The name Middle East is a misnomer, in that there is no one culture that covers the whole Middle East. I will put up links to the major empires and regions that I have found. If anyone finds anything that should be on the page, please let me know.
A Middle Eastern Clothing Primer, written by Woodrow Hill, is a good place to start from.
There are many museums that show their collections on-line. Some that contain Islamic art are The David Collection, The Textile Museum and the Ashmolean, which is linked to below. This is an Exhibition Catalogue Islamic Courtly Textiles & Trade Goods 14th-19th century, which is via Google Docs.
Arab Dress: a short history by Y. Stillman and N. Stillman is able to be read through Google Books. Preview only.
Islam in India and Pakistan by Annemarie Schimmel covers different cultural influences on garb and gives a glossary. Via Google Books, so preview only.
Women’s Costume of the Near and Middle East by Jennifer Scarce available through Google Books. Preview only.
Jews, Visigoths, and Muslims in medieval Spain: cooperation and conflict by Norman Roth covers a little of garb and the differences between Muslim, Jews and Christians in the Al-Andalus. Via Google Books.
This handout by Umm Hurayrah bint Khaalid (on Scribd) covers modern belly dance clothes, what not to wear and many pictures of period garb.
Costumes of the Levant by Margaret Clark Keatinge. An on-line book printed 1955.
The Art of Arabian Costumes by Heather Colyer Ross is available to read through Google books. Preview only.
There is a company in the U.S. called Reconstructing History which sell patterns for Medieval and Eastern Medieval clothing. Also for sale are the notes used to create the patterns.
‘Azzah and Aziza’s SCA Website, which has a small amount of Bedouin garb.
This is a site covering a little of Bedouin Costume, by Magistra Rosemounde of Mercia, Master Ronayne Blackwell, Lady Francesca d’Angelo, Mistress Maysun & Lady Marina MacChruiter. These are all SCA names though.
The Kelsey Online has three exhibits available to be viewed covering Egyptian textiles.
The Mongols by Catriona Macpherson. Covers a little of the garb.
This is a document available through Google Docs called L’Image Tisee, which covers textiles from Antiquity to the Renaissance.
This is from 1299-1923 AD, covering three continents at one stage. There are many books which cover the history of the Ottoman Empire but a digest is on Wikipedia. Many people know of the Ghawazee coat, but the Ghawazee were the lower class, street dancers who did not have the same clothes as the aristocracy. The Ghawazee coat known today, that goes under the bust, is an invention of the 1960s.
- Lady Cecile de Bretigny has written a pdf on Ottoman textiles
- (this one also covers Persian garb)
- And this site has European descriptions of Ottoman Garb
- This site covers different textiles used on the kaftans in the Topkapi museum. Done by Explore Turkey.
- This is a PDF on Google Docs called The Costumes of Ottoman Women.
- This is a LiveJournal entry about an SCAdian’s Turkish ensemble by 13costumes.
- This site covers the Karakalpak people of the Autonomous Republic of Karakalpakstan. The site includes history, costumes and even yurts. The site has different pages for female costume and male costume.
- This site is called Style and Status.
One of the oldest empires covering biblical times to 1921 AD. The Persians had many spats with the Byzantines and was invaded by Islamic conquerors in 644. The Mongols invaded Persia in 1218 and persisted until the 15th century. Mistress Safia’s Middle Eastern Garb Haven has some nice articles and some pattern pdfs. Also check out the post Persian Garb for Duchess Roxane Farabi Shahzadeh’s patterns (pdfs to download).
- Here is an actual 14th century dress
- Here is an SCA website from Master Rashid in the East Kingdom
- At Pennsic 2009, there was a Persian University!
- This site covers male Persian Garb, including underwear!
- And a pattern for a qaba
- Pre-Mongol Persian Garb, or Seljuk Turkish garb of the 11th & 12th century.
- Two pdf documents by Shelley Featherstone, aka Mistress Rosalynd of Thornabee on Tees about analysis of Persian patterns and Applications of the Persian Pattern Analysis.
Coptic (Ethiopian) and Early Egyptian Garb
Heavily influenced by the Roman Empire, it is quite hard to find many links to Coptic garb.
This is a link to an SCA blog by a lady named Greet. She has made a pdf document about Coptic embroidery.
Abbasid Silks of the Ninth Century by Ernst Kühnel. JStor article.
This is an article by the Bulletin of the Metropolitan Museum of Art about Coptic and Egypto-Arabic Textiles. Via Google Docs.
There is also a post covering Coptic children’s garb.
Here is a link to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. They have a picture up of a child’s Coptic tunic with embroidered ducks-
- There are some actual tunics and pieces of embroidery to be found at The Victoria and Albert Museum.
- This is a page by Master Rashid (Charles Mellor)- Nuts and Bolts: Tunic and Pants. This is based on Bishop Timotheos’ tunic and pants circa 1375. This is not in the Coptic period per se, but is Nubian. Mamluk period. This one is a Burnoose cloak. Although this site has more information.
- This article, done by Sorcha Valdimarsdottir, covers Coptic embroidery.
This one is another SCA blog. Lots of links (but I haven’t checked them out to see if they are live). There are also some Coptic links-
- This is Lady Meghan Elphinstone’s site, where she has many Byzantine patterns she has worked out.
Mamluk (late Egyptian)
This is from the 12th century until the 15th. After that, Egypt became part of the Ottoman Empire. Here is a digest version of the history.
This is a paper written by Jun-suk Kang, about the History of Textiles in Egypt.
The Ashmolean has many embroidery samples, with a wonderful zoom function. Please look!
The Arabs in Spain and Portugal came from the Maghreb or North African dynasties. Eventually they broke off from North Africa and became their own kingdom. Here is the wikipedia page.
- This is a site from a Lady Violante called the Moorish Maiden, which has a lot of costume research.
- A page with period pictures of garb in Christian Spain from Mistress Maddalena Jessamyn di Piemonte.
- Some Egyptian “blackwork” by Heather Rose Jones, including a very good how to guide.
- Introduction to Pattern Darning by Caryl de Trecesson (Carol Hanson), through Google Docs.
- Connected Hinterland by Lucy Blue, John Cooper, Ross Thomas and Julian Whitewright. About tiraz textiles.
- The Qantara site on Middle Eastern embroidery.
- This is a pdf through Google Docs covering Tiraz through central and south Asia.
- This is an article written by Baroness Rainillt de Bello Marisco called Embroidered Mamluk Tikka belt.
The Renaissance Tailor covers making felt slippers. Follow through the other links on the site for boot, pants, coat and jewelry.
The page has instructions on how to make a Fez, head wear used by both sexes.
This page was written by Timothy Dawson, called Levantia: Stepping Out covers both male and female headwear, with a large bibliography.
An electronic book, Max Tilke: Oriental Costumes. Written in 1922 and transformed into an electronic book by Celestina Wroth & Jian Liu, for the Reference Department, Indiana University Libraries 1997.
If interested in knitting, this covers Medieval Knitting. Via Google Docs, this is a pdf from a Tournaments Illuminated from 2008 and written by Chris Laning.