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Jean-Léon Gérôme, The Bath, ca. 1880-85, Oil on canvas, 29 x 23-1/2 in. The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco; Mildred Anna Williams Collection.

The Baths

Women of the harem were renowned for their luminous complexions and satin skin. To wash and purify was a religious obligation. It is not surprising, therefore, that so many baths were built in the Seraglio. The sultan, the valide, and the wives all had private baths, while the other women of the harem shared a large bathhouse, which sometimes welcomed the sultan as well.


Jean-Léon Gérôme, The Bath, ca. 1880-85, Oil on canvas, 29 x 23-1/2 in. The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco; Mildred Anna Williams Collection.The BathsWomen of the harem were renowned for their luminous complexions and satin skin. To wash and purify was a religious obligation. It is not surprising, therefore, that so many baths were built in the Seraglio. The sultan, the valide, and the wives all had private baths, while the other women of the harem shared a large bathhouse, which sometimes welcomed the sultan as well.