Women’s garb in the Maqâmât of al-Ḥarîrî

All images taken from one manuscript of the Bibliothèque nationale de France’s copy of the Les Maqâmât d’Aboû Moḥammad al-Qâsim ibn ʿAlî al-Ḥarîrî, known as manuscript Arabe 3929. The Maqâmât (or “Assemblies”) are 50 stories, written in the mid 13th century C.E. in northern Syria. The prose is written in the style known as saj’, meant to be learnt by rote and recited to others by heart.

This image of of the hero of the story Abu Zayd (on the right of the image) and his wife. This is Image f40 in the manuscript.

This image is Abu Zayd and his wife being arrested. Taken from Image f49 in the manuscript.

Abu Zayd appearing as an old woman. Taken from Image f85 in the manuscript.

Another picture of Abu Zayd as an old woman. Taken from Image f88 in the manuscript.

Abu Zayd appearing before the Kadi. The picture is taken from Image f279 in the manuscript.

The Kadi dispensing justice to Abu Zayd and his wife. Taken from Image f285 in the manuscript.

This is the slave of Abu Zayd. Taken from Image f313 from the manuscript.

Recommended Reading

Medieval Sourcebook: Al Hariri of Basrah by Paul Halsall. The first 12 Assemblies.

LibriVox- Excerpts from the Makamat. Public domain audiobook.

Orality, writing and the image in the Maqamat: Arabic illustrated books in context by Alain F. George. Via Academia.edu.

In Pursuit of Shadows: Al-Hariri’s Maqāmāt by David J. Roxburgh. First printed in Muqarnas: An Annual on the Visual Cultures of the Islamic World 30 (2013): 171-212. Via Archnet.

Arab Dress: From the dawn of Islam to modern times by Yedida Stillman. Via the Internet Archive.

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A digitized copy of the Mishneh Torah

The Bodleian Library has digitized a manuscript of Moses Maimonides‘s authorised work Mishneh Torah which had been written 1168 C.E. to 1178 C.E.

Containing 14 books with almost 1,000 chapters, Maimonides drew on the Mishnah, Tosefta, Midrash and Talmud. Considered one of the greatest works on Jewish theological studies meaning the Mishneh Torah is still studied today.

The manuscript can be seen here.

Another digitized manuscript from the British Library can be read here.

Maimonides other great work is the Guide for the Perplexed, a treatise using Jewish tradition (based on the Talmud etc) and rational philosophy.

This image is a 14th century illumination of the work, while the original was written around 1186 C.E to 1190 C.E. A popular translation done in 1903 is available for download here.

Recommended reading
Maimonides: The Life and World of One of Civilization’s Greatest Minds Joel L. Kraemer. Via Google Books.

Hebrew Scholarship and the Medieval World edited by Nicholas de Lange. Via Google Books.

Hebrew Manuscripts of the Middle Ages by Colette Sirat. Via Google Books.

Sephardic and Mizrahi Jewry: From the Golden Age of Spain to Modern Times edited by Zion Zohar. Via Google Books.

A pattern darned textile

ashmoleanslantedpatterndarning This textile was thought to have been made in Egypt between the 10th and 15th century C.E. It is linen embroidered in dark blue silk in a pattern darning stitch. The textile is 29 cm by 33 cm, with three hemmed sides (in flax) and one side the selvedge.

The design has four prominent parallel lines, which has the design running in one direction, as grouped by the two sides. The broken parallel lines (that look as though they run behind the first four lines) have the design reversing.

The textile can be seen at the Ashmolean Museum.

I have charted the design. If you are concerned over the directions of the design please check out the extant on the above link!

ashmoleanslantingpatterndarning PDF

Let me know how the chart works!

A possible sleeve embroidery

ashmoleanchevron This textile was made in Egypt between the 10th and 15th century. It is linen embroidered in dark blue silk. On the left of the textile is a rolled hem sewn in flax. The size of the textile is 11cm by 5 cm. It is currently in the Ashmolean Museum.

I have charted up the design and it is available for download in pdf format.

ashmoleanchevron (PDF)

I would love to see pictures!

A fourth possible shirt embroidery

ashmoleantreesandtiraz This textile was thought to have been made between the 10th and 15th centuries C.E. in Egypt. It is linen, embroidered in blue silk in double running stitch. The size of the textile is 26.5 cm by 9.5 cm. In the middle of the textile there is a roll and fell seam sewn in flax, possibly from a shirt. The tiraz is in Kufic script, which translates as “blessing”.

The textile is currently in the Ashmolean Museum.

I have charted up the design & it is available for download as a pdf document.

ashmoleantreesandtiraz (pdf)

I would love to see any garb with this design!

A third possible tunic embroidery

ashmoleantunic2 This textile is Egyptian, made between the 10th and 15th century. It is 47 cm long and 5 cm wide. It is linen embroidered with tree designs in blue silk and a hem in brown silk. There are also two seams, one flat felled in the textile. It is currently in the Ashmolean Museum.

I have charted up the tree design. It is available in pdf format.
ashmoleantunic2 (pdf)

More tunic inspiration!

A textile with a diagonal grid embroidery

ashmoleandiagonalgrid This textile was thought to have been made between the 10th-15th century C.E. in Egypt. It is 23 long and 20 cm wide. The textile is linen embroidered with blue silk in a double running stitch. There is a visible rolled hem on the bottom left of the textile, which had been sewn with flax.

The textile is made up of two pieces of linen sewn together using flax in a flat seam. The textile is currently in the Ashmolean Museum.

I have charted up the embroidery for use. It is in pdf format.

ashmoleandiagonalgrid (pdf)