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ON THE DRESS OF THE JEWS.
1. Dress in the early Ages.-Upper Garments.-II. Tunic.-III. Dress of the Women.-IV. Distinction between the Ipariov or upper Garment and the Xirwv or Tunic.-Mode of dressing the Hair.-VI. Sandals.-VII. Some articles of Female Apparel elucidated. Complexion of the Women.-VIII. Rending of Garments, a sign of mourning.-IX. Numerous changes of Apparel, deemed a necessary part of their treasures.
I. IN the early ages, the dress of mankind was very simple. Skins of animals furnished the first materials, which, as men increased in numbers and civilisation, were exchanged for more costly articles, made of wool and flax, of which they manufactured woollen and linen garments (Levit. xiii. 47. Prov. xxxi. 13.); afterwards fine linen, and silk, dyed with purple, scarlet, and crimson, became the usual apparel of the more opulent. (2 Sam. i. 24. Prov. xxxi. 22. Luke xvi. 19.) In the more early ages, garments of various colours were in great esteem: such was Joseph's robe, of which his envious brethren stripped him, when they resolved to sell him. (Gen. xxxvii. 23.) The daughters of kings wore richly embroidered vests. (Psal. xlv. 13, 14.) It appears that the Jewish garments were worn pretty long; for it is mentioned as an aggravation of the affront done to David's ambassadors by the king of Ammon, that he cut off their garments in the middle even to their buttocks. (2 Sam. x. 4.)
The dress of the Jews, in the ordinary ranks of life, was simple and nearly uniform. John the Baptist had his raiment of camels' hair,-not of the fine hair of that animal which is wrought into camlets (in imitation of which, though made of wool, is the English camlet), but of the long and shaggy hair of camels, which in the East is manufactured into a coarse stuff like that antiently worn by monks and anchorets.1
Dr. Shaw, whose critical observation and long residence in the East, eminently qualified him for illustrating the sacred records, has given an interesting account of the oriental dress, which elucidates many passages in a very pleasing manner. He observes that the Barbary women are employed in making hykes or blankets, as Andromache and Penelope were of old, and that they do not use the shuttle, but conduct every thread of the woof with their fingers. He informs us that the usual size of the hyke is six yards long, and five or six feet broad, serving the Kabyle or Arab for a complete dress in the day and, as they sleep in their raiment, as the Israelites did of old (Deut. xxiv. 13.), it likewise serves for his bed and
1 On this subject see Capt. Light's Travels in Egypt, &c. pp. 135., and Mr. Morier's Second Journey in Persia, p. 44
covering in the night. It is a loose, but troublesome kind of ment, being frequently disconcerted and falling to the ground, so that the person who wears it is every moment obliged to tuck it up, and fold it anew around his body. This shows the great use of a girdle whenever they are engaged in any active employment, and the force of the Scripture injunction alluding to it, of having our loins girded, in order to set about it. The method of wearing these garments, with the use to which they are at other times put, in serving for coverlids to their beds, leads us to infer that the finer sort of them (such as are worn by the ladies and by persons of distinction) are the peplus of the antients. Ruth's veil, which held six measures of barley, (Ruth iii. 15.) might be of the like fashion, and have served extraordinarily for the same use; as were also the clothes (ra iuaria, the upper garments) of the Israelites, (Exod. xii. 13.) in which they folded up their kneading-troughs: as the Moors, Arabs, and Kabyles do, to this day, things of the like burden and incumbrance in their hykes. Their burnooses also are often used upon these occasions. It is very probable, likewise, that the loose-folding garment, the toga of the Romans, was of this kind. For if the drapery of their statues is to instruct us, this is actually no other than the dress of the Arabs, when they appear in their hykes. The plaid of the High landers in Scotland is the very same.
"Instead of the fibula that was used by the Romans, the Arabs join together with thread or a wooden bodkin the two upper corners of this garment and after having placed them first over one of their shoulders, they then fold the rest of it about their bodies. The outer fold serves them frequently instead of an apron, wherein they carry herbs, leaves, corn, &c. and may illustrate several allusions made thereto in Scripture; as gathering the lap full of wild gourds, (1 Kings iv. 19.) rendering seven-fold, giving good measure into the bosom, (Psalm cxxix. 12. Luke vi. 28.) shaking the lap, (Matt. v. 13.) &c. &c.
