There are beggars and beggars, from the Hindu ascetic, who, after renouncing the lusts of the flesh, wanders from shrine to shrine, and meditates upon matters holy, to the gentleman delineated in the accompanying picture, who begs because he is built that way. Members of this particular caste have certain curious habits peculiar to themselves, and their headgear, if not their dress, is strikingly original. On the principle that the early bird catches the worm, they commence their rounds at three o’clock in the morning, standing outside a house and tinkling the little brass bell, which is one of their trade-marks, as an accompaniment to a doleful chant for alms. Patience and importunity are personified in an Eastern beggar. You may disregard his presence in the vain hope of driving him away in despair, and this, indeed, is usually the first method of procedure. But in no part of the wide world is the force of inertia better understood. He is used to cold neglect, and much more besides, so he calmly waits. Disregard may be followed by adjectives, but still he heedeth not. He’s used to that too. He repeats the monotonous wail, to the effect that he is a very poor man, a very hungry man; and has not the wherewithal to fill his internal economy. And as the smallest of coins is sufficient to rid one of his undesirable presence – even though in going he curse your want of liberality-he not infrequently reaps his reward.
But be it here remarked that, unless prepared to repeat the donation at frequent intervals, this method of treatment is not to be thought of, except as a means of temporary palliation. For your beggar, be he black or otherwise, has a knack, peculiarly his own, of never deserting his benefactors. On leaving your office at the end of the day, you are perhaps induced to give a coin to one of the many blind mendicants who swarm the thoroughfares. Henceforth he invariably awaits your coming, and, his youthful guide having marked you down, his persistent importunities move you to much profanity. The Vasudev does not usually beg from Europeans, the reason probably being that he only “works” from three o’clock to eight a.m. One of the peculiarities of the native is his passion for remaining awake far into the night, and, on festive occasions, the whole night long, as many a long suffering Anglo-Indian can testify, the manners and customs of the inhabitants of the country at such times not being conducive to slumber within a radius of half a mile of the scene of gaiety. The most original of stage· managers could surely never conceive for a Christmas pantomime a more grotesque form of hat than that worn by the Vasudev beggar. Shaped like a sugar loaf of huge proportions, the top part of it is covered with gold tinsel, while the lower half is gaily ornamented with peacock’s feathers.
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)
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.)
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 Turkeyby Octavian Dalvimart. Printed by Howlett and Brimmer. Published in London, 1804.
Sufism at the Smithsonian: Searching for the Divine through the Arts
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 →
(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.
Faience Figure of Female Votary of Minoan Snake Goddess
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.
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”.)
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.
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.