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ets—aprons of fig-leaves, man's first vain invention to hide the nakedness of sin. Coats of skin, given in mercy by our heavenly Father—cloaks, mantles, shirts, breeches, girdles, bonnets, and sandals, invented at various dates, and most of them consecrated to religious purposes by Moses in the garments of the Hebrew priesthood—these constitute almost the entire wardrobe for the first three thousand years of man's history. The fact is, that the whole subject is much more doubtful and obscure than most people suppose. The ancient Hebrew costume is thought to have resembled, more or less closely, the Oriental dress of our day. But which ? I would like to know. It differs more than that of Western nations. We shall select that of the Syrian Arab, which in all probability does actually approach nearest to that of the patriarchs; and with the aid of engravings, accompanied by explanations, the size and shape of the various articles, as well as the ordinary mode of wearing them, will be sufficiently apparent. You need not attempt to remember, or even pronounce the Arabic names; but it is difficult to talk about nameless things, and therefore we can not dispense with these hard words.
LIST OF GARMENTS, WITH THEIR ARABIC NAMES EXPLAINED.
Kūmis, inner shirt of cotton, linen, or silk. Those of the Bedawîn are long, loose, and made of strong cotton cloth, the most important item in their wardrobe.
Libās, inner drawers of cotton cloth.
Dikky, a cord or sash with which the pantaloons are gathered and tied round the waist.
Suderiyeh, an inner waistcoat, without sleeves, buttoned up to the neck.
Mintiān, an inner jacket worn over the suderîyeh, overlapping in front, has pockets for purse, handkerchief, &c.
Gumbāz or Küftān, long open gown of cotton or silk, overlapping in front, girded tightly above the loins by the zūnnār.
Zúnnār, girdle of leather, camels' hair, cotton, silk, or woolen shawls. Sūlta, an outer jacket worn over the gumbaz.
Kübrān, a stout, heavy jacket, with open sleeves fastened on at the shoulder by buttons.
Jibbeh, Júkh, Benish, a long loose robe or mantle, with short sleeves, very full, used in full dress.
'Aba, 'Abaiyeh, Meshleh, a strong, coarse cloak, of various forms and materials. The 'abaiyeh is often short and richly ornamented with gold and silver thread inwoven with the cloth. The most common are made of black sackcloth, of goats' or camels' hair, very large, so that the owner wraps himself in it to sleep.
Búrnús, long loose cloak of white wool, with a hood to cover the head. It is sometimes called mūgrabîn, from the Algerîn Arabs.
For the head there is, first, the 'Arūkiyeh or Takiyeh, a cotton cap fitting closely to the head, whether shaven or not. If the head is shaved, a soft felt cap is often worn under the takîyeh.
Tarbush or Fez, a thick red felt cap. The best come from Algiers.
Turban, a shawl of wool, silk, or cotton, wound round the tarbush. The Turks now wear nothing but the fez, and many Arabs nothing but the tarbush, with its long tassel. Others have a small colored handkerchief (mandeel) tied round the tarbush. The Bedawîn have a heavier article, woven with golden tissue, thrown over the tarbush, and confined there by a twisted rope of goats' or camels' hair, called 'Akal. This is a picturesque and very distinctive article in the costume of a genuine Arab of the Desert.
For the feet there is, first,
Bābúje, a kind of half slipper, answering in part to the ancient sandal, which is not now used.
Jezmeh, boots of red morocco, very stout and clumsy.
There are many variations and additions to this list in different parts of the vast regions inhabited by the Arab race; they are, however, only slight departures from the general types and patterns given above, and need not be described. The Mamlûk dress is considered very graceful by Europeans. It is the official costume of the army and navy of Egypt, or was in the days of Mohammed Ali.
To the Biblical student, these matters are specially interesting so far only as they throw light on the sacred Scriptures; but this they do in very many passages. For example, it was the 'aba or meshleh, I suppose, with which Shem and Japheth covered the nakedness of their father.' It was the jibbeh that Joseph left in the hands of that shameless wife of Potiphar, called Zuleîka, according to Moslem tradition. This jibbeh may answer to the mantle which fell from Elijah, and was taken up by Elisha ;3 to the cloak, in the precept, If a man will sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also. The coat is probably the sălta. It was this jibbeh that our Saviour laid aside when he washed the feet of the disciples. It can 1 Gen. ix. 23. ? Gen. xxxix. 12.
3 2 Kings ii. 8, 13. 4 Matt. v. 40.
5 John xiii. 4. VOL. I.-H
be so worn or taken off, or torn in grief or rage, as to answer every mention of it in the Bible. The same remark applies to the zŭnnār or girdle, to the sŭrmaiyeh and bābûj—the shoes and sandals—and, in fact, to all other articles of dress which we have described.
By the time of Moses, the costume, I presume, had attained to about its present state among tribes purely Oriental ; I mean as to pattern, not as to the number, nature, and
quality of the materials. These have greatly multiplied and improved, both in variety and fineness of fabrics.
The toilet of the ladies corresponds in most respects to that of the men, with, of course, certain additions. As was to be expected, it developed faster than the other. Even during the life of Jacob there were habits appropriate to maids, others to married women, and others again for widows; such, too, as distinguished those who were honest, and another habit for those who were
otherwise. This implies a great variety in female attire; and
thus it went on enlarging, until their toilets became as complicated and mysterious in Jerusalem as they now are in Paris or New York. In the 3d chapter of Isaiah we have a catalogue, about as intelligible to the English reader as the Hebrew seems to have been to our translators: Cawls, round tires like the moon, sweet balls, mufflers or spangled ornaments, tablets or houses of the soul, etc., etc., etc. It would require half a volume to discuss these names, and then they would be about as unintelligible as when we began.
I can not muster sufficient courage to enter minutely into the female costume, nor is it necessary. It varies from that of the men mostly in the veils, which are very various,
and in the head-dress, which, with the tarbush for the basis, is complicated by an endless variety of jewels and other ornamental appendages; these, however, appear in the engravings, and can be better studied there than on the
who wear them.
You will not easily get permission to inspect them there. To ask it would be, in most cases, a serious in. sult.
It is a remarkable fact, that after the first mention of coats in Genesis iii. 21, we hear no more about garments of any kind for sixteen or eighteen hundred years. Shem and Japheth, after the
Deluge, had a garment so 1 Isa. iii. 18-23.