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palace, according to d'Herbelot, "saw the greatest parts of the flat-roofs of the houses of Bagdat, his capital, spread with clothes of different kinds, and being told by his Vizir, upon his asking the reason of it, that the inhabitants of Bagdat were drying their clothes, which they had newly washed on the account of the approach of the Beiram, which is a very solemn Mohammedan festival, Mostanser was so concerned, that they were so poor as to be obliged to wash their old clothes, for want of new ones, with which to celebrate this festival, that he ordered a great quantity of gold to be instantly made into bullets, proper to be shot out of cross-bows, which he and his courtiers threw, by this means, upon every terrace upon the city where he saw their garments laid a drying."" Agreeably to this Hasselquist tells us, "the Turks, even the poorest of them, must absolutely have new clothes at their Beiram."
New clothes then were thought very necessary for the solemnization of a stated Eastern festival. It will appear, in the sequel, that those that are occasional were observed in the
Commentators have taken notice, that the rending mentioned by Solomon, Eccles. iii. 7, refers to the Oriental modes of expressing sorrow; but they seem to think, that the
P P. 400.
4 P. 632.
A great festival with them, answering our Easter, for it follows their month of fasting.
sewing signifies nothing more than the terminating, perhaps nothing more than the abating of affliction. Maimonides is quoted on this occasion, as saying, He that mourns for a father, &c. let him stitch up the rent of his garment at the end of thirty days, but never let him sew it up well. well. As the other cases, however, are as directly opposite as possible, is it not more probable, that a season of joy is here meant, in contrast to a time of bitter grief, than merely of some abatement of distress? And that by a time of sewing is meant a time of making up new vestments, rather than a slight tacking together the places of their clothes, which were torn in the paroxysm of their grief?
Thus when Jacob supposed he had lost his son Joseph, he rent his clothes for grief, Gen. xxxvii. 34: while the time of preparing for the circumcision of the son of Ishmael, the Basha of Egypt when Maillet lived there, must have been a time of great sewing. For the rejoicing on that occasion lasted, it seems, "ten days, and on the first day of the ceremony the whole houshold of the Basha appeared in new clothes,' and were very richly dressed, Two vests of different coloured satin had been given to every one of his domestics, one of English cloth, with breeches of the same, and a lining of fur of a Moscovite fox. The meanest slave was dressed after this sort with a turban, of which the cap was of velvet, or Descript. de l'Egypte, Let. x.
English cloth, and the other part adorned with gold. The pages had large breeches of green velvet, and short vests of gold brocade. Those of higher rank were more richly dressed; and there was not one of them but changed his dress two or three times during the solemnity. Ibrahim, the young lord that was to be circumcised, appeared on the morning of the first day, clothed in a half-vest of white cloth, lined with a rich fur, over a doliman of Venetian cloth of gold, and over this half-vest he wore a robe of fire-coloured camblet, lined with a green tabby. This vest, or quiriqui, was embroidered with pearls of a large size, and fastened before with a clasp of large diamonds. Through all the time the solemnity lasted, Ibrahim changed his dress three or four times a day, and never wore the same thing twice, excepting the quiriqui with its pearls, which he put on three or four times." I need not go on with Maillet's account; it is sufficiently evident, that the time of preparing for this rejoicing was a time of sewing. To the Patriarch Jacob it was a time of rending, when he apprehended his son was dead; to the Basha Ishmael, the circumcision of his son was a time of sewing, for that solemnity gives Eastern parents exquisite joy, and the making up great quantities of clothes is one of the methods they make use of to express that joy.
· OBERVATION XLVII.
The Dress of Brides often changed during the Marriage Solemnity.
BRIDES also in the East frequently change their dress, and upon such a change are presented anew each time to the bridegroom.
This is d'Arvieux's account of the Arabs. "When the evening is come, the women present the bride to her future husband. The women who conduct her make him a compliment, who answers not a word, sitting perfectly still, with a grave and serious air. This ceremony is three times repeated the same evening, and whenever they change the bride's dress they present her to the bridegroom, who receives her with the same gravity. It is a sort of magnificence in the East frequently to dress and undress the bride, and to cause her to wear in that same day all the clothes made up for her nuptials. The bridegroom's dress also is frequently changed for the same
When he says it is a sort of magnificence in the East to do this, he seems to affirm that the management is not peculiar to the Arabs, but common in those countries. The Arabian Nights' Entertainments confirm this, fre
t Voy. dans la Pal. p. 225.
No. 100, 101, 102, 103, &c.
quently mentioning this changing of the bride's dress, and the presenting her when new-dressed to the bridegroom.
The attending to this circumstance throws an energy over the words of St. John, which I do not remember to have seen any where noticed I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from GoD out of heaven, prepared as a bride for her husband, Rev. xxi. 2.
Sir John Chardin, in his manuscript which I have so frequently quoted, supposes the decorations and attitude the Prophet gives to Aholibah, or Jerusalem, are those of a bride. It is precisely after this manner the bride receives her husband in Asia: they carry her to a bath : they afterwards adorn her magnificently; they paint, they perfume her; they carry her to the nuptial chamber; they place her upon a bed; they set a smoking some incense-pots, and serve up sweetmeats upon a table placed before her. The bed is a mattress with its covering, laid upon the carpet, with large cushions placed at her back and her sides, which our authors every where mean by the word bed, when they are speaking of the East, and are used on all occasions there among the great, at feasts, at visits, &c.
Ezek. xxiii. 40, 41.