A Circassian lady
From "Visits To Monasteries in the Levant"
by Robert Curzon, 1849. Expensive slave girls were imported into Egypt from the European fringes of the Black Sea including Circassia. Trained and bought as odalisques, they could rise to be a high status companion of their master and so a lady even if still a slave. In some cases they would go on to be freed and married.
"Dance of the Almeh", Jean-Leon Gerome, 1863
Part of Gerome's painting showing a professional dancer performing for the pleasure of a group of soldiers in a cafe in Egypt. By the mid 19th century, the term almeh was used for the ghawazi women who danced in public and could be hired for private parties perhaps with sexual services included. Much later this tradition of dancing evolved into the cafe and cabaret belly dancing in Egypt that gave rise to modern belly dancing around the world. Gerome painted many almehs, but this is one of the few who is actually dancing. Most of his almehs are looking seductive in a street scene, in a way that [more...
"Water carrier" by Isaac Snowman
A domestic slave goes out to fetch water. She has a shawl ready to veil her face from any man but her master, and her body is adorned with cheap bangles and jewelery, but her low status keeps her barefoot even out doors.