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Stupid questions

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  • r0hanian
    Hello! And sorry to disturb you....but I have couple of questions regarding authentic fabrics (esp. in Asia/India area). I have two Sarees (both silk) but I am
    Message 1 of 20 , Mar 3, 2007
      Hello!

      And sorry to disturb you....but I have couple of questions regarding
      authentic fabrics (esp. in Asia/India area). I have two Sarees (both
      silk) but I am a bit unsure about the colours. First saree is purple
      silkchiffon http://pics.livejournal.com/ignata/pic/0004e1xf/
      with lighter pallu http://pics.livejournal.com/ignata/pic/0004fr5y/
      It's transparent and therefore I am not totally sure should I use it
      at all.
      Second saree is pink(ish) silk with golden border <A
      href="http://pics.livejournal.com/ignata/pic/0004g8yt/ I am planning
      to make Arabian/Turkish dress from them but I wan't to make sure first
      are they authentic or not.

      Second problem is to decide that kind of dress to make if the silks
      are ok to SCA-use :D

      Sorry about my stupid questions, but if there is anyone who is able to
      help me...

      (X-posted...)

      ~Amal binti Hala Al-Chania
    • Amy Heilveil
      Lovely fabric. What time frame are you looking to date the colors? I don t think you ll have a problem with it. Smiles, Despina de la ask questions, it gets
      Message 2 of 20 , Mar 3, 2007
        Lovely fabric. What time frame are you looking to date the colors? I don't
        think you'll have a problem with it.

        Smiles,
        Despina de la ask questions, it gets us talking


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • r0hanian
        Well, early period would be great (my character is 9th century arabian/turk living in Crete) but basically anything goes. I have only 2 costumes at the moment
        Message 3 of 20 , Mar 4, 2007
          Well, early period would be great (my character is 9th century
          arabian/turk living in Crete) but basically anything goes. I have only
          2 costumes at the moment because I broke my silk bysantinian costume
          and I have not yet figured out how to fix it... and I really need new
          clothes ;)

          ~Amal

          "Amy Heilveil" <amyheilveil@...> wrote:
          >
          > Lovely fabric. What time frame are you looking to date the colors?
          I don't
          > think you'll have a problem with it.
        • Beth Lokey
          You might check with the SCA_India group. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/SCA_India/ You don t have to be a member to read their messages and look at their
          Message 4 of 20 , Mar 5, 2007
            You might check with the SCA_India group.



            http://groups.yahoo.com/group/SCA_India/





            You don't have to be a member to read their messages and look at their
            links.

            Mina





            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Amy Heilveil
            Depending on the period, they re all correct. The pink is very period for most of the SCA time frame, as is the purple. The blue a little less so, but it
            Message 5 of 20 , Mar 5, 2007
              Depending on the period, they're all correct. The pink is very period for
              most of the SCA time frame, as is the purple. The blue a little less so, but
              it still works for most time frames.

              Smiles,
              Despina de la loves the purple you've got


              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Lilinah
              My apologies for this late response, but Yahoo has been bouncing my mail a lot in the last week and a half... ... First, questions are not stupid. If we don t
              Message 6 of 20 , Mar 8, 2007
                My apologies for this late response, but Yahoo has been bouncing my
                mail a lot in the last week and a half...

                Amal binti Hala Al-Chania wrote:
                >Sorry about my stupid questions, but if there is anyone who is able to
                >help me...

                First, questions are not stupid. If we don't know or understand
                something and we don't ask, we don't learn or we misunderstand.
                Asking questions and getting answers lifts the veil of ignorance. It
                is perhaps more stupid not to ask and remain ignorant or confused.

                >I am planning to make Arabian/Turkish dress from them but I want to
                >make sure first are they authentic or not.

