Tag Archives: Ecclesiastical Dress

Jewish Priest in India, 19th century.

Jewish Priest in India, 19th century. Jewish National costume. Traditional Jewish Priest clothing

Jewish Priest

Jewish Priest

The subject of this picture is a Jewish priest from Bagdad. There are a considerable number of Jews in Bombay, and the richest family in all India, The Sassoon, are Bagdad Jews, who established their mercantile firm in Bombay more than half a century ago. They are immensely rich, and their generosity in the matter of donations towards embellishing the city is well known.
Sir Albert Sassoon*, who was the head of the firm until his death in October 1896, left Bombay about twenty-five years ago, and settled in Brighton, where he passed his time in comparative retirement.

David Sassoon (1792-1864)

David Sassoon (1792-1864)

His father, the late Mr. David Sassoon, was long established as a merchant in Bagdad, and his ancestors before him. At one time he occupied an important financial position under the Turkish Government, but was driven from his native town by pestilence in 1834, and first migrated to Bushire, afterwards establishing himself in Bombay. Here the trade between this city and Bagdad was greatly fostered, and it is due to his influence, in conjunction with that of the Ezras, the Gubbays, and other Jewish families, that the business between India and Mesopotamia is now financed in Bombay. Their operations have extended to the Persian Gulf, to the interior of Persia, to China, and even to Japan.

To give instances of some of the many benefactions made by the Sassoon family, it may be mentioned that large sums of money were devoted towards constructing the Sassoon Hospital and the Industrial Almshouse at Poona, the Reformatory at Bombay and the Clock Tower at the Victoria Gardens, and many contributions made to the Sailors’ Home at Bombay and at Hongkong. Over £ 12,000 were given towards the Mechanics’ Institute in the former city, and this institution can now boast of a library which is second only to the Bombay branch of the Royal Asiatic Society’s Library. The Sassoon Dock at Lower Colaba was the first wet dock in Western India, and its construction is said to have led the Government of Bombay to promote the construction of the large Prince’s Dock, without which the ever growing imports and exports of the Presidency could not well be carried on.
Sir Albert Sassoon had the honor of Knighthood conferred upon him, and in the same year the Corporation of London presented him with the Freedom of the City, a distinction which was the first of its kind ever bestowed on a foreigner.

(*David Sassoon & Co. , which – especially since the Treaty of Nanking in 1842 – in China, was active and in the following years mainly through opium trade its owners should bring legendary wealth . Albert Abdullah David Sassoon was the Oriental Jewish (Sephardic) family traditions and largely took over the British customs and traditions. Also the first name Albert was only subsequently accepted as part of this process of assimilation. 1867 Albert Sassoon was admitted to the Order of the Star of India, 1872 Finally made ​​a Knight of the Order of the Bath. A little later, he moved permanently to England, where in 1890 he became a baronet raised. He died in 1896 in Brighton.)

Gallery: Typical pictures of Indian Natives. By F. M. Coleman, 1897.

Praying Mevlevi Dervish costume. Searching for the Divine.

Praying Mevlevi Dervish costume.  Dervishes clothing, Sufism in Turkey.

Praying Mevleni Dervish

Praying Mevlevi Dervish costume.

One of the most famous and celebrated dervish was living in southern Turkey, the city of Konya, Jalal ad-Din Muhammad Rumi. Rumi (born 1207, died 1273) was a Persian mystic and one of the greatest Persian-language poet of the Middle Ages. Of his dervishes and followers later he called Maulana. According to him, the Mevlevi Dervish Order is named.
The monks of the Order of Mevleni turn when praying in a circle. It is a deeply impressive moment of devotion. In Konya, it is also possible to attend this prayer as a layman.
These Islamic monks are immediately assigned based on their clothing to the Islamic order of Mevleni or Mewlana.

