Statue of Saint Sara la Kali picture image

Statue of Saint Sara la Kali

May 24th marks the Feast day of Saint Sara  also known as Sara la Kali. She is venerated at Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer in the South of France. It is a place of pilgrimage for the Roma to honor Saint Sara la Kali.

But who was Saint Sara? There are a few accounts about her origins. Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer was the place that the three Marys fled to after leaving Palestine. Saint Sara was said to have saved them. In other accounts she was their servant from Upper Egypt and othe othe say she was an Egyptian Princess.

Saint Sara makes her first appearance in Golden Legend which is collection of hagiographies by Jacobus de Voragine which is from the late medieval period. The Legend of the Saintes-Maries (1521), where she is portrayed as “a charitable woman that helped people by collecting alms, which led to the popular belief that she was a Gypsy.”

Though Ronald Lee, a Canadian Romani writer, linguist and activist suggested in 2001 that Saint Sara la Kali  was part  who is actually part of Kali/Durga and that Goddesses were transferred to a Christian figure. This is due to how she is worshipped on her feast day.    

While it’s unclear what Saint Sara la Kali’s origins were, what is very clear is the devotion and love she inspires in her followers. Devotees say she their “mother.” The first aspects of the veneration of Saint Sara la Kali is the pilgrimage to Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer.  The pilgrimage is an important aspect of spirituality to the Romani, and they have been making the Pilgrimage to Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer since the 19th Century.

The next aspect of the veneration of Saint Sara la Kali is her effigy which is kept underground in the church. The statue is dressed in bright clothing made by the Romani.  A tiara adorns her head. People touch and kiss her clothing. They pin notes to them, leave photos of departed loved ones and trinkets.

The statue of Saint Sara la Kali is then carried from the church to the sea in a ritual bath so to speak. It also reacts her arrival in France. The ritual is also parallels the worship of Kali. The procession is a grand affair led by the Archbishop of Arles and Aix-en-Provence, complete with people singing, playing instruments and men on horseback.  

Martine Guillot is a lay member of the ministry team at the church. “In all the stories about Sara, I think the most important thing about her is that she loved and served the Holy Marys, and if she loved them she also loved Jesus,” she says.

She’s an icon of love and welcome.”  (Source)

Thanks to Fatma for suggesting this post!

Sources
http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/0/28211422
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Sarah
https://sacredmysticaljourneys.com/festival-st-sarah-black-madonna/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_Legend
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ronald_Lee

 

Medieval Romani Women like Esmeralda have been long depicted as wearing specific clothing. Long flowing colorful skirts, corsets, low-cut chemise blouse and lots of jewelry. But is this accurate? Did medieval Romani dress this way?  Please keep in my I’m not expert on any of this.

Esmeralda Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Esmeralda exerting some power Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

To be fair the Romani were a very uncommon subject of medieval art. Art back then was  for the most part was commercial, an artist was hired to paint someone’s portrait so there is a lack of Romani in traditional art history works. And painting is largely how people glean what people in Medieval times wore.

However, there are three works that depict Romani women that even though  they are from the Renaissance gives a slight hint as to what Romani women could have worn and very well what a girl like Esmeralda could have wore.

The Fortune Teller by Caravaggio picture image

The Fortune Teller by Caravaggio

Let’s start with Caravaggio’s Fortune Teller. There is actually two versions of this painting done a year a part. This one is the second version from 1595. In both paintings the women is dress the same.  The Fortune teller in this is identified as a Romani. She is wearing a  high neckline chemise that has a slit in it with a embroidered neckline that ties closed. She also wears a sari-like garment. It has a red broader and ties at the shoulder. Romani are said to have migrated out of India so a sari would make sense that they could have wore this. She also wears a turban-like headdress

The Fortune Teller by Vouet picture image

The Fortune Teller by Vouet

The depiction by Vouet  is similar to Caravaggio but is different. The Romani girl in this wears the sari-like garment but her chemise blouse is lower cut and she seems to wearing corset-like garment. Her sari also has a red boarder and ties at the shoulder. She is not wearing a headdress. This painting was made in response to Caravaggio, so Voulet could have just copied the clothing.

