--- In Authentic_SCA@yahoogroups.com
, "MMM" <marshamclean@r...> wrote:
> > From: hunyddthered [mailto:mel_elliott100@h...]
> However, acres of bare skin is not period (unless
> > you're 16thC German, in which case you need to loll about wearing
> > nothing but a veil and a hat.....) which count belly dancers OUT.
> I must vehemently disagree here. Women in India were displaying a
> deal of bare skin throughout the SCA period. Documentable through
> statuary as well as detailed illumination and European traveller's
> descriptions. A common upper garment was a choli, which bared
> much of the arm and lots of upper chest. It also appears that
> some areas went bare breasted as well. There is a sari wrap (not
> sure about provenance) which bares the lower leg.
> Please speak to a knowledgeable Raqs researcher (Asim?) about Raqs
> clothing before making a blanket statement. Belly bunnies bother
> of us, but I find many things worse.
See! I completely missed this bit, as well -- I've been totally out of
it, and have some time between installs to chat about this. :)
It's still very, very true that the majority of dancers in the Middle
East, in period, would not have worn anything remotely scandalous.
But, it's important to understand why, and that's mostly because the
majority of dancers were not what we, in the modern West, would
consider "dancers", as in professionally trained/paid performers. They
are just normal folks, who occasionally hoof it to a lively tune. Raqs
(bellydance) is, first and foremost, a social dance. And every
indication is that is was as much one throughout SCA period as it is,
today. In fact, one of the major disconnects between modern dancers
from "over there" and Western raqs shaquri participants is that a
number of the former assert that Western dancers cannot, ever, be as
good as the native dancers, because they literally grow up with it --
not just watching it on TV, but doing it, at parties, at discos, etc.
What does all the above have to do with the price of tea in China? Not
much, except tea is what's currently keeping me going. :0
Seriously, the counterpoint to the above is, indeed, the professional
dancer, who was more likely to wear clothing that exposed and excited.
Specific clothing references abound; one example is in SOCIAL LIFE OF
THE ABBISIDS, which talks about the famous Caliph Harun al-Rashid
visiting a slave (and slaves were the primary professional dancers of
this period), who was dressed in a sheer shirt. Understand, please,
that harems were NOT the sex-filled places of myth. A slave wearing
such a shirt is doing no more than "hanging round the house". It's the
same justification Ottoman female personas use to not show up to
events in a ferace (all-over cover, required for all Islamic women in
public in period Ottoman urban lands).
And there there's the images of the Ottoman dancer, who occasionally
show up with their coats unbuttoned, save a button at the very top and
bottom of the coat. This turns the tight-fitting yelek into an expose
of flesh, as the goomluk (underchemise) is always slit down the front.
No modesty there! And lets not even hit the many early period images
in various palaces of dancers in the nude, or next to nothing. Some of
these images, in face, can be found in at least one S. Italian palace,
although the name escapes me.
And that's not just raqs dancers, either. I'm sure I've posted here
the painting of the period Ottoman Dervish with the "Prince Albert"
piercing, yes? And that the leather kilt the figure in question is
wearing could be seen as documentation for Tuchuk-style loincloths...
So I don't bitch, too much, about non-period items in my particular
sub-genre of the SCA. In part, because I know exactly how hard a road
it is to hoe, and how much work it is to find even the tiniest bit of
information. For example, there just aren't any good SCA-period based
pattern books for Middle Eastern, although we're working on this.
But mostly, it's because of the above comments; I know _exactly_ how
much more naked there could be, if someone actually cracked open a
book or three. :)