ARAB ROBES – ZEBUN AND WAISTCOAT. Champagne silk, white cotton lining, brocade button trims, zebun: 103 x 35cm, waistcoat: 46 x 32cm.
ARAB ROBES – ZEBUN AND WAISTCOAT. Champagne silk, white cotton lining, brocade button trims, zebun: 103 x 35cm, waistcoat: 46 x 32cm.
ARAB ROBES – ZEBUN AND WAISTCOAT. Champagne silk, white cotton lining, brocade button trims, zebun: 103 x 35cm, waistcoat: 46 x 32cm.
ARAB ROBES – ZEBUN AND WAISTCOAT. Champagne silk, white cotton lining, brocade button trims, zebun: 103 x 35cm, waistcoat: 46 x 32cm.
3 More
ARAB ROBES – ZEBUN AND WAISTCOAT. Champagne silk, white cotton lining, brocade button trims, zebun: 103 x 35cm, waistcoat: 46 x 32cm.

Details
ARAB ROBES – ZEBUN AND WAISTCOAT. Champagne silk, white cotton lining, brocade button trims, zebun: 103 x 35cm, waistcoat: 46 x 32cm.

‘IF YOU WEAR ARAB THINGS, WEAR THE BEST … DRESS LIKE A SHERIF, IF THEY AGREE TO IT’. Lawrence appears to have taken his own advice – given to British army officers serving in Arabia in his ‘Twenty Seven Articles’ written for the Arab Bulletin in August 1917 – with this delicate ensemble of champagne silk, a zebun with matching waistcoat. Designed to be worn under an abayeh, a typical outer garment, this decorative zebun was apparently designed to be lightweight, made from silk and cotton, with abbreviated sleeves and simple cotton ties at the waist. As Lawrence wrote in the Seven Pillars of Wisdom, ‘Arab things, which I learned to manage before the war, were cleaner and more decent in the desert’. Lawrence had adopted full Arab dress soon after being attached to Sherif Feisal’s staff in November 1916, at Feisal’s urging. Besides their comfort, ‘the tribesmen would then understand how to take me. The only wearers of khaki in their experience had been Turkish officers’. Lawrence was unique in his white, or off-white, robes, though; amongst the ‘bed of tulips’ of Feisal’s staff, it marked him out as being of elevated status: ‘By so dressing I staked a claim which Feisal’s public consideration of me confirmed’. These robes can be made out in Kathleen Scott’s sculpture, the raised detail signifying the waistcoat particularly prominent.

Brought to you by

Eugenio Donadoni
Eugenio Donadoni
;

Related Articles

View all
What I’ve learned: Thomas Venn auction at Christies
Bound for glory: 10 landmark b auction at Christies
The best exhibitions of summer auction at Christies

More from Valuable Books and Manuscripts Including Cartography

View All
View All