6 / 2000

Syria * Wooden groove-carved pedestal sandal

Although raised wooden pedestal or platform sandals, made out of a single block of wood, were frequently worn in the entire Middle East area, it is unlikely that the design shown here was made by local artisans. As it happens, this type of sandal was also worn in an area stretching from the west coast of Africa (Mauritania) to south east Russia and the eastern Indian region. The Ottoman empire once covered the same area and it is evident that people living in this area became strongly influenced by Turkish fashion and footwear designs. Many were beautifully inlaid with mother of pearl or intricately carved. The one shown here has an upper which clearly show West African accents or might even originate theere with its colourful woollen pom-poms and reddish dyed leather, as a result of the lively trade going on between all conquered areas. The tip at the heel-end together with the very pointed toe indicates that this design was originally meant to be tied to the foot by way of cloth bindings instead of a leather strap.

Research and text by : W.A.H.M. Habraken-Oosterhout-Holland
Illustration by : Colin Ball - Waalwijk - Holland