The Dervishes are highly honored by the Islamic community. In contrast to the Imam (The religious and political leader of the Islamic community in succession to the Prophet Mohammad), the scribes of Islam, the dervishes are the mystics.
The “holy crazy“ that stands outside of human reality. One whose thinking and feeling constantly revolves around God. The Sufi is the guardian of the secret teachings, the truth of Islam. In the Christian comparable with the monks on Mount Athos in northern Greece, or the early hermits, unlike the bureaucrats, the guardians of the dogma in the Vatican. One is the essence, the other politics. Or in other words, the chaos, the female and the life from the certainty of a birthing intuition, the other of the intellect, the knowledge of Apollo by the Spirit. Matriarchy and patriarchy.

From the book: Stamboul, Recollections of Eastern Life by Amedeo Preziosi. Published by Lemercier Paris 1861.
Related Gallery: The Costume of Turkey by Octavian Dalvimart. Printed by Howlett and Brimmer. Published in London, 1804.

Sufism at the Smithsonian: Searching for the Divine through the Arts

Documentary of Rumi:

Greek Orthodox Bishop 1857

Greek Orthodox Bishop costume. Metropolitan of Mount Athos. Priest clothing.

Greek Orthodox Bishop

Greek Orthodox Bishop 1857

Greek bishop dressed in a Rhason (Rhason the word in Greek means “used, worn garment.”). The Rhason is wider than the Talar has long sleeves and is usually black. If the priest is preparing for the liturgy, he puts the Rhason and pulls on the robe, the tunic, the alb, the other about to vestments.  Continue reading

Minoan Snake Goddess. Ancient Greek Statue.


Snake Goddess. Ancient Minoan Matriarchy Female Costume. Antique Greek statue

Faience Figure of Snake Goddess

The Snake Goddess

This figure appears to be wearing:—

  • (1) A skirt, made without gathers, touching the ground evenly all round, decorated with horizontal lines representing either tucks or embroidery or woven stripes in the material. The skirt is bordered with a reticulated pattern at the hem, enclosed within a double line of edging.
  • (2) A double apron or ‘polonaise’ made without fulness, reaching to the knee at the back and front, and rising to the hips at the sides. It is not improbably cut as an oval, and the head inserted through a hole in the middle as in the modern ‘poncho.’
  • It is decorated round its edge by a ‘guilloche’ pattern within plain bands. This decoration may be embroidery. The hem of this garment has the appearance of being slightly wadded or stuffed to produce a rope-like edge. The material is covered with a spotted pattern in relief.
  • (3) A tight-fitting jacket bodice of rich stuff, decorated, apparently, in embroidery, with a pattern formed of ‘volutes.’ The short sleeves cover the top of the shoulder and reach half-way to the elbow.
  • In front the bodice is cut away in a V shape from the shoulders to a point at the waist, leaving the neck and both breasts absolutely bare. From just below the breasts the edges of the jacket seem to be braided in curved patterns, and laced across from this braiding by cords. These cords are tied in bow-like knots. The front of this jacket is edged all round by a spotted snake.
  • (4) A high cap or tiara, perhaps of cloth, wound round in spiral fashion.
  • The hair of the figure falls to the shoulders in long locks, and is arranged beneath the high cap in a ‘fringe’ of regular strands of hair.

The Votary.

Matriarchy Female Votary. Knossos Minoan costume. Ancient Greek clothing. Antique Greece statue.

Faience Figure of Female Votary of Minoan Snake Goddess

Matriarchy Female Votary. Knossos Minoan costume. Ancient Greek clothing. Antique Greece statue.

Faience Figure of Female Votary: Back View

The outline of this Votary’s dress is similar in general character to that of the Goddess, but offers a few variations, viz.:—

