I think this is the right place to post this... just wondering if anybody had access to good reference material for Medieval Arabic/Saracen costume? Aside from watching Ridley Scott's Kingdom of Heaven and taking the upteenth screen shot, that is... LOL.
Dore's series on the crusades has a few as well, but I was hoping for colors and what not.
I know I've got some reference pics around here somewhere, I'll try to dig them up for you.
In the mean time, I can tell you that Saracen armor was different from the European armor in many ways. Whereas Europeans tended to favor big heavy suits of armor, the Saracens were more into mobility, wearing little to no armor. Higher ranking soldiers in the Saracen army wore mail suits under flowing silk robes, to give the impression that they weren't wearing armor at all. Much of the armor was cloth, turbins were usually wrapped under helmets and I believe many of the colors were brown and/or tan, but I'll look it up to be sure
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Hey Ryan, thanks for the reply!
Yeah, I'm somewhat familar with the armor differences between the East and West; it's very distinctive. It's fascinating to consider how the environmental conditions and resources (iron distribution), among other things, effect the general philosophies behind the armor designs.
I look forward to seeing what you have!
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Last edited by Jasonwclark; August 13th, 2009 at 04:23 AM.
For good armor or weapons references Angus McBride is a good artist to look at, here's some of his pictures from the books he did for Osprey-
Here's a picture from a book I checked out from a library once, it's 19th century clothing so it's not really medieval but you might find it useful anyways-
also check out the 4 disc edition of "kingdom of heaven" great extra material, and you know those guys do their research!
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as clux deluxe already mentioned, you should check out the osprey publications.. especially "saracen faris" should be interesting for you, since it contains a lot of info and pictures on the saracen culture and military from the 12th century.
Osprey books are great, especially the ones with McBride illustrations.
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You guys rule, thanks! Definitely going to hunt down that Osprey book... McBride all the way!
ok I got some more somewhere but here's some I found, sorry the quality in some of them is bad, but they're good for getting a general idea
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What's driving me crazy about this reasearch is that the term "Saracen" is a general, all-encompasing term that the Europeans were using to pretty much define everyone in the middle-east at that time. It's tough if you want to design something with regional and historical accuracy as that kind of info. is just hard to come by...
what region are you looking for in particular?
since i've been researching and reenacting ancient and miedieval history since my teens i've come up with a very simple way to do costume research on the net. just follow the armours, or specifically the exact names and you'll hit a lot of extra information along the way.
just do a picture search on the following armours and weapons and chances are, that you'll end up on sites explaining clothing and culture of that time too:
chahar ai ne/ chahar aina
or you could search for the following "tribes" or nations that were active back then, like the mongols, armenians, kurds, byzanthians, turks, seljuks, mamluks, tatars, hasars, persians etc.
If you wanna do it right, you have to research everything about the time period you want to portray. for instance- the mongol conquest alone influenced lifestyle, fashion, military etc of all middle eastern regions. so did the crusades.
Thanks for the reply people! I'll definitely try out your recommendations, VirusArtist.
Specifically, I am looking for any references to the area around Baghdad, or basically anything of ancient Iraqi ancestry. I'm just trying to figure out if the armor or textile designs from that area had any unique characterestics.
well.. the most commonly found armours of the iraq area during the middle ages consisted either of the maille and plates type (yushman, krug, kolontar) or the lamellar/scale type. brigandines could also have been common, but thats just an assumption. monghols and the warriors of india were quite used to those.
it is to be believed that the majority of armours back then was made of leather or cloth, since those materials were readily available and armours of those types were easy to produce and maintain. metal was hard to process and especially the production of maille was extremely cost and work extensive (an efficient production method for the wire used for maille wasn't invented until the late 15 century). also when taking military tactics of the saracens into account the armours had to be rather light and allow for freedom of movement.
so researching the different types of lamellar and scale armours as well as padded armour should yield some good results.
as for ancient middle eastern armours and clothing: most of the middle east was part of the persian empire, so that might be worth checking out. you'll find that a lot of the armours and weaponry used back then didnt differ too much from the stuff the greeks used. the linothorax for instance was very common in the known world back then.. other keywords that might help: xiphos, akinakes.
as for clothing of both time periods: all i know is that it was supposed to be very colourful. the persian and saracen empire both were at the hight of wealth and technology and that was relfected in their clothing. records from back then (the few there are) tell of brightly coloured garnments that were traded. noone can say that for sure though, since garnments dont tend to survive the centuries as good as metal or leather.
some links you might find useful:
Extremely fascinating... how the heck do you know all that?? I have to assume you have studied this a little bit :
just a little
Musee de l'armee - Les Invalides - Paris, France
I shot a lot of medieval stuff mostly european but there were also a couple arabian armours.
Last edited by Uziel; August 19th, 2009 at 11:30 AM.
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