                First, the vestimentary systems of Arab cultures are quite different
                from those of Turkish/Central Asian cultures.
                -- Arab systems feature garments that either slip on over the head =
                tunics (borrowed from the Greeks and Romans who ruled the area for
                many centuries) or wrapped garments composed of flat rectangles of
                various dimensions (indigenous).
                -- Turkish/Central Asian systems feature garments that open in the
                front ("coats"), although under tunics often slip on over the head
                and have long central slits in the front or, sometimes for men,
                off-center slits.
                -- Both systems have pants with a draw-string waist, worn by both men
                and women, but these pants differ. The sirwal (pl. sarawil) of the
                Arab system tends to have legs that are the same width from hip to
                ankle. The shalvar (various spellings) have legs that are quite wide
                at the hip and thigh, and narrow at the ankle.
                -- There are also differences in colors preferred or avoided, and
                motifs and the scale of motifs used in textiles.

                Second, i would ask "which Turkish?" There is a multitude of Turkish
                cultures that are important within the time span of the SCA, the
                Seljuks being the most significant; but there are also Uighur,
                Buyyid, Turkoman, etc.

                So it's important to differentiate, first, between cultures based on
                Central Asian clothing systems and those based on Arab systems, and,
                second, among the different Turkic cultures.

                Also, which culture and time period you choose will determine what
                fabric patterns and to some extent what colors are appropriate, not
                to mention the style of the garments.

                >I have couple of questions regarding
                >authentic fabrics (esp. in Asia/India area). I have two Sarees (both
                >silk) but I am a bit unsure about the colours. First saree is purple
                >silkchiffon
                >http://pics.livejournal.com/ignata/pic/0004e1xf/
                >with lighter pallu
                >http://pics.livejournal.com/ignata/pic/0004fr5y/
                >It's transparent and therefore I am not totally sure should I use it
                >at all.

                First, sheerness... From what i can tell, sheer fabrics were not much
                used in outer garments. Linen or cotton under garments were often
                *quite sheer*, based on both surviving garments and paintings from
                al-Andalus and the Persian and Ottoman Empires. Outer garments,
                however, were not sheer, other than head veils for women in some
                Islamic cultures.

                Outer garments were meant to present both a modest image and to show
                one's status. So unless one was a very devout and conservative
                Muslim, then one would have outer garments of the best fabric they
                could afford. Clearly that is your intent with intense colors and
                metallic threads, so you're on the right track.

                Next, the pattern in the fabric. The pattern looks good for Persian,
                if Persian paintings can be trusted to be close to reality (since
                what's shown in paintings is often different from designs on
                surviving fabrics). 15th and 16th C. Persian paintings often show
                both men and women wearing garments of a solid color with small gold
                motifs. Ottoman (if that is what you mean by Turkish) fabrics nearly
                always had VERY LARGE motifs (for example, a pattern might repeat
                only 1-1/2 times in a man's kaftan). So the fine motifs of this
                fabric are unsuitable for Ottoman. I am not sure about the Seljuks,
                as we have less material culture surviving from them - plenty of art,
                but fewer textiles.

                Third, the color is not particularly suitable for Arab or Ottoman
                garments (and i suspect not for Seljuk either). Purple was identified
                with the Christian Byzantines and therefore not used much in most
                Islamic cultures. The Persians often did things rather differently
                from the more Arabic cultures. However, i've never seen any actual
                purple Persian fabric. Also, the particular hue of purple (at least
                as it looks on my monitor) is very modern and not like what i've seen
                within SCA period.

                In Roman and early Islamic Egypt sometimes the tapestry woven clavi
                and segmentae on Roman style tunics were worked with "purple" wool.
                The color is now nearly black, but chemical analysis shows that often
                this wool was madder overdyed with indigo, which makes a dark
                brownish purple.

                The purple of clavi on important Roman men's togas and of Byzantine
                royal family garments was usually from murex (a sea snail, and which
                can give a range of colors from dark blue to purple to dark red). But
                to the best of my knowledge this dye was not used in the Islamic
                world.

                It is a beautiful fabric, but based on what i know, not really
                suitable for Near Eastern clothing, if you want authenticity. It
                might work for Indian - i know less about the Mughal/Moghul cultures
                than i do about cultures in the Middle and Near East.

                Re the blue sari:
                The color is a little closer to a "period" color. I can't tell what
                the scale of the motifs is, but they might be too small for Ottoman,
                so this might work for a garment from the Arab vestimentary system.

