Originally Posted by Oliver Pinchot
Regarding Orientalist paintings as reference materials: though there are exceptions, almost none of the Orientalists painted from life. While the details of individual weapons and other objects can be very useful, it would be wise to approach the context cautiously. Race, ethnicity, architecture, locale, costume and the particular juxtaposition of a group of arms in a given painting are almost entirely unreliable, since they were usually composed by the artist in order to achieve an aesthetic, rather than historical, sensibility.
Oliver, my research on the subject of the possible use of the carnelian belts in Khedival Egypt shows that many Orientalist painters actually traveled to the Middle East, especially Egypt. Many went out of their way to accurately represent what they saw, of course there many Orientalist painters but I can only find 5 that painted men wearing these carnelian belts.
I have a Pinterest page with all 12 painting by the 5 artists which show these belts, anyone can check the histories of the individual painters and see if they did travel to the Middle East or not. I have included all of the known photos of women wearing these belts as well.
While it is known that these were a womens belt in the Balkans, the question is whether a man was ever seen wearing one of these carnelian belts in Khedival Egypt or did one of the Orientalist painters suddenly just start painting a man wearing one of these belts for no reason other than he liked the belt.