Odalisques blog

The Female Slave Market in Constantinople (1 Mar)
From the slave market to the sultan's bedchamber (17 Feb)
Buying a new slave for your harem (4 Feb)
Odalisquian books list now on Odalisques.com (29 Jan)
Edward Lane's descriptions and drawings of female clothing (27 Jan)
more posts...


"The Arab Scribe" by J.F. Lewis, 1852
"The Bath" by J.L. Gerome, in the Legion of Honor, San Francisco
"Odalisque" by Max Nonnenbruch
"By order of the sultan" by Antonio Fabres
"Idle Moments" by Frederick Arthur Bridgman, 1875
more pictures...


more books...

© Tanos

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Odalisques blog

Posts about Orientalist paintings and about Odalisquian styles of O&P within the context of The Octagram.

1 Mar 14   The Female Slave Market in Constantinople

When the Ottoman Turks captured Constantinople in 1453 they kept the city's ancient name, and it only changed to "Istanbul" during the Turkish republic in the 1920s. The Ottoman Empire was built on slavery in many ways, not only because the bureaucracy and professional army were staffed by male slaves conscripted in the provinces, but also because the Sultans themselves were the sons of slave concubines kept in the Imperial Harem. [more...]

17 Feb 14   From the slave market to the sultan's bedchamber

"Magnificent Century" ("Muhtesem Yuzyil") is a long running Turkish television drama about the reign of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent in the 16th century, including the life of the women in his harem. I've posted about watching the first episode, and included its bastinado scene in a post about making a falaka stick. Recently I watched Episode 65, the second installment of season 3, which includes that bastinado punishment, and I've collected clips which tell the story of another [more...]

4 Feb 14   Buying a new slave for your harem

Let us imagine that you have an opportunity to buy a female slave in 19th century Cairo or Istanbul. What advice would be useful to you? What should you look for, and how should you act? Even if you are never approached by a mad man in a blue box to go on such an trip, some of this advice might be useful in the present day whenever you find yourself in possession of a new slave. [more...]

29 Jan 14   Odalisquian books list now on Odalisques.com

I've added a page to Odalisques.com with a selection of books about odalisques, harems, orientalist painting, and belly dance. Each book has a description, usually from the publisher via Amazon, and a cover photograph.

27 Jan 14   Edward Lane's descriptions and drawings of female clothing

I've updated the page of selections from "Modern Egyptians" to include Edward Lane's description of what different classes of women were wearing in the 1830s. This update includes 8 of the illustrations from his book. [more...]

18 Jan 14   Recent Odalisques group threads on FetLife

We've had some really interesting discussions on the Odalisques group on FetLife recently. As usual we have a mix of posts about paintings and photographs, and about ways we can use ideas from the Odalisquian world in modern-day M/s, D/s, or O&P relationships. These are some of the topics from this year so far: [more...]

15 Jan 14   Viewing "An inmate of the hareem, Cairo" and "The Hhareem, Cairo" at the V&A

I recently had an opportunity to view two of J.F. Lewis's paintings at the Victoria and Albert Museum collection which are not normally on display. In the foreground is "An inmate of the Hareem, Cairo" of 1858; in front of my laptop is a preparatory study for "The Harem of a Mameluke Bey, Cairo: The Introduction of an Abyssinian Slave" from about 1850. The study only shows the harem master and his attendant women seated on the divan, and does not include the new slave girl slipping [more...]

12 Jul 13   Training odalisques

The definition of an odalisque that I've always used includes the concept of training: a female slave in a harem, trained to serve her master's pleasure, and assigned to sexual rather than domestic duties. This training is one aspect of the odalisquian world which can be adapted to modern O&P relationships, to form a basis for our own efforts to improve and mould submissives to be pleasing. But where was that training done? And what did it consist of? To answer these question we must follow the journey taken by new slave girls in large cities like Istanbul and Cairo. [more...]

28 Apr 13   Brass anklets for slaves and wives

Solid brass anklets appear in several different places in the Odalisquian world, and still appear in modern day slavery in parts of Africa. I've pulled together some of these appearances, not least because anklets are so popular as symbols of ownership in O&P and M/s relationships. [more...]

26 Apr 13   Turkish Delight

No harem room is complete without a bowl of Turkish delight at hand and a slave to keep it refilled. I've loved the stuff since a girlfriend brought me some back from Istanbul years ago. Now I have this brass bowl from Turkey in my own Hareem and always have a box or two in a draw of the sideboard. [more...]

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