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By Yedida Stillman, Norman Stillman

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Additional info for Arab Dress: A Short History: From the Dawn of Islam to Modern Times (Themes in Islamic Studies, V. 2)

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Just as in the Arab world today, the qamÊß was frequently worn by children as their sole garment. The Prophet supposedly covered his uncle al-#Abb§s with a qamÊß when the latter was taken prisoner naked at the battle of Badr in 624/2 A. H. Any variety of robes or tunics might be worn over the qamÊß. These include the thawb which in addition to being a long- or short-sleeved gown was also a general word for garment (the plurals thiy§b and athw§b designate clothes in general) and fabric, since many garments were no more than a piece of cloth (shiqqa).

2. Contra W. Björkman, “Turban,” EI 1, IV, 889, cf. al-Bukh§rÊ, ‘aÈÊÈ, Kit§b Fa·§"il al-‘aȧba, b§b 8, no. 1. 32 The ãaylas§n was a shawl-like headcloth which, though worn by Muslims, was considered a typically KhaybarÊ Jewish garment. Anas b. ”33 It could be that the ãaylas§n was identical with the Jewish ãallÊth, the four-cornered shawl with “show fringe” (Hebrew ßißÊth) on each corner in accordance with the biblical injunction of Numbers 15:37-39ff. Jews in the Eastern Mediterranean world in the centuries just preceding Islam wore a variety of such shawls (Talmudic Aramaic appiliyÙn and isãÙla) which were without the ritual fringes no different from their Roman counterparts, the pallium and the stola.

With the exception of an occasional chapter in a text of ÈadÊth (traditions of the Prophet MuÈammad) or fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence), a Èisba manual (handbook for the inspector of markets), or an adab (polite high culture) treatise, very few discrete works were devoted to clothing. 4 Studies of costume are generally concerned either with the reconstruction of an aspect of historic dress or with the documentation of modern “traditional” or “folkloric” (meaning twentieth-century) costume. Garments or costume accessories which are older than two centuries are relatively rare, so despite differences in focus and period, reconstructions of historical dress all share a reliance on contemporary (that is, of that period) writing and visual arts for information.

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