Art Historian, Belgrade
OD KUĆNOG DVORIŠTA DO HAMAMA, SEDEFLI NANULE
FROM A COURTYARD TO A HAMMAM, MOTHER-OF-PEARL WOODEN TOE MULES
Journal 4/5/2008/2009 (Museum of Applied Art), pages 19-31
Abstract (original language):
Sedefli nanule, drvene, visoke papuče, bogatog ukrasa, sa dve potpetice, karakteristične su za čitavo područje Otomanskog carstva. Smatraju se delom ženskog građanskog kostima XIX veka u sredinama koje su prihvatile orijentalni način života. Svojom visinom i bogatstvom ukrasa odražavale su druš
Key words: (original language)
nanule, obuća, građanski ženski kostim, XIX vek, orijentalna gradska kultura, Balkan, Bliski istok, Otomansko carstvo
Introductory description of high toe mules (nanule) defines them as specific type of footwear made of wood and often richly decorated. The name for this kind of footwear – sedefli (sedef – mother of pearl) toe mules is derived from its costly decoration, most often made of mother of pearl. Then follows a description of Oriental life and dressing styles including particularities related to woman's urban costume during the nineteenth century Serbia.
In the chapter on Toe Mules, Hammam and Customs, the customs and rituals characteristic for going to a hammam (Turkish bath) are analysed including both the pictorial sources provided by European artists with illustrations of Turkish baths and written topical sources from national literature. Growth of the Ottoman Empire implied spreading of Oriental ways of life whereby toe mules were part of footwear not only in Turkey but also in Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Egypt and Tunisia. As for the Balkans, this type of footwear was habitual in Greece, Macedonia, Serbia, Kosovo and Metohija and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Pictorial sources (the oldest visual representation found is dated into the beginning of the sixteenth century) served as basis for chronology of toe mules wearing. It is generally understood that toe mules were primarily part of woman's costume and its use was linked with visits to a Turkish bath. However, visual and written sources as well as professional literature prove that toe mules were widely worn both in homes and beyond, in yards, on streets. They were likewise worn by men and children.
Catalogue entries related to toe mules kept in the Textile and Costume Department of the Museum of Applied Art in Belgrade provide information on materials used, decorative techniques and ornaments applied on lavishly decorated samples. Types of mules differ but they are all of similar size though their shape and decoration may differ.
Luxurious specimens of toe mules must have been produced by good craftsmen. Available literature helped writing the part of our paper dealing with distribution of toe mules and saddler workshops which are linked with toe mules manufacture. The concluding part of the paper treats the importance of wooden footwear in general, provides a reduced survey of wooden footwear distribution, in particular shoes with platforms produced and worn not only within the Balkans but also throughout Europe, Asia, Far East and Africa.
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