  • (1) The skirt consists of seven flounces fastened apparently on a ‘foundation,’ so that the hem of each flounce falls just over the head of the one below it. Vertical stripes of a darker colour, of irregular width, appear on hem. The topmost flounce shows two narrow horizontal lines on each hip, probably a ‘heading’ to finish off the flounces.
  • (2) Over this skirt is worn a double apron or ‘ polonaise’ similar to that of the Goddess, but not falling so deeply, and not so richly ornamented.
  • The main surface is covered with a reticulated pattern, each reticulation being filled with horizontal lines in its upper half. The general effect is that of a check or small plaid. A triple line of decoration edges this ‘polonaise.’ The hem of it is thickened, perhaps by ‘ wadding.’ Seen from the back this thick edge seems to denote a fastening on each hip. The front and side views of the right hip give this fastening (?) the appearance of a thick roll, suggestive of a snake.
  • (3) The bodice seems to be made of a plain material, and is cut in similar fashion to that of the Goddess, with rather longer sleeves. From the top of the shoulder down the sleeve, and continued at right angles round the arm, runs a line of lighter coloured decoration, perhaps braiding. Instead of the snake edge to the jacket, seen on the other figure, a rope-like border runs round the bodice and also round the sleeves, which terminate just above the elbow. The bodice is cut away so as to expose both breasts, as with the Goddess, and is similarly laced, though the braiding, from which the lacing springs, is not, perhaps, quite so rich.
  • (4) The snake girdle of the Goddess is replaced on this figure by a stiff belt. The whole costume of both figures seems to consist of garments carefully sewn and fitted to the shape without any trace of flowing draperies.
  • The bodies of the figures are closely confined within their bodices, except where they open in front. The lines adopted are those considered ideal by the modern corset maker rather than those of the sculptor.
Ancient Greece figure. Minoan Snake Goddess Costume, Knossos, Crete. Sir Arthur Evans

Priestess of Snake Goddess, Knossos 2000 B.C.

A Striking Relic of Snake worship in Crete during the Minoan Age.

This dainty faience figure does not represent the Snake Goddess herself, but her votary or priestess. In her right hand the votary carries a small snake, tail upwards, and the left hand, which is missing, probably held another reptile in a similar position. Over her many flounced skirt she wears a double apron, a ritualistic survival of a primitive garment once to both sexes. Generally, the votary`s costume may be regarded as characteristic of feminine fashion in Minoan Crete. (Photograph from Sir Arthur Evans, “The Palace of Minos”.)

Ancient Greece Costumes. Minoan Snake Goddess costume. Greek Fresco Cup-Bearer.

Snake Goddess and Cup-Bearer

Above Photograph shows the Snake Goddess from Knossos, ca. 2000 B.C. Beside her a Cup-Bearer from a fresco at Knossos ca. 1500 B.C.


Inquisition costumes of Spain and Portugal.

Spain Inquisition costumes ideas. Catholic church clothing. Criminal Habits dresses

The Standards & Criminal Habits used by the Inquisition

Inquisition costumes of Spain and Portugal. Dominican Order.

“The Standards & Criminal Habits used by the Inquisition In the Dominions of Spain and Portugal” . Engraved for the Universal Magazine for Hinton at the Kings Arms in St. Pauls Church Yard, London 1748.

Associated with:  The Rise of Monachism. Monastic costumes history.

Doctor of Salamanca. Spain 1809

Traditional Spanish ecclesiastics costume. Salamanca, Castile and León clothing. Enlightened scholar, The Peninsula War.



THIS sketch, which represents the ordinary dress of the Spanish ecclesiastics, was meant to convey some idea of a very respectable character of Salamanca, Dr. Curtis.
This gentleman, no less distinguished as an enlightened scholar, than valued as a citizen, has long presided over the Irish seminary with credit; he is now upwards of seventy years of age, and having been removed from his native country at an early age, he has acquired the habits of that in which he has settled, without losing the vivacity peculiar to his own. His services to the English army in general, and to many individuals of it, and the assistance afforded by his knowledge of the language, and his local information, made him well known and esteemed.
When the affairs of Spain took an unfavourable turn, all personal concern seemed to be lost in anxiety for his pupils; and when. he found their studies interrupted, and their stay in Salamanca unsafe, he recommended them to the protection of the English general, by whose authority they were appointed to situations in the army, which they accompanied to England. What has since become of the worthy rector has not been ascertained; but it is to be hoped that he will either find safety in Spain, or an honourable asylum in his native country.

Gallery: The Peninsula War.
Sketches of the country, character, and costume, in Portugal and Spain, made during the campaign, and on the route of the British Army, in 1808 and 1809.