Fortune teller by Boulogne picture image

Fortune teller by Boulogne

Then there Boulogne’s take on Caravaggio’s Romani theme. In this one the Romani girl is still a fortune teller and is wearing a veil like headdress. The headdress is akin to Gina Lollobrigda’s costume in the 1956 version. She doesn’t seem to be wearing a sari either but instead she is wearing an overdress. This also makes sense that a Romani would wear clothing that is more European is style as they were often gifted clothing for their fortune telling.

One thing you might notice is the lack of Jewelry. None of these paintings have the hoop earrings, the coins or anything that fits the cliche look. The pervasive  look for the “Gypsy” is an 1800 century one or even just a myth.

Not that I think film version would ever go this route for Esmeralda’s costume, costume designers seem to hate historical accuracy (I‘m looking at you Colleen Atwood for your designs in Memoirs of a Geisha and what you said in the featurette) but I can’t help but think how different Esmeralda’s dancing would be if she was in the Sari-garment.   And how different she would be perceived. Her low cut blouse and defined waist of a corset couldn’t carry the sensualness, it would all have to be on the actress.

Get Michelangelo Caravaggio (The fortune teller) Art Poster Print

As Esmeralda been adapted for different versions of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, she has wore red a lot.

Esmeralda & Phoebus Illustartion picture image

Esmeralda & Phoebus Illustartion

The first couple adaptations La Esmeralda (the opera and the Ballet)  her costumes has red details.

Costume design for La Esmeralda Opera 1831 picture image

Costume design for La Esmeralda Opera 1831

 

In 1839, Belgium Painter, Antoine Wiertz depicted her in all red.

Painting of Esmeralda and Djali by Wiertz

Painting of Esmeralda and Djali by Wiertz

In 1870 ballerina, Adelina Patti, is depicted in a costume with a red skirt. The Ballets runs the gambit of colors from blue to green to pink though red seems to be the popular color choice.

Adelina Patti as Esmeralda 1870 picture image

Adelina Patti as Esmeralda 1870

 

Paloma Herrera as La Esmeralda Ballet picture image

Paloma Herrera as La Esmeralda Ballet

La Esmeralda Ballet picture image

La Esmeralda Ballet

La Esmeralda Ballet with Phoebus picture image

La Esmeralda Ballet with Phoebus

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s not till we get to the movies that we see red surfacing as the dominate color for her. The 1923 movie has at least two instances of a colorized posters one is yellow and purple and the other has red details.

Hunchback of Notre Dame 1923 Lon Chaney picture image

Hunchback of Notre Dame 1923 Lon Chaney

Hunchback of Notre Dame 1923 Poster picture image

Hunchback of Notre Dame 1923 Poster

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In 1939 despite Walter Plunkett’s design being mostly blue with red details and a red vest the coloration of her dress on a poster is all red.

Walter Plunkett design Costume for Esmeralda 1939 Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Plunkett’s costume design for Esmeralda 1939 Hunchback of Notre Dame

Movie poster for 1939 Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Movie poster for 1939 Hunchback of Notre Dame

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Though to be fair there are a few posters  where she wears green and blue, but there is more red.

Hunchback of Notre Dame 1939 Poster picture image

Hunchback of Notre Dame 1939 Poster

Movie poster for 1939 Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Movie poster for 1939 Hunchback of Notre Dame

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the 1956 version Esmeralda wears all red for most of the movie.

Gina Lollobrigida as Esmeralda Hunchback of Notre Dame 1956 picture image

Gina Lollobrigida as Esmeralda Hunchback of Notre Dame 1956

But I find it curious that she wears yellow at her ill-fated meeting with Phoebus over red.

Gina Lollobrigida as Esmeralda Hunchback of Notre Dame 1956 picture

Gina Lollobrigida as Esmeralda Hunchback of Notre Dame 1956

Gina Lollobrigida as Esmeralda Hunchback of Notre Dame 1956 picture image

Gina Lollobrigida as Esmeralda Hunchback of Notre Dame 1956

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In 1996 Disney version Esmeralda wears red during her dance performance but for most part she wears purple.  I do have to wonder if Anne-Marie Bardwell had something to do with Esmeralda wearing purple throughout the movie as she was  credited in Character Design/ Visual Development and one of the animators on Esmeralda.

