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

"St. Petersburg, Constantinople, and Napoli di Romania, Vol II" (1837) by Von Tietz

Von Tietz's visited the slave market in Constantinople:

"In the row of the fruit-dealers booths there is a gate, built in a high dark wall, which leads to the market of female slaves, generally; and through this we ventured. Not far from the entrance stood, enclosed by low palings, some young female negroes, from 12 to 14 years of age, who were but scantily furnished with clothing. That they were of the gentler sex I was soon apprised by my companions, who had sharper eyes for this purpose than I. Two old Turks were occupied in closely inspecting the luxurious figures of these poor creatures, whom the slave-dealer recommended to them as meritorious articles. The black Venuses had scarcely caught a glimpse of me, when with loud cries, they entreated me to purchase them, by which they exposed me to the notice of the two virtuosi and the slave-dealer, the latter of whom ran up to me with many reproaches, and urged me immediately to quit the place. This, however, I did not exhibit the least inclination to do, and when the Turks saw they could not persuade me to quit the market, one of them disappeared, shortly after returning with an officer, who seemed to be on guard, and who loaded my companions with abuse for having guided me thither. He also apprised me politely in Italian, that it was by no means, nor under any circumstances, permitted to a Christian to visit this market; and informed me at the same time, if I wished to purchase a donna, I must apply to a true believer, who could conclude the bargain for me; as a giaour - which term, however, he instantly exchanged for a Christiano, - was not allowed to buy for himself. Thinking that he was probably not much skilled in reading, I presented him with my firman, as a blind; which, however, he smilingly returned, with the remark that he had all possible respect for it; but that, from its being filled up expressly for the sacred Aja Sophia, it by no means extended to the unholy Avret-bazaar. I could say nothing farther, and was therefore obliged to content myself with stealing a few parting glimpses at this same flesh-market."