Forensic Fashion
(c) 2006-present R. Macaraeg


>Costume Studies
>>1860 Lebanese muqata'ji
Subjectmuqata'jizu'ama local chief
Culture: Lebanese Arab
Setting: late Ottoman empire, Lebanon 19thc

Context (Event Photos, Primary Sources, Secondary Sources, Field Notes)

* Fawaz 1994 p16
"Although the Ottoman government invested the Ma'n and Shihab princes with some formal power by confirming their seats through its governors in Sidon and Tripoli, their major source of legitimacy and prestige resided in their place at the top of the social hierarchy.  Historians often describe the system as 'feudal,' and it was based on a tenured land system of districts of varying size (the iqta' or muqata'a) which were acknowledged to be hereditary and were governed by hereditary chiefs or shaykhs (the muqata'jis), who recognized the ruling emir as the supreme authority of the Mountain, were responsible to him for their districts, presented him with a yearly tribute, and were willing, upon request, to contribute armed men for his purposes.  In return, the emir acted as arbitrator (hakam) among them, as a unifying force among their self-contained smaller fiefs, and as mediator between their interests and those of the Ottoman overlords to whom he forwarded the yearly tribute.
    "[...]  Within their domain, the muqata'jis wielded great power. They were responsible for public order, the safeguard of their lands from any intruders, the upkeep of a unit of cavalry, and the arming and upkeep of their peasant soldiers.  They administered justice and could imprison, flog, fine, and impose other penalties, and they implemented the decisions of religious courts.  They acted as tax farmers, collecting taxes from their dependencies, holding back their share, and sending the rest to the emirs of the Mountain.  In addition to a land tax (miri), they collected special taxes on specific agricultural and commercial goods, payments and in-kind 'gifts' from their dependents on specified holidays or ceremonial occasions ('idiyya), or the marriage of a landlord's son, daughter, or sister.  Their authority was tied to a lordly style of life, which included keeping an open house, being served by a retinue of servants, and bestowing favors on their dependents."

* Nicolle/McBride 1998 p22
"Local leaders in fragmented Lebanon were called Zu'ama, and their followers were described by an English visitor as 'of an independent turn of mind; all are armed from the age of boys, and are governed by their own Emirs, or Sheikhs, or Princes ...  They are all warriors, loving athletic exercise.'  They included Christian Maronites who dominated the highlands of Mount Lebanon.  The only comparable power in Lebanon were the Druzes who were similarly warlike.  They were summoned to war in an ancient manner: heralds shouted from hilltops and their cry was passed from village to village.  These Druze mountain troops fought by skirmishing among rocks and bushes, laying ambushes by night, but rarely venturing into the lowlands. The Mitwali Shi'a Muslims of the Baqa'a valley and southern Lebanon were less warlike, but did include some horsemen."




* Harrold/Legg 1978 p149 caption
"The most typical Lebanese costumes are those of the Dabke, shown here . ... The Dabke man wears full, black, baggy trousers tucked into calf-length black leather boots.  The sides of the trousers are often decorated but for work they would be plain ....  He is wearing a waistcoat but to be less formal he would just wear his shirt.  A broad black sash is tied around his waist.  Sometimes the sash is coloured or striped."