Esmeralda Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image red dress

Esmeralda Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame Dancing

Though she wears red/dark pink in Der Glockner von Notre Dame the German musical.

 

Esmeralda dancing Der Glöckner von Notre Dame Picture Image

Esmeralda Dancing Der Glöckner von Notre Dame

 

 

In Notre Dame de Paris Esmeralda wears green but there is one red dress that was wore  for advertising for the London cast and the 2001 French cast. This dress is only wore once on stage in the Russian version during her meeting with Phoebus. And even in the 2010/2011 concerts Helene Segara wore red to sing the musical.

Tina Arena As Esmeralda in the Promotional Red Dress Notre Dame de Paris 2000 London Castpicture image

Tina Arena As Esmeralda in the Promotional Red Dress Notre Dame de Paris 2000 London Cast

Helene Segara performing Bohemienne at Bercy Concert picture image

Helene Segara performing Bohemienne at Bercy Concert

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recently in the new illustration novel by Benjamin Lacombe and the  Graphic Novel by Robin Recht and Jean Bastide, Esmeralda wears red.

Esmeralda by Benjamin Lacombe Notre Dame de Paris picture image

Esmeralda by Benjamin Lacombe Notre Dame de Paris

Esmeralda Notre Dame de Paris Graphic Novel by Robin Recht and Jean Bastide picture image

Esmeralda Notre Dame de Paris Graphic Novel by Robin Recht and Jean Bastide

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When you look at all these instances, why is red her default color? Is it because green is too obvious for her given that her name means Emerald and red is opposite color to green making it the non-obvious choice? Seems a rather simplistic design notion for a costume, especially when one thinks that the color red is in total opposition to her as character.

Esmeralda Statuette by Armani picture image

Esmeralda Statuette by Armani

 

The color red typically is associated in Western cultural with  passion, desire, love and sexuality. Esmeralda’s personality is lighthearted, innocent, naive and modest. She doesn’t seem the type character to outwardly express her sexuality because even though she inspires desire in others, she herself is unaware of it.

Red is also in opposition of Esmeralda’s allegorical role as the Virgin Mary who traditionally wears either wears blue or turquoise.

Red also seems to age Esmeralda, her main point of interest in the novel is her youth, blue and green are more youthful colors but red comes off as mature.

Finally in the Romani culture, red is a color of ill omen as it’s associated with Blood (The Lure of the Gypsy Culture ) Though maybe the costume is meant her to  be ironic like she is subconsciously giving her in to tragic fate, though she lives more often than she dies and I don’t think the costume designers are that clever or that cerebral.

Shirel as Esmeralda in the Red with Laurent Ban as Phoesbus Notre Dame de Paris 2001 French Cast picture image

Shirel as Esmeralda in the Red with Laurent Ban as Phoesbus Notre Dame de Paris 2001 French Cast

 

However, maybe this whole matter is quite simple, does Esmeralda wear red in the book?
In the book there are  only a few instances where her clothing is described. When Gringoire first sees her, she is wearing a golden bodice (Book 2 chapter 3 Kisses for Blows) Frollo mentions that she wears blue when he first saw her dance (Book 8 chapter 4 Lasciate Ogni Speranza) and of course she wears white in the later part of the story when she condemn to die and brought into Notre Dame.

I think there maybe an instance of her wearing a multicolored skirt but I can’t find the instance in the book and her necklace that contains her baby shoe is stung with red seed beads,  other that she does not wear red. So why is she in red since red is in total opposition to her as character and there is no precedence for it in the novel.

Auguste Couder's Painting of Frollo stabbing Phoebus picture image

Auguste Couder’s Painting of Frollo stabbing Phoebus

If Esmeralda doesn’t wear in the book and it’s a color that is against every aspect of her character why does red seem to be the color of choice for her.

One reason I think is red is an easy color choice to make for when a character is suppose to stand out and be thought as desirable. There might be another level, Esmeralda is a Gypsy, this gives her an sense of exoticism and one popular style of art in the 19th century was Orientalism. Orientalism in art meant depicted exotic sense from place that were exotic to Europeans. The paintings use a lot of rich colors and a lot of red especially for women.

