26 June 2006

The man in the fez

Baha etal

Several readers (2, actually) have inquired about the identity of the man in the photograph representing me on this blog. He is Ibrahim, my father's father. In the picture above he is holding his daughter with his son, my father, standing on the left. The picture is not dated. My father was born in 1911 and the wearing of the fez was outlawed in 1925. Therefore, I estimate that the picture was taken in about 1921 in Istanbul where they lived.

I never met Ibrahim. He died a year or 2 before I was born. The lady in the picture below was his wife, my grandmother, who had died even earlier, sometime in the late 1930s.


The Ottomans adopted the fez (fes in Turkish) in 1829. The hat had originated in North Africa. In fact, its name comes from the name of the city of Fez in Morocco. Interestingly, the Turks call Morocco Fas.

Eventually, the fez became a symbol of the Ottoman government from which Mustafa Kemal Atatürk's new republic was trying to dissociate itself in the 1920s. So, after they abolished the sultanate and the caliphate, they got rid of the fez as well.


Callipygia said...

Thank you for sharing the story of Ibraham and "the fez". I am taken with his intense piercing eyes & dignity. Our ancestors do continue to reside within us, whether or not we meet them in person.

Anonymous said...

It's time to bring back the Fez.
Could the US outlaw a cowboy hat?
or the UK a boller?, France a berret or Mexico a sombero?

Nuthatch said...

While I hadn't inquired, I was in fact curious. Thanks!

Clare said...

So was I - and am greatly surprised that an item of clothing can be outlawed.

Fascinating pictures - there is something very appealing about the way everyone is so serious in these early photos. I wonder when it became fashionable to smile.