Studio Portrait of Models Wearing Traditional Clothing from the Province of Selanik (Salonica), Ottoman Empire


Pascal Sébah was a prolific and well-known Ottoman photographer who worked for both Ottoman and Western clients. Sébah’s studio produced a number of collections of ethnographic and costume photos, some in collaborations with the painter and archaeologist Osman Hamdi Bey. This photomechanical print is drawn from one such collaboration, a book entitled Les costumes populaires de la Turquie en 1873 (Folk [or Traditional] costumes of Turkey in 1873). This album depicting ethnic costumes from throughout the Ottoman Empire was commissioned by the Ottoman government for the 1873 International Fair in Vienna and was authored by Hamdi Bey and Victor Marie de Launay, an Ottoman official, amateur historian, and artist of French origin. The photo depicts the traditional costumes of (from right to left) a married Muslim woman of Selanik (Salonika); a married Jewish woman of Selanik (Salonika); and a Bulgarian woman of Perlèpè (Prilep). In Ottoman times, Salonika (present-day Thessaloniki, Greece) was a cosmopolitan city. According to the 1913 census, its population of approximately 158,000 people included around 40,000 Greek Christians, 46,000 Muslims, and 61,000 Jews.

Last updated: September 18, 2015