Une Beaute Prientale by Paul de la Boulaye picture image

Une Beaute Prientale by Paul de la Boulaye

 

So her being in red could mean that the costume designers are saying Esmeralda is an exotic beauty who is sexual desirable even though Victor Hugo meant for Esmeralda to work against the stereotype, why else would he have Gringoire said this to Frollo about her;

I certainly  consider it a great rarity to find such nun-like prudery fiercely maintained in the midst of those gipsy girls, who are so easily tamed” (Book 7, chapter 2). Esmeralda’s purity is part of her allure and to have her wearing red more less bastardizes the point of  her character

Painting of Esmeralda and Djali by Wilhelm Marstrand

Painting of Esmeralda and Djali by Wilhelm Marstrand

Red is just the wrong color for Esmeralda as a character and is it far too over done to be her dominant color anymore, details are fine but it’s too much red  but in over 170 years worth of adaptations it has become a boring cliche. I think this  is a cliche that need to at very least ebb. Costume designers of newer Hunchback adaptions if you read this please consider using different colors and if you must use red make it details or at the very least  try a different tone it doesn’t always have to fire engine red.

Esmeralda and Frollo Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Esmeralda mocks Frollo Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

Esmeralda Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image red dress

Esmeralda Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

Today’s question is “How does Esmeralda have green eyes?” I’m going to go out on a limb and say that the Esmeralda in question is Disney Esmeralda, since she’s the only one with green eyes.

Also a Disclaimer, I have read the book, many many times. In the Book, Esmeralda has Black eyes. This question is about Disney Esmeralda, the book does not enter into this question except with regards to her name with her name.

Esmeralda and Djali Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Esmeralda and Djail Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

Since this question is “How” which means “by what means” and since she is a cartoon this question is very simple; it’s green ink. But allow me to make yet another massive assumption, this question is actually a “why” question meaning “what reason for.”  So let’s answer this new question, Why does Disney’s Esmeralda have green eyes?

Esmeralda Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Esmeralda Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

I think the reason was to link the character to the name. In the book Esmeralda got her name because of an amulet she wears which is a pouch that has a paste emerald on it. It’s worth mentioning that Esmeralda in the book is rarely called “Esmeralda” it’s either “La Esmeralda” or something linked to her being a gypsy or a dancer. So the name is a title in someway. Now the in the disney movie, Esmeralda is a proper name and was given to her based on her eye color.

Esmeralda singing God Help the Outcast Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Esmeralda singing God Help the Outcast Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

Now let’s ask one more question, is it possible for Esmeralda to even have this eye color. Well yes and no. No is the sense that this shade of green is not a natural eye color but it’s a Disney film so to hell with logic and the law of nature. And yes, given that the Romani (Gypsies) came out of Northern India, it’s possible, albeit quite rare. After all some of India’s top actresses have green or blue eyes like Rani Mukherjee (Golden- green) and Aiswariya Rai (blue).*

Rani Mukherjee posingpicture image

Rani Mukherjee posing

Aishwarya Rai umrao jaan Blue eye

Aishwarya Rai as Umrao Jaan

I mean without getting to a whole anthropological, genealogical, and tracking human migration patterns over the centuries discussion, let’s just say that this type of color is possible for a Romani and therefore it’s not impossible for Esmeralda. Though it inaccurate to the book where she has dark brown eyes but creative license and what not.

Esmeralda Disney Hunchback of Notre dame picture image

Esmeralda reaching out to Quasimodo Disney Hunchback of Notre dame

Please Note – This answer was not meant to be 100% serious, so relax. It was more about ink color and character design than about Genes and Hereditary patterns.

*Movie Recommendations with Rani Mukherjee and Aiswariya Rai (I’m a Bollywood fan ^_^)
Rani Mukherjee- Black, Paheli,Dil Bole Hadippa
Aiswariya Rai- Devdas , Umrao Jaan, Jodhaa Akbar
This movie has both actress through Rai is just a cameo. But It’s a funny movie.
Bunty Aur Babli

Esmeralda Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Esmeralda Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

 

Esmeralda is the most divergent character in the Disney version from the book in both looks and personality. I already talked about her personality, now let’s look at her looks.

