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

from Dallaway's Constantinople, Ancient and Modern, 1797

"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.

The Avret Bazar consists of an inclosed court, with a cloister and small apartments surrounding it. It is supplied by female slaves brought from Egypt, Abyssinia, Georgia and Circassia, who are exposed to sale every Friday morning. Those from the first mentioned countries are generally purchased for domestic services, which, in a menial capacity, no Turkish woman will condescend to perform; their persons or countenances are rarely beautiful, and their price seldom exceeds forty pounds English. The exquisite beauty of the others is enhanced by every art of dress and oriental accomplishments, and they are usually sold for several thousand piastres. Many reserved for the seraglio, where though they are considered as fortunate."