A Youth in a Hammam Smoking a Pipe

Not on view

Ottoman costume album paintings began to develop in the 17th century and continued throughout the 18th and early 19th centuries. The court and its members of the ruling elite, including high-ranking officials, ambassadors and visiting dignitaries, commissioned such albums. This example depicts a standing youth shown from a three-quarter angle dressed for a visit to an Ottoman bath house (called hammam). The figure has a characteristic mop-head hairstyle and wears Ottoman wood clogs (called nalin) with prominent high heels that protect from the water on the floor of the hammam. A dark blue cotton towel with aubergine borders (called peshtamel) is wrapped around his waist leaving his upper body bare. With his right hand he holds an elongated pipe (called cibuk) from which he is smoking, and with his left hand he holds a peach-colored embroidered cloth bag. The painting’s emphasis on spatial three-dimensionality; its theater-like staged setting; and the care taken to represent precious details, such as his individual strands of hair and the embroideries of the handbag, are reminiscent of the Ottoman arts during the first half of the 18th century.

A Youth in a Hammam Smoking a Pipe, Painting: opaque watercolor on paper
Border: decorated paper with flecked silver, marbled paper, and gold (leaf and shell)

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