18 January 2014

A Fatimid Hexagonal Neckline?

A Fatimid Hexagonal Neckline?
Sayyeda al-Kaslaania
January 2014
Revised September 2018

I have accumulated several images of hexagonal necklines. As I look at them with an eye to recreate one, I notice that they all appear to have distinct facings, in other words: they're not just shaped like a hexagon, they also have an outline that possibly represents a facing 1 -1 1/2 inches wide. Some are adorned, some are just a different color from the garment.

Having made a garment with this shape neckline, I am cautious about it's use. The facing requires clipping at every point in the hexagon, making it very weak around the neckline, almost fragile to pull on and off the body. Scholar Margaret Deppe suggests that the artist could be attempting to depict a square neckline.

 11th century Fatimid bowl. Woman dancer. Identified as a woman because she has painted-in eyebrows; curls at the temples; performing the 'dance of the veils'. Smithsonian Institution, Freer Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. Inventory number 46.30. 

11th century Fatimid bowl fragment. Woman playing a lute. Identified as a woman because she has painted-together eyebrows; an 'isaba around her head gear (decorative band with a loop at the back); curls at her temples.

Late 10th-early 11th century restored bowl. Lute player. Likely woman, unknown headgear causes hesitation. Otherwise has painted-in eyebrows, and curls at the visible temple.

10th-11th century Tunisia. "Bas relief with a prince and a flute player" sculpted marble. Right side figure likely a man because of shape of crown; "king pose" convention, typically used to depict rulers. Museum of Bardo, Tunis. Inventory number E 16.


11th century Fustat (near Cairo). Fresco on stucco. Identified as a man because of turban; "king pose" convention; lack of temple curls; lack of painted-in eyebrows; researcher's thoughts about the location of the fresco. Museum of Islamic Art, Cairo. Inventory number 12880.

11th century plate. Figure has conflicting gender markers--turban, painted-in eyebrows, curls at temples. Museum of Islamic Art, Cairo.

11th century plate. Figure has conflicting gender markers-- Possible exposed navel?, turban, painted-in eyebrows, curls at the temple. Museum of Islamic Art, Cairo.

12th century Fatimid painted ceiling panel. Likely depicting King Roger II of Sicily. Note: "king pose" convention. Capella Palatina, Palermo, Sicily. In sutu.

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