                Or are the blue and purple pictures from the same sari?
                In going back and re-reading your post, i think perhaps i am
                misunderstanding and these two pictures are parts of one cloth. If
                so, the colors appear quite different on my monitor, so i am not
                certain of what color the cloth is. However, if both are part of the
                same sari, it is still likely that the color is the modern so-called
                "purple", which is a blue violet and not "SCA-period", since dyes of
                this color only developed in the 19th century with the advent of
                synthetic dyes.

                Anyway, if you want a "purple" fabric, the more "period" color is
                that produced by some Indian lac insects. They make a color close to
                what in paint is called "purple lake", a color more like what we
                might call maroon or burgundy. And from what i can tell, this color
                is closer to what is meant by "purple" in period writing, and
                apparently still by the French today. What we call "purple" here in
                the US is a bluer color, called "violet" by the French, and available
                with the advent of purely synthetic dyes in the mid to late 19th
                century.

                >Second saree is pink(ish) silk with golden border
                >http://pics.livejournal.com/ignata/pic/0004g8yt/

                To me, the fuchsia looks a bit strong and synthetic for SCA clothing.
                I've seen muted rose colored silk in an early 17th century Ottoman
                garment (remember "dusty rose" from a few decades ago?), but it was
                not an intense color as this sari appears to be.

                Also, from what i can tell of my study of fabrics and garments of
                both the Near and Middle East, fully saturated colors were generally
                preferred, especially for reds. Yes, one can make a sort of "hot
                pink" from kermes, but from what i've seen of textiles of the
                SCA-period Islamic world, this was not a sought after color. It takes
                a LOT of kermes to give a strong red, so a saturated kermes/lac
                insect red was a way of showing off one's wealth, rather than a
                not-fully saturated fuchsia/"hot pink"/magenta/etc. Kermes was
                generally reserved for silk, although it will dye wool. Note that i'm
                speaking here of the Near and Middle East.

                For those who couldn't afford the rich cool-red of kermes or other
                lac insect dye there was madder root, which makes a warm-red and was
                rather commonly used. Madder can give a range of reds, from a rich
                warm red, a more orangey "tomato soup" red, a deep orange, red-brown,
                to a dark warm brown. More people could afford madder dyed fabric.
                Madder was used to dye wool, linen, and cotton, and less often for
                silk. The complex process later known to Europeans as "turkey red",
                was developed to dye linen and cotton.

                So if you want a reddish fabric, then a fully saturated red would be
                authentic, either a cool kermes (cochineal) red or a warm madder red,
                but this fuchsia doesn't look like a "period" color to me.

                As for other colors, indigo was generally used fully saturated, but
                less saturated indigo blues were also used. Besides being used on
                wool and silk, indigo was used to dye linen and cotton. Often a
                single linen or cotton fabric would have stripes - sometimes in both
                the warp and the weft - of two or three shades of indigo blue.

                Less saturated colors of all sorts show up as accent colors in
                complex brocades, especially in 16th century Persian and Ottoman
                Empires.

                To me the issue is less whether one can achieve certain colors with
                certain dyes, and more a question of whether people in a particular
                culture, in a particular time and place, actually wanted those less
                saturated colors.

                >Second problem is to decide that kind of dress to make if the silks
                >are ok to SCA-use :D

                In my opinion, if you want authenticity, the first thing to do is
                study the specific styles of garment fabrics - you don't need to know
                how to make them, unless you really want to :-) - but it helps to
                know what the fabrics of particular cultures and times period looked
                like BEFORE you go fabric shopping. Then it is much easier to buy
                suitable colors and patterns.

                We modern people have an amazing array of colors available to us
                today, both natural and synthetic. While modern natural dyers mix
                dyes from 5 or 6 continents all sorts of ways to create a wide range
                of colors, in the Near and Middle East of the SCA period, a much more
                limited range of colors was used. Overdyeing was used to produce some
                colors, such as a more colorfast green, but these were not the
                preferred dyes. For example, the Geniza documents from Fatimid Egypt
                indicate that green fabric (which was yellow, often weld, overdyed
                with indigo) was less expensive than fabric dyed with a single dye.

