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Historically Accurate Jasmine by Wickfield Historically Accurate Jasmine by Wickfield

Being the history geek that I am, I guess it is kind of surprising that I haven't really done a "historically accurate" animation series before, but after seeing that awesome Buzzfeed Disney Princess video, and of course all the amazing art on here, I was inspired to make my own.  I guess it is better late than never!

As I've said before elsewhere, from an artistic standpoint, I'm not at all bothered by the animated designs of the characters in Disney and Dreamworks films. They weren't documentaries after all so in most cases they didn't need to be accurate, and in animation in particular, it is more important to convey character and style in the designs.  I am not trying to "fix" anything because I don't think there is anything to fix!  That being said, it can still be fun to learn how your favorite characters might have looked if they had existed in real life.    

For my series, I am trying to be as accurate as I possibly can.  I'm taking the country of origin, the social class, the culture, and the specific decade into mind (instead of just a general sweep of multiple decades), and also adapting the colors and styles to fit what was available and worn everyday.  I will try to keep the characters recognizable where I can, but I want to make my pictures realistic and so some elements of the original designs might be altered in the process.
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Yep, here it is time for another revision!  Hey, I said I was going to be super accurate, and that means making some changes when you learn something new!  For my original drawings of the Aladdin characters, I based their fashion on the clothing worn in the Ottoman empire, since it was ruled by a Sultan like Agrabah is in the film and there were some Ottoman references in the movie's design.  However, this week I was doing some reading and learned that there were ALSO sultans within the Abbasid caliphate, the widespread Arab empire of the middle ages.  By the 8th century there were many "autonomous provinces" in the Arab world that were only nominally controlled by the caliph.  If Agrabah had been a real region in the Arabian Peninsula, it could have still been ruled by the Sultan like in the movie, but more as a mini-kingdom within the overall empire (kind of like the Ghaznavid Sultanate).  I think an Abbasid sultanate would be an even better fit than an Ottoman one, especially since it involved Arabs and not Turks - so here we are!  I marked this version of Jafar as set in the "Arabian Peninsula" since Agrabah is a fictional Arabian country, apparently a combination of the Indian city of "Agra" and the Arabic city of "Baghdad."  But most of my references were illuminations from medieval Baghdad since Disney's movie was heavily based on the earlier film "The Thief of Bagdad" (and I just also read that that was where the movie was supposed to be set until the Gulf War started).  As for the period, I set it in the 13th century near the end of the Abbasid caliphate.  Since Genie mentioned Scheherezade, I definitely wanted to set it after the 10th century which was the earliest mention of that character.   But I settled on the 13th century based on the line from "Prince Ali" where he was mentioned as fighting "galloping hordes," probably a reference to the Mongol hordes that were invading the Arab world around that time.  At this period in time, though, clothing stayed pretty much the same for several hundred years.

Here at last we have Jasmine!  :)  She took a little longer this time around because it was tough, at first, to find images of Arabic women during the Abbasid period.  Fortunately, though, when I discovered the 13th century illustrations by Al-Wasiti and Al-Jaziri, I was able to learn a lot about the kind of fashions an Arabian princess could have worn.  I wanted to draw Jasmine in an outfit she could wear for the majority of the film, and since she spends most of the film with male characters like Jafar or Aladdin, her outfit would need to be of the more modest variety, since Muslim women were required to dress differently around men they could possibly marry.  

When I was looking at the period illustrations, I seemed to identify three kinds of fashion.  The first kind was the most “revealing,” where women wore a crown-like hat that revealed their face and hair.  This looked to be worn mainly indoors, so I’m assuming it was only appropriate around related men.  The most modest was a full-body wrap similar to the modern “chador,” which looked to be mainly worn outdoors or before important people, either with or without a face veil– I got the impression that it was not necessarily required, but worn for “extra” modesty, or maybe just in place of the headwrap since they don’t appear to be worn both at once.  For Jasmine’s historical look, I took a middle of the road approach based on women that show up in works by Al-Jaziri, Al-Wasiti, and others.  These women wear a headwrap similar to the modern “Al-Amira” style, with a decorative fillet tied on top.  Since they are shown wearing it in front of men, and since women didn’t generally wear a covering around other women, I *think* Jasmine could properly be around Aladdin and Jafar in this clothing, though she’d probably add the extra wrap when venturing into Agrabah.

