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Old 10th July 2020, 12:09 PM   #1
gp
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Default cold weapons and Orientalism

Orientalism in art was a fashionable perception and hence subjective "imitation" of the reality and nothing to do with the scientific studies of the likes of T.E. Lawrence and Gertrude Bell and departments of universities we have knowadays.

Neverthelss some paintings can be interesting as an additional visualisation of certain items.

Like this painting from 1900 called "The Nubian Guard" by the Austrian / Habsburg painter Ludwig Deutsch

Question I have is;

- did the painter use his artistic freedom and incorporate items he collected
( which he was known for and also something Rembrand also did...)
- or weapons he saw during his travels in Egypt?
- or got inspired by paintings from fellow painters
(f.i. "the Bash Bazouks by Paja Jovanovic) ?

Looking at this painting, the yataghan does look to me like an Ottoman Bosnian one based upon the look of the hilt decorated with the coral stones, the scabbard partially covered in a red velvet-like cloth (similar to a yataghan I have from the "Bosniaken" Inf. Reg. period 1882-1916).
But then again I do not know how yataghans and bichaqs looked in Egypt between 1880-1900....

So what do you guys think is the origin of this yataghsan ?
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Old 14th July 2020, 03:58 AM   #2
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I can not comment on the Yataghan but the item worn beside it in the first 2 pics, is definitely a Dharia dagger from Hijaz region of modern day Saudi Arabia. I have no idea on the lance/spear he is carrying. The right hand pic is not the same as the other 2 as the knife by the Yataghan is different and the clothing colour is also not the same. Also the pistol has a ball butt whereas the ones in the other pics do not.
It would appear to me that there is quite a regional mixture of weapons here and some editing of the pics also.
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Old 14th July 2020, 04:59 AM   #3
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Popular paintings were often copied by the original painter, frequently by their students or employees assigned to such tasks so more people could own a copy. They were frequently signed by the original artist as a stamp of approval, and often contained slight variations. As You note Rembrandt, he was a one who did this. They had quite a production line I've read. A renaissance version of the photo-copy.
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Old 18th July 2020, 12:34 AM   #4
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On top of that, oils were not painted "on the spot".
Painters made more or less detailed sketches with the live models, but painted the final drafts in their studios in Europe. It would be virtually impossible to convince some Nubian guard to pose immobile for several hours day after day, to account for the changes in daylight etc. In their studios they had collections of oriental things, including weapons, and just selected the flashiest examples from the hoard.
Thus, the weapons in the finished painting had nothing to do with the real stuff. By the same token, the dresses, their colors etc were painted according to the painters' artistic whims.

And I am not even talking about orientalist painters being allowed to visit harems and see naked wives of local honchos dancing or taking a bath:-)

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Old 18th July 2020, 04:09 AM   #5
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This is an excellent and well posed question!
I very much agree with the previous entries, and 'orientalism' was a romantic fascination with exotica popular in art and literature. As noted, Rembrandt had quite a collection of arms and armor and used modern (of the time) weapons such as keris in his 'Biblical works to add to artistic effect and drama.

As also noted, various weapons, costume and figures were drawn in 'studies' where they were later compiled collectively in a finished work. It is well known that items, features, even characters were taken from other extant works to include in the artists portrayal. I have seen numbers of cases where works were shown in comparison to other works the elements have been taken from.

In the Ottoman situation, it is tempting to note the remarkable diversity of their forces and to consider that a subject figure might have weapons from the many sources of arms coming together in such context. While possible, it was not necessarily the case, nor certainly the norm, so it is more likely the items portrayed here are essentially 'license' in my opinion.
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Old 22nd July 2020, 05:31 AM   #6
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These Orientalist paintings are wonderful, artists like Schreier and Gérôme could really evoke a romantic mood of an idealized East, almost wish you could be there despite the sandstorms, broiling heat, and occasionally being kicked by an irate camel.

But for reasons already cited, this art is NOT a reliable ethnographic reference source! Any more than we can rely on Hollywood to depict history anywhere near what it actually was, or would have been.

Photos are a more certain bet, but not necessarily so. Some photographers set up their shots with local models appropriately tarted up and equipped. You have to look carefully at the details. And it's best to delve into the historical backstory of the place and era, and have a certain familiarity with other aspects of the material culture of that particular civilization -- that way if you find anomalies, you can apply a bit of analysis and decide for yourself.
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Old 22nd July 2020, 09:05 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Philip
...