                I have a few examples of Persian fabrics on my web site:
                http://home.earthlink.net/~lilinah/Textiles/Actual_Persian_Fabrics/persianfabrics.html
                and slightly more examples of Ottoman fabrics:
                http://earthlink/~al-qurtubiyya/RealOttoFabric.html

                A good general reference for textiles in the Islamic world is:
                Patricia L. Baker.
                Islamic Textiles.
                London: British Museum Press, 1995.
                ISBN 0714125229

                It is out of print and not cheap. I recommend getting it via ILL
                (Inter-Library Loan). It is the best survey of the topic and had many
                lovely full color photos, as well as some info on dyes and textile
                techniques. If the Islamic world is your area of focus, and
                authenticity is your goal, it's worth having in your library.

                To sum up, neither the colors, patterns, or sheerness of these saris
                is very suitable for SCA-period garments in the Islamic world.

                These saris may be suitable for Mughal/Moghal clothing, but i know
                less about that cultural area. There is an SCA list devoted to
                SCA-perid India where you could ask:
                http://groups.yahoo.com/group/SCA_India

                --
                Urtatim (that's err-tah-TEEM)
                the persona formerly known as Anahita
              • Lilinah
                BTW, you re looking into the period of the Abbasid dynasty. Black is definitely NOT suitable for garments in this period, unless you are part of the ruling
                Message 7 of 20 , Mar 8, 2007
                  BTW, you're looking into the period of the 'Abbasid dynasty. Black is
                  definitely NOT suitable for garments in this period, unless you are
                  part of the ruling family, since black was "their" color and the
                  color of their flag.

                  --
                  Urtatim (that's err-tah-TEEM)
                  the persona formerly known as Anahita
                • Kathryn
                  Urtatim wrote: I have a few examples of Persian fabrics on my web site: http://home.earthlink.net/~lilinah/Textiles/Actual_Persian_Fabrics/persianfa
                  Message 8 of 20 , Mar 8, 2007
                    Urtatim wrote:
                    "I have a few examples of Persian fabrics on my web site:
                    http://home.earthlink.net/~lilinah/Textiles/Actual_Persian_Fabrics/persianfa
                    brics.html
                    and slightly more examples of Ottoman fabrics:
                    http://earthlink/~al-qurtubiyya/RealOttoFabric.html"

                    These links don't seem to work for me. Is there a fix?
                    Thanks, Kathryn


                    **************************************************************************
                  • Lilinah
                    ... My apologies. This one is case specific: http://home.earthlink.net/~lilinah/Textiles/Actual_Persian_Fabrics/PersianFabrics.html And on this one i left out
                    Message 9 of 20 , Mar 8, 2007
                      >Urtatim wrote:
                      >> I have a few examples of Persian fabrics on my web site:
                      > >
                      >http://home.earthlink.net/~lilinah/Textiles/Actual_Persian_Fabrics/persianfabrics.html
                      >> and slightly more examples of Ottoman fabrics:
                      > > http://earthlink/~al-qurtubiyya/RealOttoFabric.html
                      >
                      >These links don't seem to work for me. Is there a fix?
                      >Thanks, Kathryn

                      My apologies.

                      This one is case specific:
                      http://home.earthlink.net/~lilinah/Textiles/Actual_Persian_Fabrics/PersianFabrics.html

                      And on this one i left out several key parts of the address:
                      http://home.earthlink.net/~al-qurtubiyya/Fabric/RealOttoFabric.html

                      Sorry about that. And thanks for catching it.

                      --
                      Urtatim (that's err-tah-TEEM)
                      the persona formerly known as Anahita
                    • Beth and Bob Matney
                      ... Urtatim, I ve acquired a pretty good reference collection on textiles most of the Islamic cultures, but I m a bit weak on Persian. What references do you
                      Message 10 of 20 , Mar 8, 2007
                        At 01:59 PM 3/8/2007, Urtatim wrote:
                        >This one is case specific:
                        >http://home.earthlink.net/~lilinah/Textiles/Actual_Persian_Fabrics/PersianFabrics.html

                        Urtatim,

                        I've acquired a pretty good reference collection on textiles most of the
                        Islamic cultures, but I'm a bit weak on Persian. What references do you
                        suggest?

                        Most of my textile/costume reference books (though I have a long way to go
                        for other topics) are now cataloged online at www.librarything.com Search
                        for user "Castlegrounds".

                        Beth
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