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Turkisch Women Bathing/Turkish Women at the Bath

Earl Shinn ["Edward Strahan"], Gerome: A Collection of the works of J.L Gerome in One Hundred Photogravures. Multiple Volumes. New York: Samuel L. Hall, 1881.


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TURKISH WOMEN AT

THE BATH.

BY this painting, the bold artist, with the privilege of his profession, takes us into an Eastern privacy most strictly forbidden to men of all kinds, and most especially to unbelievers. We can imagine some zealous, but trav- elled follower of the Prophet, attached to the embassy at Paris, for instance, gazing on this canvas, and cursing in his heart the unspeakable insolence of the Giaour who would thus lay bare the most guarded penetralia of the private life of the faithful. And if he should find in the infidel's reproduction of this bathing-scene a truthfulness of description that startles him, he may be well inclined to attribute it to the agency of the Jinn, of whom bath-houses are a favorite resort, and who alone could have given to the Christian his skill and his knowledge. These ivory-skinned beauties and their attendant in obsidian are in the hararah, the principal and central portion of the bath, which generally has the ground-plan of a cross, and which is lighted from above by a number of small, round, glazed apertures. In its centre, and to the right in the picture, is a fountain of hot water rising from a base enclosed with marble, and which serves as a seat. These ladies have been through the various rites and ceremonies of their ablutions ; they have had their flesh kneaded and rubbed and soaped and cleansed again, and now, according to custom, they are reposing after their exercises and soothing themselves with fragrant coffee, while the slave



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