167).

25a-b. Two illuminations from a 13th-Century Maqāmāt manuscript. The first shows Abū Zayd in an unusual short-sleeved jacket; the second a youth in a long-sleeved one (Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, ms arabe 3929, folios 104 and 68 verso).

26. Abū Zayd in short robe with unusual mid-calf length straight sirwāl of some soft fabric with irregular hems, and on his feet pointed soft leather shoes rolled down just above the ankles. On his head is a qalansuwa ṭawīla cut to curve around the side of the face and extending down the back of the neck. Perhaps this outfit reflects the garb of the futuwwa or the ʿayyārūn (Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, ms arabe 3929, folio 69).

28. Scene from a manuscript dated 1199, probably from Northern Iraq, of the Kitāb l-Diryāq of Pseudo-Galen showing watching agricultural labors. Three of the workers wear only knee-britches (tubbān). The unveiled woman sitting in the lower lefthand corner with a sieve in her hand wears only sirwāl, a sheer qamīṣ with elbow-length sleeves, and tight-fitting cap on her head (Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, ms arabe 2964, old page 22).

29. Elegant woman depicted in a 13th-century Maqāmāt manuscript. She is wearing a wide-sleeved brocade, knee-length robe with clearly inscribed ṭirāz armbands. On her head is a polka dot headscarf which falls down the back to her waist and is held in place with an ʿiṣāba māʾila and a pearl chin chain (Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, ms arabe 3929, fol. 151).

30. Miniature from an early 13th-century Kalīla wa-Dimna manuscript, probably from Baghdad, showing a woman in a narrow-sleeved, full-length, close-fitting brocade robe wearing a wimple-like mandīl, held in place with a metal sar band, addressing the king, who is wearing a qabāʾ turkī with uninscribed ṭirāz armbands, and chiseled gold tāj (Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, ms arabe 3465, fol. 131 verso)

31. Fatimid metal figurine of a woman playing a tamborine or flat drum with a jewel-studded kūfiyya on her head (Museum of Islamic Art, Cairo, no. 6983).

32. Illumination from Maqāmāt manuscript painted by al-Wāsiṭī in Baghdad in 1237 depicting a preacher addressing the congregation in a mosque. The women seated in the upper gallery are wrapped in plain or brocaded silk mantles (ardiya), some of which have decorative borders. They are wearing a variety of veils, including the qināʿ (or miqnaʿa), the niqāb, and the shaʿriyya. One woman (third from left) is wearing a pair of black mesh gloves (Bibliothèque nationale, Paris, ms arabe 5847, folio 58 verso).

38. Detail from the carved ivory Andalusian pyxis of al-Mughīra, dated 968, with a genre scene depicting bareheaded figures.

39. Illustration from the 13th-century manuscript Ḥadīth Bayāḍ wa Riyāḍ, from Islamic Spain or Ceuta, the hero Bayāḍ is playing the ‘ūd in the garden of the wealthy mistress of the house and her handmaidens, all of whom are unveiled and bareheaded except for the lady who wears a large golden tāj. He wears a large ovoid turban with a gold tirāz “factory patch” on the front (Biblioteca Apostolica, Vatican, ms arabo 368, fol. 10).

40. The lover Bayāḍ wearing a smaller, round tirāz turban with a pointed cap barely protruding through the winding cloth receives a letter sent by his beloved. The messenger veils the lower part of her face holding her milḥafa there with her right hand (Biblioteca Apostolica, Vatican, ms arabo 368, fol. 17).

44. Manuscript illumination in the Escorial of the Libro de Ajedrez made for Alfonso X in Seville in 1283. It shows Mudejars explaining chess moves to the Christian ruler. All, including the king wear turbans, except for the guard. The two seated players wear the tahnik, while the standing Mudejar wear a turban wound around a qalansuwa. The king wears a robe with astral designs and tirāz bands on the upper arm inscribed in Arabic.

53. Village scene in the Maqāmāt manuscript painted by al-Wāsiṭī in Baghdad in 1237. All of the women, indoors and out, are unveiled (Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, ms arabe 5847, folio 138).

54. Courtroom scene from a Maqāmāt manuscript from ca. 1240. One of the two women before the qādī wearing a bukhnuq-wimple and an izār draped toga-fashion is barefaced. The other holds her ridāʾ mantle across her face as a veil (Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, ms arabe 3929, folio 134).

55. Internment scene at the graveyard from the Maqāmāt manuscript painted by al-Wāsiṭī in Baghdad in 1237. All of the female mourners are without veils (Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, ms arabe 5847, folio 29 verso).

56. Illumination from a Maqāmāt manuscript, probably from Syria, ca. 1300, depicting two women accompanying Abū Zayd on the road. Both women wear a white miqnaʿa covering the entire lower portion of the faces, and both are enveloped in large wraps, a white izār for the women on the left and colored ridāʾ for the one between the two men (British Museum Add 22114, fol. 135 verso).



See also 10th to 19th century Egypt and its territories
Index of Illustrations of Costume and Soldiers