Many women were shown wearing shorter dresses that revealed the salwar underneath, which was a nice match for Jasmine’s outfit in the film.  This time around I was able to go with the bluish-green color for her clothing, since that is regularly depicted in the artwork.  Since Abbasid women were known for being very decorative  I added embellished tiraz bands on her dress, pearls in her plaited hair, and a turqouise jewel on her fillet, based on the ones in this Persian image.  Despite their headcoverings, Abbasid women appeared to wear both makeup and visible jewelry, similar to some modern Muslim girls who wear hijab, so I drew Jasmine wearing kohl on her eyes and henna on her fingertips like the women in the artwork.  Her earrings are based on these, and since you wouldn’t be able to view her necklace, I gave her heavy golden bangles instead.

Even though Jasmine’s clothes are way more modest than in the movie, I still think she looks beautiful.  It was fun learning more about the medieval Arabs while working on these Aladdin revisions, so I hope I was able to do her culture justice!

You can check out the original Ottoman version in my stash here

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:iconlareforma1857:
LaReforma1857 Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2018
Beautiful 
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:iconxvanyx:
xVanyx Featured By Owner Sep 2, 2017
This is awesome! I love how you can "read" those old images. I always have trouble deciphering the old drawing styles and "re-thinking" how it would have looked if people back then could have drawn better. I can see how much effort you must have put into this and seeing your reference pictures was a huge joy ^__^. Keep up the good work!
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:iconwickfield:
Wickfield Featured By Owner Sep 2, 2017  Hobbyist Digital Artist
It does take some practice to get used to those stylized images for sure!  But most art until the Renaissance was stylized so if you want to draw anything before then you have to get used to the style fast. ;)  I'm glad you like the drawing!
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:iconxvanyx:
xVanyx Featured By Owner Sep 3, 2017
You're very welcome! Until now I have tried imitating the contemporary art styles or (when using my own style) only drawing post-Renaissance fashion, but I hope I will get better with references in the future. 
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:iconprismwings:
PrismWings Featured By Owner Sep 15, 2016  Student
This is lovely!
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:iconwickfield:
Wickfield Featured By Owner Sep 15, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you! :D
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:iconwinddancer23:
winddancer23 Featured By Owner Sep 3, 2016
Beautiful series!
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:iconwickfield:
Wickfield Featured By Owner Sep 3, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you! :)
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:iconnicarox:
NicaRox Featured By Owner Aug 30, 2016
Question! Since you've been doing the historically accurate series (love the work!!) wouldn't Aladdin, Jasmine and Jafar be depicted as chinese? Since the original story Arabian Nights is set in China.
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:iconrobertothebear3991:
RobertoTheBear3991 Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2018  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Technically, Jasmine, the Sultan (her dad), and Jafar the evil vizier are all from Agrabah which is a fictional Turkic, not to be confused with Turkish kingdom near the border of China implied to be in Kyrgyzstan. The original story mentions that the jinn (there are multiple in the original) help him out when saying he's ruler of a kingdom by saying he comes not from China, but rules Samarkand in today's Uzbekistan as Uzbeks and Kyrgyz look very similar being Asian and related to Mongols, so they buy it. Aladdin himself was from the Xian province of China which in the time the Arabian Nights was written when home to the Silk Road and to this very day has a vibrant minority population of Chinese Muslims who were under the oppression of their Buddhist overlords who were the emperor and the majority of the Chinese. Due to that, he was a beggar and a thief because pagans are jerks (story was written by Muslims) and for a bit more un-PC stuff, Jafar was Jewish in the original tale which opens up another can of worms. (I had a copy of the Sir. Richard Francis Burton translation growing up as a kid.)
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:iconnicarox:
NicaRox Featured By Owner Feb 1, 2018
Interesting to note!! Thanks!
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:iconrobertothebear3991:
RobertoTheBear3991 Featured By Owner Feb 4, 2018  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Even better, the well-known children's cartoon series "Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for EVERY Child" from HBO Family from the late 90's for all the unusual and yet fun rewrites it did of classic children's fairy tales (a favorite of mine personally is Snow White as "White Snow", a Navajo maiden who lives not with the Seven Dwarfs, but the kachina gods, one many Native American beliefs in "little people") actually played it straight with Aladdin by setting it in the Xian region of China with Chinese Muslims and followed the original story fairly okay, albeit with a single jinn like in the Disney version (in turn based on the 1940 live-action film version of the tale, "Thief of Baghdad") and leaving out the religious strife for why his father is dead and he's a beggar. They do show as portrayed in the original tale and shown in the 2000 miniseries of "Arabian Nights" (also referenced in "Thief and the Cobbler") the entrance of the Cave of Wonderment where the magic treasures such as the 1000 flying carpets (not just one in either this one or the original tale, or the 40's film or 2000 miniseries!) and the items the jinn hide in is the ruins of an ancient Buddhist temple carved out of a mountain and guarded by a giant and imposing Buddha statue, one similar to the Bamyan Buddha that went back to the time of Alexander the Great in Afghanistan and had its face blown off by the Muslim Pashtuns in the Middle Ages due to their hatred of idols and later destroyed entirely by the Taliban to the horror of the world. You can look all this up for yourself.
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:iconaericmon:
aericmon Featured By Owner Sep 27, 2017  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Personally, I prefer an Arabian Aladdin because of the Muslim names of the characters. Also, a genie or "Jinn" is a spirit being like angels and demons in Islamic beliefs. 

