|"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|
A detail of Bridgman's painting of a domestic harem scene showing a soldier enjoying the company of two of his slaves in his home. His guns and saddle have been hung up on the left, while he takes his pipe and coffee, and plays a game of draughts with one of the girls.
The man has the distinctive shaved head, scalp knot, and impressive mustache of the elite Janissary infantry regiment in the Turkish Ottoman empire, but the military saddle suggests a cavalry unit. The Janissaries were originally Christian boys, separated from their families, enslaved, and subject to a strict regime of physical, mental and religous instruction which instilled fanatical loyalty to the Sultan as Caliph of Islam. Over time they became a privileged caste, living in their own homes rather than barracks, their sons able to join the regiment, pursuing non-military trades, and using their power to protect their own status rather than to fight the Sultan's wars. Bridgman's painting of a soldier devoting his tactical energies to games of draughts rather than to battles may be intended to represent this decline.
Last modified 14 Jun 14, 8:53 PM by Tanos