Clogs have traditionally been used in Turkish bath houses to protect the foot from dirty water and soap. The earlier form were called "nalins" and originated during the Ottoman period. Nalins came to be artistic objects which indicated the wearer's social standing. As domestic baths became more common the rituals of the bath house declined and nalins were replaced with the simpler "takunya". Takunya are also worn outside of the bath house. Since 1960 takunya have in their turn been replaced by plastic slippers which are lighter and quieter.

Nalin

Women's bath, illustration from Husein Fâzıl-i Enderuni's Zanan-Name, 18th century
Women's bath, illustration from Husein Fâzıl-i Enderuni's Zanan-Name, 18th century

A nalin was based on a wooden sole supported on wooden plates under the heel and ball of the foot and carved from a single piece. A strap secured the nalin to the foot.[1] The base was carved from a hardwood such as plane, box, ebony, walnut or sandalwood.[1][2] The base was then embellished with precious metals or inlaid with mother-of-pearl or tortoise shell. The strap was of leather or fabric with jewels and embroidery.[1]

In 1898 a price of five guineas (£5.5s or £5.25 equivalent to £622 in 2021[a]) was quoted in Notes and Queries for a pair of Nalins. The description of them was (in metric units the quoted dimensions are 23 cm long and 7.9 cm high):

Of wood, covered with red leather, red leather straps, all overlaid with pierced, chased and engraved silver in floral arabesques of Armenian workmanship; length of foot board 9+18 in., heels 3+18in. high.[3]

The height of the plates and the quality of the embellishments was determined by the status of the wearer.[1] The height varied from 5 centimetres (2.0 in) to 30 centimetres (12 in). Enderûnlu Fâzıl's 18th century painting of a bathhouse shows one finely dressed woman with very high nalins whilst the majority of subjects have much lower footwear. Nalin were often part of a woman's dowry.[2] Babies were sometimes given miniature versions as gifts.[2]

Although mostly associated with hammans or bath houses, they were also worn in stone houses, konaks and palaces.[4]

Turkish nalins are claimed[2] to have influences Venetian chopines which were similarly tall clogs.

Takunya

Takunya have a lower sole with no plates, the heel is raised on a solid block giving a clear instep. Generally they are made from Oriental Hornbeam.[5] Like the nalin a strap passes over the foot to secure it.[1] The soles have a profile similar to a Träskor or an English clog, but with a simple fabric strap over the front of the foot. They are produced by machine and then the treads from used tyres are nailed to the bottom of the sole.[1]

Gallery

Footnotes

  1. ^ UK Retail Price Index inflation figures are based on data from Clark, Gregory (2017). "The Annual RPI and Average Earnings for Britain, 1209 to Present (New Series)". MeasuringWorth. Retrieved 11 June 2022.

References

Citations