I want to create a graphic novel retelling of Aladdin's story, and I am using the influences of the people of the UAE, Pashtuns, Mughals, Saudi Arabian people, and Bahraini/Persian influences for the clothing and designs. I changed Iago into a falcon(in keeping with the Arab history of falconry), and introduced Aladdin's mother(named Fatima) into the story. 
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:iconnicarox:
NicaRox Featured By Owner Sep 27, 2017
That sounds cool!!
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:iconaericmon:
aericmon Featured By Owner Sep 28, 2017  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Yeah, I know. 
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:iconlokita-naky:
Lokita-Naky Featured By Owner Sep 14, 2017  Professional General Artist
Ahah I was going to say the same thing until I spotted your comment. And while it's true that the story could simply be taking place in western China, which would explain the entire culture in the rest of the story, it is also very possible that the author/authors of the story had no knowledge of Chinese culture and so the setting is introduced as Chinese but everything else is a culture the author/authors are familiar with. 
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:iconxxanimexchocolatexx:
xxAnimexChocolatexx Featured By Owner Edited Sep 11, 2017  Student General Artist
I know this is a late reply, sorry. But just an interesting tidbit i want to offer is that many historians stated that the Aladdin folktale version, while it does take place in Chinese's territory, the city Aladdin lives is Chinese in name only - meaning the rest including the culture and setting are middle eastern. It could mean that the story take place in western China where the Silk Road closely connected as many muslims during the 13th-16th century lived.
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:iconnicarox:
NicaRox Featured By Owner Sep 12, 2017
Cool! Didn't know that.. thanks for sharing :)
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:iconwickfield:
Wickfield Featured By Owner Aug 30, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
This series focuses on the Disney versions of the characters, not the fairytale versions - so it is a historically accurate version of Disney's Jasmine, not Galland's Badroulbadour.  I hope that clears it up! :)  
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:iconcaolah2:
caolah2 Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2016
I like your Your drawing, it is more realistic ,
in Disney movie Princess Jasmine wearing Such as oriental dancer.
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:iconjdluvasqee:
JDLuvaSQEE Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
Gorgeous!!!
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:iconwickfield:
Wickfield Featured By Owner Jun 28, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks!
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:iconjdluvasqee:
JDLuvaSQEE Featured By Owner Jun 28, 2016  Hobbyist General Artist
Welcome!
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:iconaniek90:
aniek90 Featured By Owner Dec 23, 2015
Oh wow, she looks amazing! Loving the braids with the pearls. Great details on her upper arm and at the end of her dress. 
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:iconwickfield:
Wickfield Featured By Owner Dec 23, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you!  It was fun giving each character a bit of personality in making all their tiraz bands different. :)
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:iconkraangtheconqueror:
KraangTheConqueror Featured By Owner Dec 17, 2015
With clothing and the looking look more accurate now. The only thing left is her name. Everyone knows that her name is not even Arabic.

And in 8-13th century, Arabic is the the dominant language in the Middle East, North Africa and Southern Europe like Spain aka Al-Andalus.
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:iconwickfield:
Wickfield Featured By Owner Dec 17, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Yep, but their neighbors in Iran were Persian, so maybe Jasmine's mother was a Persian princess or something. 
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:iconcaolah2:
caolah2 Featured By Owner Edited Aug 16, 2016
lol > And why do you think that her mother Persian?
There's no need to Link everything About Arabs in Persians ,
any way I like your Your drawing, it is more realistic ,
in Disney movie Princess Jasmine wearing Such as oriental dancer.
Reply
:iconwickfield:
Wickfield Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
If you read the comment I was responding to, I was just theorizing about her mother due to the fact that Jasmine is not an Arab name, but a Persian one.  Arabic noblewoman had official names made up of several passed-down family names, not something common like a flower.  

