A Sultana, or Odalisk. Odalisque of the Sultan’s Harem.

Odalisk, Odalisque, Ottoman Empire, Harem, costumes,
A SULTANA, OR ODALISK. Odalisque of the Sultan’s Harem.

A Sultana, or Odalisk.

Historical Ottoman Empire officials and ethnic groups.

THE Seraglio (Serail) itself, of which this female is a principal inhabitant is an irregular building of vast extent; and contains in all at least six thousand persons, many of whom indeed live in the city, and go there only during the day. It is not, in its extended sense, confined to the female apartments, for within its walls there are six large divisions for the divan, halls of audience, and various other departments; besides very extensive gardens.

The grant gate of entrance is called Baba-hoomajun, or Sublime Porte; which is now also applied by foreigners to the Sultan and his government.

The females of the Seraglio consist chiefly of Georgian and Circassian slaves, and are of course admitted when very young. It is a custom among the great men to present the Sultan with virgule slaves, through the hopes that these may hereafter promote their interest.

Although the females in the Seraglio amount to more than five hundred, yet the Sultan generally chooses six or seven, called Kaddins, who alone have the privilege of producing an heir to the throne; and the first who has a san is styled the Favourite. The other slaves are styled Odalisks, from Oda, a chamber; and this plate represents one of these.

Source: The costume of Turkey. Illustrated by a series of engravings; with descriptions in english. By Octavian Dalvimart. Printed by Howlett and Brimmer. Published in London, 1802.

Illustration, damasks, ornament
Note:  An Inferior Officer of the Janissaries. Ottoman Empire.

Leave a Reply

Auguste Racinet. The Costume History by Françoise Tétart-Vittu.

Racinet's Costume History is an invaluable reference for students, designers, artists, illustrators, and historians; and a rich source of inspiration for anyone with an interest in clothing and style. Originally published in France between 1876 and 1888, Auguste Racinet’s Le Costume historique was in its day the most wide-ranging and incisive study of clothing ever attempted.

Covering the world history of costume, dress, and style from antiquity through to the end of the 19th century, the six volume work remains completely unique in its scope and detail. “Some books just scream out to be bought; this is one of them.” ― Vogue.com

The Fabric of Civilization: How Textiles Made the World Paperback – December 7, 2021
by Virginia Postrel (Author)

From Neanderthal string to 3D knitting, an “expansive” global history that highlights “how textiles truly changed the world” (Wall Street Journal)

Fashionpedia - The Visual Dictionary Of Fashion Design

Fashionpedia - The Visual Dictionary Of Fashion Design

FASHIONPEDIA is a visual fashion dictionary covering all the technical terms from style to material to production with illustrations and infographics. It encompasses rich, extensive information and yet is easy to read. Whether you are an industry insider or a fashion connoisseur, FASHIONPEDIA is all you will ever need to navigate the fashion scene.

Textilepedia. The Complete Fabric Guide.

The Textile Manual is an encyclopaedia of textile information, from material to yarn, from fabric structure to the finishing process. Encompassing practical tips for a range of textiles and detailed visuals, this ultra-accessible manual is the perfect companion for fashion aficionados and aspiring fashion designers.


Couture: then and now Clothes define people. A person's clothing, whether it's a sari, kimono, or business suit, is an essential key to his or her culture, class, personality, or even religion. The Kyoto Costume Institute recognizes the importance of understanding clothing sociologically, historically, and artistically.