"The burnoose, which answers to our cloak, is often for warmth worn over these hykes. It is wove in one piece, and shaped exactly like the garment of the little god Telesphorus, viz. strait about the neck, with a cape for a cover to the head, and wide below like a cloak. Some of them are fringed round the bottom, like Parthenaspa's and Trajan's garment upon the basso-relievos of Constantine's arch. The burnoose, without the cape, seems to answer to the Roman pallium: and with it, the bardocucullus.
"If we except the cape of the burnoose, which is only occasionally used during a shower of rain, or in very cold weather, several Arabs and Kabyles go bare-headed all the year long, as Massinissa did of old, binding their temples only with a narrow fillet, to prevent their locks from being troublesome. As the antient diadema might originally serve for this purpose, so it appears from busts and medals to have been of no other fashion. But the Moors and Turks, with some of the principal Arabs, wear upon the crown of the head a small hemispherical cap of scarlet cloth. The turbant,
as they call a long narrow web of linen, silk, or muslin, is folded round the bottom of these caps, and very properly distinguishes, by the number and fashion of the folds, the several orders and degrees of soldiers, and sometimes of citizens, one from another. We find the same dress and ornament of the head, the tiara, as it was called, upon a number of medals, statues, and basso-relievos of the antients. The shaving of the razor that is hired (Isa. vii. 20.) is illustrated by the remarkable nicety with which the head is still shaved in the eastern countries. From the custom of wearing the turban, this operation is very frequently performed; and after it, the head is so smooth to the touch, that it seems as if hair had never grown there.1
II. "Under the hyke some wear a close-bodied frock or tunic (jillibba they call it) either with or without sleeves, which differs little from the Roman tunica, or habit in which the constellation Boötes is usually painted. The xwv, or coat of our Saviour, which was woven without seam from the top throughout (John xix. 23.) might be of the like fashion. This too, no less than the hyke, is to be girded about their bodies, especially when they are engaged in any labour, exercise, or employment, at which time they usually throw off their burnooses and hykes, and remain only in their tunics and of this kind, probably was the habit wherewith our Saviour might still be clothed, when he is said to lay aside his garments (ipatia, pallium scilicet et peplum; or burnoose and hyke) and to take a towel and gird himself (John xiii. 4.); as was likewise the fisher's coat which St. Peter girded about him, when he is said to be naked. (John xxi. 7.) This also was what the same Peter, at the command of the angel, might have girded upon him, before he is enjoined to cast his garment (iariov) about him. Now the hyke or burnoose, or both, being probably at that time (iuariov or iuaria) the proper dress, clothing, or habit of the eastern nations, as they still continue to be of the Kabyles and Arabs; when they laid them aside, or appeared without the one or the other, they might very properly be said to be undrest or naked, according to the eastern manner of expression. This same convenient and uniform shape of these garments, which are made to fit all persons, may well illustrate a variety of expressions and occurrences in Scripture, which to ignorant persons, too much misled by our fashions, may seem difficult to account for. Thus, among many other instances, we read, that the goodly raiment of Esau was put upon Jacob; that Jonathan stript himself of his garments; that the best robe was brought out and put upon the prodigal son; and that raiment and changes of raiment were often given, and immediately put on, (as they still continue to be in these eastern nations) without such previous and occasional alterations as would be required amongst us in the like distribution or exchange of garments.
1 Jowett's Christian Researches, p. 168.
"The girdles of these people are usually of worsted, very artfully woven into a variety of figures, such as the rich girdles of the virtuous virgins may be supposed to have been. (Prov. xxxi. 24.) They are made to fold several times about the body; one end of which being doubled back, and sewn along the edges, serves them for a purse, agreeable to the acceptation of the wvn in the Scriptures. The Turks make a farther use of these girdles, by fixing therein their knives and poniards: whilst the Hojias, i. e. the writers and secretaries, suspend in the same their inkhorns; a custom as old as the prophet Ezekiel, who mentions (ix. 2.) a person clothed in white linen, with an inkhorn upon his loins.
"It is customary for the Turks and Moors to wear shirts of linen, or cotton, or gauze, underneath the tunics. But the Arabs wear nothing but woollen. There is a ceremony, indeed, in some Douwars, which obliges the bridegroom and the bride to wear each of them a shirt at the celebration of their nuptials; but then, out of a strange kind of superstition, they are not afterwards to wash them or put them off, whilst one piece hangs to another. The sleeves of these shirts are wide and open, without folds at the neck or wrist, as ours have; those particularly of the women, are oftentimes of the richest gauze, adorned with different-coloured ribands, interchangeably sewed to each other.
