Ethnic Jewels

An appreciation of ethnic jewellery and adornment

Originally posted by Linda Pastorino. I am struck by the belts worn by these Albanians - particularly aesthetically, for the way they resemble belts made of leather, brass and carnelians worn by the "Arnauten" mercenaries (bodyguards for Ottoman rulers) from Albania.

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Comment by Joost Daalder on March 18, 2015 at 23:02

Thanks, Alaa. It is not the ones in blue trousers who interest me, but the others. As I said, I am interested in those stylistically, and not because I expect them to be metal/leather/carnelian belts. I'd like a clearer picture, for the belts in the illustration I posted do not look at all like what you post below. As to the woman further below: yes, the stones might well be carnelians, and I would think that this is yet another example of a belt influenced by, but obviously not identical to, the "Arnauten" type - a modification, in other words. As to the website: that does not come up when you click on it. By the way, I read French fluently. // Linda: you certainly have no good grounds for rejecting the very firm and reliable Kittsee evidence - none whatever, other than your own whim, and the belief, it seems, that because (as I have never denied) women wore these belts (at least in the 19th c) men could not have done so. It is not a matter of either/or. As to the Egyptian paintings, in that instance there is more to argue about, but there has been no good reason produced as to why the three paintings of guards wearing the belts should not be accepted as evidence, and the overlap between their being guards (cf. the Montenegrin body guard) and their wearing the belts (very probably introduced into Egypt by Arnauten) seems strongly suggestive to me. In the one instance when another man wears the belt in another picture that does not seem a guard, but it is still a male who wears it. Not on any picture, it seems, does a woman wear this type of belt. So we would have to assume that the painters were systemetically perverse in making men wear them, at a time when in the Balkans women wore them, which is a priori extremely unlikely. Why would the painters have been so systematic about it? Deliberately wrong every time? Deliberately perverse every time? By far the most likely scenario remains, taking all the evidence into account, that both women and men wore these belts. To produce lots of photos of men wearing sashes does non in any way establish that there weren't other men who did wear leather belts with carnelians - particularly if they were bodyguards. At Kittsee, the first curator was not the only one reporting on the belts as worn - and very specifically! - by bodyguards. At a later stage, Mais, the most learned specialist on Oriental art in Vienna and for that matter Austria, re-examined the matter and, fully aware of female wear (which he originally championed) concluded that the origin of these belts lay with the Arnauten. You just wave such statements, which do not confirm you own view, aside quite casually, as though they are just air, and as though the earlier curator was ignorant or a liar, going so far as (the other day) to accuse that person of "concocting" his evidence. That kind of outright and ill-considered rejection is not going to persuade anyone with rational, patient and scholarly inclinations. There is no reason for you to believe that Mais, in particular, who was an outstanding researcher, would not have done his work extensively and thoroughly. He carried on work on this issue over many years. I keep an open mind, myself - that seems to me what scholarship demands. So far, I think we have indications in both directions. The best evidence for female wear, I believe, is Edith Durham's, and personally I accept that, as you have known for some years. I think I have as little reason for rejecting that as the Kittsee evidence. In both cases the evidence seems very deliberate, careful, and responsible to me. But as I said before, I shall come back to Durham's further - just haven't had the time yet, but will do soon.

Comment by Alaa eddine SAGID on March 18, 2015 at 21:01

The legend of the postcard got me keywording in french in google and i got tens of picture of these especially those with blue trousers.

it is a simple red and whitish sash like the one worn in the following pictures

On this last picture woman on the left is wearing yet another red stones stud metal belt (carnelians again?)

While looking for pictures i also found this stunning complete webpage dedicated to janissaries from the 14th to late 19th century with heaps of pictures.

Could be helpful for your further researches even if they are not directly related to "arnauten"

The text is in french so you could use an online translator at least for picture legends



Created by Cordelia Donohoe Apr 10, 2017 at 4:03pm. Last updated by Cordelia Donohoe Apr 17, 2017.


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