About Hamam

The hamam, or Turkish bath stands for far more than getting a leisurely bath or cleansing. It is a rite and a ritual in which the elements are harnessed for the cleansing and purification of the body. Since it’s creation, the Turkish bath has been much more than just a place to cleanse the skin. Women as well as men frequented the “hamam”, as the bath is known in Turkish, although of course, at separate hours.

A range of equipment was part and parcel of the hamam visit in the old days. Even until recently at least fifteen to twenty bath articles are included in the bundle carried by a woman on her hamam visit.
The “Peshtamal” a large towel fringed at both ends and wrapped around the torso, from below the armpits to about mid-thigh, used when the bather made her way to the “Kurna” or marble basin. The Peshtamal is either striped or checked, a coloured mixture of silk and cotton, pure cotton, or pure silk for the well-to-do ladies.

A pair of wooden clogs, in Turkish “Nalin”, of which there were many varied types. Carved exquisitely, these “Nalins” kept the bather’s feet clear of the wet floor. They were embellished in a number of ways, most often with mother-of-pearl, or sheathed in silver. Some of them had jingles, or were appliquéd with felt or brass.

The “Tas” is the name given to the bowl used for pouring water over the body. The “Tas” was always made of metal with grooved and inlaid ornamentation. Silver, tinned copper or brass were used in the making of the “Tas”

A soap case of metal, usually copper, with a handle on top like a handbag, and perforated at the bottom to allow water to run out was also part of the hamam paraphernalia. The case not only carried the soap, but also contained a coarse mitt for exfoliating the skin, a weave of date palm for lathering the soap, and a collection of fine and broad-toothed combs made of horn or ivory.
The “kese” that rough cloth mitt was carried in the soap case. Not only did the “Kese” scrape the dirt out of the pores, but it also delivered an invigorating massage. The soaping web, on the other hand, was especially woven out of hair or plant fibre.

A small jewellery box was often included for the bather to store her jewellery while in the hamam. Depending on the region, the box was made of silver, copper or wood. It was sometimes covered with wicker, felt, velvet or silver.

Three different towels were used for drying. One to wrap the hair with like a turban, one to wrap around the shoulders, and one around the waist.

The personal hamam carpet would be laid on the floor, then another cloth spread over it for the bather to sit on to undress. After each trip to the hamam the spread would be washed and dried, then folded away in the bundle until the next time.

The mirror was an indispensable item in the bath bundle. Its frame and handle were often made of wood. Silver or brass were sometimes used for those who could afford them.

Occasionally some bathers filled a bowl with henna upon arriving at the hamam to use on their hair. Besides the warm colour it lends, henna was used to strengthen the hair and make it glisten.

No other perfume besides rose essence was considered proper for the newly washed woman’s body. A “Attar” of rose is a bottle kept in a wooden case and used to sprinkle the rose essence on the body and hair after the bath. It was inevitably found in the hamam bundle.

The outer bundle or bag, carrying the hamam equipment was heavily embroidered. Velvet was sometimes used as well as wool or silk weaves. It was always flashy and suitable to use on feast days and other special occasions.

The luscious Turkish hamam experience makes our daily bath or shower seem like such a trivial and insignificant affair in comparison!


Showroom Address:
MERSEA Tekstil Tic. Ltd. Şti.
Sümbül Efendi Mah. Ali Fakih Cd 56/2 Kocamustafapaşa- Fatih - ISTANBUL-TURKEY

+90 212 517 5516

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