Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Public Bath House or Hamam in Esfahan

Public bath houses or hamam were common until the advent of indoor plumbing in houses. Some are still operational, but mostly for men, as far as I can tell.

This hamam, built by a private donor who also built the nearby madraseh, bazaar, and caravanserai (no longer in existence), is now a museum, with gorgeous tile work and imaginative water spigots. Several museums we visited make good use of human-sized figures to depict the activity going on. The figures here are particularly interesting.

There is another interesting intersection with the Houses of Strength or zurkhaneh. Depicted here on a wall are four athletes, two working out with their Indian clubs and the two in the middle wrestling. I wonder if it was their custom, after working out, to come to the bath house for a soak and a scrub. It would make sense to me.


plumbing said...

As societies have changed, public baths have been replaced as private bathing facilities became more commonly available. Public baths have also become incorporated into the social system as meeting places.

scott davidson said...

Very effective stylization of the attractive woman, absorbed in her sewing. Nice flowing purple cloth leading into the distance. Quite different, and somehow the same, as this woman resting from her sewing in a sunny garden, painted by American impressionist artist Frederick Carl Frieseke, http://EN.WahooArt.com/A55A04/w.nsf/OPRA/BRUE-8DP6G8. The painting can be seen at wahooart.com, and ordered as a canvas print.