The Library section allows you to explore the background to the Odalisquian
world in more depth, with modern books you can buy and excerpts from contemporary
accounts of harems, slave markets etc, along with some Orientalist poetry from
- Odalisquian books
- A selection of books about odalisques, harems, orientalist painting, and
belly dance - all of which are available from Amazon. Each book title
is accompanied by its cover image and a description. You can use the
links to Amazon to read a range of reviews from people who have bought
- Bon's Seraglio -
the Ottoman Sultan's harem in 1607
- There is for this purpose a place in Constantinople,
near the Bezisten, where every wednesday, in the open
street, there are bought and sold slaves of all sorts,
and every one may freely come to buy for their several
uses; some for nurses, some for servants, and some for
their lustful appetites ...
- Dallaway's Constantinople, Ancient and
- The females of the seraglio are chiefly Georgian and Circassian
slaves, selected from all that are either privately bought, or exposed
to sale in the Avret Bazar, and, for many reasons, are admitted at
an early age. We may readily conclude that an assemblage of native
beauty so exquisite, does not exist in any other place ...
- Edward Lane's Modern Egyptians, 1836
- Very few of the Egyptians avail themselves of the licence, which
their religion allows them, of having four wives; ...
but some prefer the possession of an Abyssinian slave to the more expensive
maintenance of a wife; and keep a black slave-girl, or an Egyptian female
servant, to wait upon her, to clean and keep in order the apartments of the
hareem, and to cook ...
- M. Von Tietz St. Petersburg,
Constantinople, and Napoli di Romania, Vol II, 1837
- there is a gate, built in a high dark wall, which leads to the market of
female slaves ... it was by no means, nor under any circumstances, permitted to
a Christian to visit this market ...
- Allom and Walsh
Constantinople and the Scenery of Seven Churches of Asia, 1838
- The Aurut Bazaar, or Female Slave Market, stands in the quarter of
the city near the burnt column. It consists of a quadrangular edifice, including
a square area of about two hundred feet, surrounded with apartments. In
the front are platforms raised four or five feet from the ground, and
ascended by steps, forming a kind of colonade, and in the rear are latticed
windows. In the one, blacks and slaves of an inferior kind are kept and disposed
of; in the other those of a choicer quality, who are guarded with a more
jealous vigilance, and secluded from the public eye. ...
- Charles White Three years in
- Although it is extremely difficult for Franks, or even Rayas, to obtain
access to the houses where Circassian women are educated for sale, accident enabled
me, during the spring of 1842, to accompany a Turkish officer ...
- Sophia Lane-Poole's An Englishwoman in
- No person can imagine the strictness of the hareem
without adopting its seclusion, nor can a stranger form a
just estimate of the degree of liberty enjoyed by the
women without mixing in Eastern society. One thing is
certain, that if a husband be a tyrant, his wife is his
slave; but such cases are extremely rare ...
- Robert Curzon's Visits To Monasteries in
the Levant, 1849
- This custom of being
waited upon by the ladies is rather distressing to our European notions of
devotion to the fair sex: and I remember being horrified shortly after my
arrival in Egypt at the manners of a rich old jeweller to whom I was
introduced. His wife, a beautiful woman, superbly dressed in brocade, with
gold and diamond ornaments, waited upon us during the whole time that I
remained in the house ...
- Melek Hanum's Thirty years in a harem, 1872
- where a lady wishes to bring them up as her slaves, either
to accustom them to her service, or to re-sell them
at a profit when they are older ... their mistress
makes them dress becomingly, teaches them to conduct
themselves properly, and to speak the Turkish
language. Their attention is bestowed on the cultivation
of the particular talent by which they are
to distinguish themselves; such as music, dancing,
hairdressing, etc ...
- Aloysius Coll's A Quaternion of the Seraglio,
- Then let that woman be thy minister who makes thy glance her soul, thy wish her only
- Demetra Vaka-Brown Haremlik, 1909 and
A child of the Orient, 1914
- At the upper end of the trade the tradition continued whereby upper-class women
bought Circassian girls and educated them into cultivated and elegant women
to go as concubines and wives to elite harems, or trained them as dancers
and entertainers. Vaka Brown among others reports on this ...