Photos are a more certain bet, but not necessarily so. Some photographers set up their shots with local models appropriately tarted up and equipped. ...


Yup, American Civil War personal photos were usually taken by photographers that would tart them up by adding a firearm for them to hold or a knife to stick thru their belt in an inappropriate place "for the photo", which was from his own props and not selected for accuracy. Some posed photos by travellers have the same look "Could you move that knife a bit more to the right please, I can't see it too good in the viewfinder".
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Old 22nd July 2020, 05:03 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kronckew
Yup, American Civil War personal photos were usually taken by photographers that would tart them up by adding a firearm for them to hold or a knife to stick thru their belt in an inappropriate place "for the photo", which was from his own props and not selected for accuracy. Some posed photos by travellers have the same look "Could you move that knife a bit more to the right please, I can't see it too good in the viewfinder".


Yes indeed, I had overlooked Civil War America when writing my post. But how true! Photography was the hot new thing at the time, of course, and we know that human creativity has few bounds.

Years of looking for and at period photos of the Far East and the Subcontinent, I've become attuned to spotting the pinned-up bedsheet backdrops, ill-fitting bits of clothing, awkward poses of men who look like they spent their careers pushing brooms rather than wielding swords, their bodies draped with an assemblage of bazaar-grade armor and armament that would seriously hamper their movement in a duel or in battle. Ethnographic comic relief, I call it.
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Old 23rd July 2020, 03:53 PM   #9
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Nothing better exemplifies the falsity of the "orientalist" presentation of the reality than the actual photographs. Here are couple of Orientalist pictures of the odalisques in a local harem and the photographs of the harem made personally by shah Nasser-el Din Qajjar.
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Old 23rd July 2020, 05:12 PM   #10
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The one in the last photo with the moustache and long hair looks cute. Looks a lot like me, tho I'm a bit greyer.

I was just reading a notation that Pol Pot (Khmer Rouge) used to sneak into the king's Harem and play bumpity-bump with the king's concubines. Usually not an activity one chooses for a long life. Worked for him tho. Maybe the King was happy someone else was servicing his uglies?
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Old 29th August 2020, 02:27 AM   #11
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The painting and the pictures have no relationship whatsoever! I believe the painting is depicting an Ottoman hamam and not a bath in Persia. It is very realistic and possible to find hot redehads or blondes in the Turkish placae because the palace was full of them! they were all being brought from the Balkans and lower Russian republics like Abhazia Tataristan or Moldova or even Crimean. If you look at the mothers of almost 90% of all Ottoman Sultans' mothers you will see they are all Eastern European origin.. anyone interested I can send you a full list Sultans preferred marrying these non-Turkish women to prevent struggles for the throne among the family members..and for the same reason often got their siblings, sons or uncles murdered. If their mom didnt have an extended family to uprise or protest, it was a lot easier to do..


Quote:
Originally Posted by ariel
Nothing better exemplifies the falsity of the "orientalist" presentation of the reality than the actual photographs. Here are couple of Orientalist pictures of the odalisques in a local harem and the photographs of the harem made personally by shah Nasser-el Din Qajjar.
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Old 27th October 2020, 10:09 PM   #12
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some more paintings by Italian Jiulio Rosati and French painter Jean-Léon Gérôme
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Old 27th October 2020, 10:51 PM   #13
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I like the tired Santa Claus (Father Xmas in UK) who has all the pistols, and a hubbly-bubbly (houkah pipe).
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Old 3rd November 2020, 07:19 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kronckew
I like the tired Santa Claus (Father Xmas in UK) who has all the pistols, and a hubbly-bubbly (houkah pipe).


really..? hope he hasn't got a jealous wife as one of the pistols is pointing at a quite vulnerable spot...
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Old 4th November 2020, 06:05 AM   #15
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Unless he is rather well-endowed, the pistol looks like it will hit him in the thigh, probably puncturing his inferior vena cava, and he'd bleed out in less than a minute. Even if well-endowed, it's hit him there after passing thru his thingy. I live by a maxim that I will never point a gun at something I do not want to kill. Especially if it is me. Even unloaded.
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