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"Ottoman uniforms (?)" Topic

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Comments or corrections?

Eleve de Vauban Supporting Member of TMP13 Mar 2017 10:51 a.m. PST

For the last several months I have been (very slowly) painting an Ottoman army for the late 17th century, using mainly Dixon, Hinchliffe, Old Glory and Zvezda figures. I have a question about uniforms. I know that a large part of the army was made up of irregular forces, such as azabs and Albanians, who would not have been issued with uniforms. What about janissaries, were they given uniforms? I have seen a number of reproductions of 17th century paintings that suggest janissaries were not uniformed, they dressed with the individual's taste. I have also seen several collections of figures that have janissary units painted as uniformed units. Are those units painted in the collector's style or taste? Or are there some research materials that I have missed? Any pointers would be very gratefully received.

KTravlos13 Mar 2017 11:08 a.m. PST

It would be correct to see that there were uniform elements, rather than uniforms. These would vary by orta, i.e not the whole corps, but the sub-units. In general blue was the color associated with Janniseries, and each orta would have it's own specific unique uniform element.

In parade uniform they all wore the Prophet's sleeve hat. But in campaign turbans.

Tufeckis also seem to have been uniformly dressed (red)

Rich Bliss13 Mar 2017 11:09 a.m. PST

My understanding is that individual Janissaries regiments did have uniforms but that they were significantly different from regiment to regiment. Certainly the sleeve of Muhammad was consistent. I would imagine that, in the field, a certain amount of Individual variation could be expected.

Tango0113 Mar 2017 11:22 a.m. PST
Kropotkin30313 Mar 2017 3:02 p.m. PST

Hi K Travlos,

I always find Janissaries to be too parade ground for my liking. You remark about them wearing turbans on campaign has my interest. Can you point me in the right direction for any pictures. AFAIK there are no figures of Janissaries en campaign. Does anyone know of any?

KTravlos14 Mar 2017 2:10 a.m. PST

Legio Heroica makes them at 15mm


I also remember Venezia Miniatures having them in campaign dress.

I do not remember if The Assult Group does also.

One of the reasons they are not made is because once you take off the Prophet's Sleeve and put a Turban they do not stand out from let us say other Ottoman troops. So it depends on what you want from your army.

Kropotkin30314 Mar 2017 3:31 p.m. PST

Thanks Travlos,

I see what you mean. Perhaps I should do a few head swaps to irregularise some standard Janissaries. Make them a bit less uniform.

Druzhina15 Mar 2017 11:13 p.m. PST

There is only a little evidence for uniform colours from texts. Ian Heath has:

Our only clue to the colour of the new uniform that he introduced is to be found in the 'Ordo Portae' of c.1473-81, which tells us that every year each Janissary received lengths of linen and blue cloth, plus a shirt and a woollen kaftan. (Konstantin Mihailovic similarly states that each Janissary received a kaftan, a shirt, and 'large trousers made, as is their fashion, of 3 ells of cloth, and a shirt of 8 ells', but alas, he does not mention colours.)

From the 2nd quarter of the 17th century.
Narrative of Travels in Europe, Asia and Africa By Evliya Efendi:

The Jebbehjí-báshí said to Dávud Páshá: ' My lord, may your name be everlasting in the world, and may the family of the Dávuds always be in power.' For this wish he was rewarded with the place of ághá of the Janissaries, and actually entered into a plan to raise his own son, Soleďmán Beg, to the throne of the Ottomans ; and promised the Janissaries that, instead of the blue cloth of Salonik, they should wear fine scarlet cloth.

The blue cloth for the eighty thousand Janissaries of the Ottoman Empire, which comes from Salonica, is deposited in the magazine, which is opened once a year on the holy night (Kadr). On this night the first Lieutenant-General of the Janissaries (Kolkiagassí), attended by the ághás of the corps, the inspector of the magazine and its Colonel receive the officers of all the sixty-two regiments of Janissaries with their men, who each get, according to the constitution of Sultán Súleimán, ten yards of blue cloth, a piece for the turban, and a piece of cotton for the shirt. This distribution lasts three days and nights. This magazine (enbár) is a large square building within the enclosure of the mint. The Inspector of the cloth and the colonel with their suite pass before the Imperial koshk, each carrying a piece of cloth on their shoulder.


You remark about them wearing turbans on campaign has my interest. Can you point me in the right direction for any pictures.

Janissary in ordinary turban after Jean-Baptiste Vanmour (Van Mour), c.1708 & A Janissary, after Caspar Luyken, 1703
compare with:
Janissary in ceremonial dress by Jean-Baptiste Vanmour (Van Mour), c.1708, a Janissary in Full Dress, after Caspar Luyken, 1703


It is not the Prophet's sleeve, but a myth about the sleeve of Alevi Wali Haji Bektash Veli.

Illustrations of Ottoman Costume & Soldiers

Druzhina15 Mar 2017 11:30 p.m. PST


The unreliable early Ottoman stuff on Dr. Flaherty's site, to which some of your TMP links lead, seems to have disappeared.

Mirror site: Illustrations of Ottoman Costume & Soldiers

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