Arab Dress, A Short History: From the Dawn of Islam to Modern Times

by Yedida Kalfon Stillman & Norman Stillman


This richly illustrated volume is an historical and ethnographic study of one important aspect of Arab and Islamic material culture—clothing. While in part descriptive, its principal focus is on the evolution and transformations of modes of dress over the past 1400 years throughout the Middle East, North Africa, and for the Middle Ages, Islamic Spain. Arab clothing is treated as part of an Islamic vestimentary system and is discussed within the context of the social, religious, esthetic, and political trends of each age.

In addition to the five historical chapters, three chapters are devoted to major themes of Arab costume history—the dress code for non-Muslims, the important socio-economic and political institution of luxury fabrics and garments of honor, and the most well-known and frequently misunderstood institution of veiling.

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