But yes, in the movie Jasmine is wearing very modern belly-dancer clothes...from what I could tell, not even slaves or servants wore such little clothes in medieval Arabia!
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:iconcaolah2:
caolah2 Featured By Owner Edited Aug 16, 2016
1- her name In the original story is (Badr AL Bdour) Arabic name , not Jasmine , but Disney change the name,
2-  there are Some Arab women have Jasmine  name ,On the other side most of the Persians People have Arabic names.
And the Persians used Arabic alphabet to writing for more than a thousand years, this does not mean that they are Arabs .
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:iconwickfield:
Wickfield Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Well yes, but this is a pic of the Disney version, not the original, and this is dealing with historic naming practices, not modern ones. I hope that makes more sense!
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:iconcaolah2:
caolah2 Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2016
Yes, but Disney also did not say that Jasmine's mother was Persian ,
They are just Use it because it is shorter name and because the Arabs also uses the Yasmin name .
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:iconwickfield:
Wickfield Featured By Owner Aug 16, 2016  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I know, that is what made it a theory.
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(1 Reply)
:iconuyr-uka:
Uyr-Uka Featured By Owner Nov 30, 2015
This is lovely! And...is she actually holding a jasmine blossom? The species that grows here has much smaller blossoms (which look very much like that except for scale), but I don't know about which species specifically grow in India or Iraq, or what size they might be! :)
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:iconwickfield:
Wickfield Featured By Owner Edited Dec 1, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Well, I actually just kept the crocus blossom from the original Turkish design...I figured they could have them in an Iraqi garden, and it looked like the flower Aladdin gives her on the magic carpet ride. ;)

(Edited to change lotus to crocus lol)
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:iconmoonlitinuyasha1985:
While I will always love Jasmine's attire from the film, you certainly did her culture justice with this revised design!:icongreatjobplz:
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:iconwickfield:
Wickfield Featured By Owner Oct 30, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Yay, thank you!
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:iconmoonlitinuyasha1985:
moonlitinuyasha1985 Featured By Owner Oct 30, 2015
You're welcome!
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:iconimaginarymadman:
ImaginaryMadMan Featured By Owner Oct 24, 2015
Nice job.
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:iconwickfield:
Wickfield Featured By Owner Oct 24, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks!
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:iconserendippitydoodah:
SerenDippityDooDah Featured By Owner Oct 23, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Now THIS is how an Arabian princess would dress! 

But, why the mehndi (henna), was she engaged by this point?
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:iconwickfield:
Wickfield Featured By Owner Oct 24, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
From my understanding Arabian women didn't only use henna for special events, based on a passage from the Quran the could just wear it decoratively, kind of like our modern nail polish. :) I based Jasmine's henna off this pic: s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/7…
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:iconserendippitydoodah:
SerenDippityDooDah Featured By Owner Nov 17, 2015  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Right! I'm sorry I forgot. 

See, I often think Aladdin (the movie) is based in India. 
I know Aladdin is an Arab folk tale, and it has history in China, Uzbekistan, and really all over, but when I see the Disney movie, I see Indian culture, Indian art. And sometimes I forget that's not actually the case. I like to think Agrabah became Agra, India in the future and the palace became the basis for the Tahj Mahal. lol

You're right, in those times it was kinda like nail polish in today's terms, but today, it's very ceremonial especially in my culture (I'm an American with Indian and Persian heritages, and ethnicity) lol.

But, seriously, this is fantastic!! :D I love it so much! 
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:iconwickfield:
Wickfield Featured By Owner Nov 18, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Yeah, even though the producers said it was based on Baghdad there were definitely Indian influences too - thus the Agra in Agrabah!
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:iconmoonymina:
MoonyMina Featured By Owner Oct 20, 2015  Hobbyist General Artist
really interesting!
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:iconwickfield:
Wickfield Featured By Owner Oct 21, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks!
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:iconniobesnuppa:
Niobesnuppa Featured By Owner Oct 20, 2015   Digital Artist
She looks great!
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:iconwickfield:
Wickfield Featured By Owner Oct 20, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you!
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:iconisamisa:
isamisa Featured By Owner Oct 19, 2015
I'm really confused, what happened to your ALADDIN pics that you have to re-make them :XD:? wrong timeline?
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:iconwickfield:
Wickfield Featured By Owner Oct 19, 2015  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Oh, I explained in the description. :)
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