Mellanöstern och Nordafrika Tidningen
Published On: Sat, May 5th, 2018

Popular Costumes of Turks in 1873

In 1873 the Turkish Imperial Commission for the Universal Exposition in Vienna published a beautifully illustrated, large-sized book entitled Les Costumes Populaires de la Turquie en 1873. It was published in Constantinople by the Levant Times & Shipping Gazette. The text was written by Hamdey Bey, the Commissaire Générale and Marie de Launary, a member of the Commission Impériale et du Jury Internationale. There are 42 sepia-tone photographs of individuals from every corner of the Turkish-speaking world at the time, including parts of central Europe.

If you have an interest in late 19th century Ottoman fashion, this book is a treasure trove. A pdf is available on I was able to examine an original copy in the library of the Institute for Social Anthropology of the Austrian Academy of Sciences; it is part of the collection from Dr. Walter Dostal.

Here is a chance to see how well you can guess the location and religion of individuals in the photographs. I have chosen seven photographs. Before you look at the details of who the people were, think about where you think they might be from and whether they were Muslim, Christian, Jewish or Druse. Examples of all these religions are in the images below. After you have gazed at the photographs, you can read who is who…

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To find out the answers, click here.

About the Author

- Anthropologist and historian with 40 years of experience researching and working in Yemen. Varisco is currently the President of the American Institute for Yemeni Studies, Senior Fellow at the Annemarie Schimmel Kolleg of Bonn University, and an expert advisor to MENA Tidningen.