"Neither are the Bedoweens accustomed to wear drawers; a habit, notwithstanding, which the citizens of both sexes constantly appear in, especially when they go abroad, or receive visits.
III. "The virgins are distinguished from the matrons, in having their drawers made of needle-work, striped silk and linen; just as Tamar's garment is described. (2 Sam. xiii. 18.) But when the women are at home and in private, then their hykes are laid aside, and sometimes their tunics; and instead of drawers, they bind only a towel about their loins. A Barbary matron, in her undress, appears exactly in the same manner that Silanus does in the Admiranda.
"When these ladies appear in public, they always fold themselves up so closely in their hykes, that even without their veils, we could discover very little of their faces. But in the summer months, when they retire to their country seats, they walk abroad with less caution; though even then, upon the approach of a stranger, they always drop their veils, as Rebekah did upon the sight of Isaac. (Gen. xxiv. 65.) They all affect to have their hair, the instrument of their pride (Isa. xxii. 12.) hang down to the ground, which, after they have collected it into one lock, they bind and plait with ribands; a piece of finery disapproved of by the apostle. (1 Peter iii. 3.) Where nature has been less liberal in this ornament, there the defect is supplied by art, and foreign hair is procured to be interwoven with the natural. Absalom's hair which was sold for 200 shekels (2 Sam. xiv. 26.) might have been applied to this use. After the hair is thus plaited, they proceed to dress their heads, by tying, above the lock I have described, a triangular piece of linen,
adorned with various figures in needle-work. This, among persons
"But none of these ladies think themselves completely dressed till they have tinged their eye-lids with al-ka-hol,' i. e. the powder of lead-ore. Now, as this is performed by first dipping into this powder a small wooden bodkin of the thickness of a quill, and then drawing it afterwards through the eyelids, over the ball of the eye, we have a lively image of what the prophet Jeremiah (iv. 30.) may be supposed to mean by renting the eyes (not as we render it, with painting, but) with lead-ore. The sooty colour which in this manner is communicated to the eyes, is thought to add a wonderful gracefulness to persons of all complexions. The practice of it, no doubt, is of great antiquity: for, besides the instances already taken notice of, we find that when Jezebel is said to have painted her face, (2 Kings ix. 30.) the original words are now, i. e. she adjusted, or set off, her eyes with the powder of lead-ore. So likewise Ezek. xxiii. 40. is to be understood. Karan-happuc, i. e. the horn of pouk or lead-ore, the name of Job's youngest daughter, was relative to this custom or practice."2
IV. The preceding learned and curious observations happily illustrate several parts of sacred writ. A passage in the Acts of the Apostles clearly fixes the difference between the 'Iuariov or Upper Garment, and the Xirov or Tunic. During St. Peter's abode at Joppe, one Dorcas, a pious, amiable, and beneficent Christian woman fell sick and died. The believers at Joppe having received information that Peter was at Lydda, despatched two messengers to him, entreating he would come to them without delay. On Peter's arrival they took him into an upper room where the corpse lay, round which a number of indigent widows stood bathed in tears, deploring the irreparable loss they had sustained, and showing Peter a variety of (xTwvas x iparia) under and upper gar
1 This word is rendered by Golius and others, Stibium, Antimonii species, and sometimes colirium: the Hebrew no cahol has the same interpretation; and the verb nn joined with py (Ezek. xxiii. 40.) is rendered, Thou paintest thine eyes.
D is taken in the like signification, being rendered antimonium, stibium quo ad tingenda nigrore cilia, seu ad venustandos oculos, peculiariter utebantur; color subniger ex pulveribus stibii confectus. Schindl. Lex. St. Jerome likewise upon these words on (Isa. liv. 11.) which we render (I will lay) thy stones with fair colours, takes notice, quod omnes præter LXX. similiter transtulerunt, viz. (sternam) in stibio, lapides tuos, in similitudinem comptæ mulieris, quæ oculos pingit stibio, ut pulchritudinem significet civitatis. np therefore, and bɔ and alka-hol, denoting the same mineral substance or collyrium, it may be presumed that what is called to this day ka-hol, which is a rich lead ore pounded to an impalpable powder, was the mineral which they always made use of for painting the eyes.
2 Dr. Shaw's Travels in Barbary, vol. i. pp. 403–414.