Esmeralda Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Disney Esmeralda Hunchback of Notre Dame dancing

 

 

The Disney Esmeralda looks 100% Romani (Gypsy). She has a darker complexion, dark hair, and light green eyes (with no glint). Her eyes also do not change color pending on how much light is in the space, which kind of makes them look witchy.  She keeps her hair pulled back and the way she does it, it creates a big poof. This poof makes her look older. When her hair is down she looks younger. Her hair also has a slight curl. Though in the middle of the epic running away from Frollo, her hair looks straight but that could just  be inconsistencies in animation or the wind, take your pick. But it does look straight.

 

 

Esmeralda Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Esmeralda complimenting Quaismodo Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

 

Her age is very vague. Most of the Disney characters have a rough age range or they just say how old they are like Ariel and Jasmine. With this shift in Disney heroines being somewhat more independent and less dreamy, they appear to be older than the typical “Disney princess” (except Tiana, I would say she is like a compromise between the archetypal Princess and the confident independent heroine of the late nineties). The question is how old is Disney’s Esmeralda. With the age inflation that Disney implements, I’d say she most likely 22 at the youngest, which is old for a Disney heroine. The long and short of it is, Esmeralda is meant to be older like “she’s been around.” This is not my phasing, watch the commentary, it’s the scene where Esmeralda is helping Quasimodo from the pillory. To listen to the commentary, The DVD

 

19th Century Illustration of Esmeralda with Djali

19th Century Illustration of Esmeralda with Djali

Disney Esmeralda Hunchback of Notre Dame Dance picture Image

Esmeralda’s Dance Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

 

 

 

 

 

 

Against the original novel by Victor Hugo, Esmeralda’s looks are very different. Esmeralda is never described in graphic detail but she’s described as very beautiful frequently by many characters. Disney Esmeralda is meant to be beautiful certainly (what Disney main female character isn’t?) but she is never called beautiful in the movie. The closest mention to her looks is Clopin saying she’s “The Finest Girl is France.”

Esmeralda Illustration Image picture

19th century Illustration of Esmeralda

Disney Esmeralda Hunchback of Notre Dame Dance picture image

Esmeralda’s Dance Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

 

 

 

 

 

 

Esmeralda in the book is not 100% Romani (Gypsy). Her mother is a French women and while her Father could have been a Gypsy, it is never actually mentioned who was her father. Esmeralda has a golden skin tone, black hair and black eyes. Part of Esmeralda’s charm in the book is her innocence and her total unawareness of her own beauty. Disney Esmeralda is the complete and utter opposite; she knows her appeal, exploits it and given that quote by the director Kirk Wise that I mention earlier, I’m not sure how innocent is in the movie. (I still wonder if the production actually read the book or just confused it with other Hunchback films) So it safe to say that Disney did not use Hugo for even  a basis of Esmeralda’s design.

 

Concept Art for Esmeralda Disney Hunchback of Notre dame picture image

Concept Art for Esmeralda Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

Concept Art for Esmeralda Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Concept Art for Esmeralda Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

Concept Art for Esmeralda Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Concept Art for Esmeralda Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Looking at the concept art, Esmeralda started off looking more youthful and somehow along the way she lost  the youthful look. My guess the vocal inspiration turned the tables on the character design. Alas Demi’s Moore doesn’t sound youthful, at least not when the film was recording the voices. For More Concept Art of Hunchback

 

 

Esmeralda and Frollo Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Esmeralda giving Frollo a peck on the nose Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

 

It’s actually not Disney’s fault that Esmeralda’s looks/acts sexy whereas Hugo’s Esmeralda  did not. The fault lies in the film history of Hunchback movies. Esmeralda has long been depicted as sexy or at least no stranger to  feminine charms. Esmeralda has also been depicted by actresses who are more known for their sex appeal over acting prowess. Such actresses have been Stacia Napierkowska, Theda Bara, Gina Lollobrigida and Salma Hayak. Also Disney models their characters after the voice actor playing them, so with the choice of Demi Moore it was  inevitable that Disney Esmeralda was going to be sexy and follow the line of sexy Esmeraldas.

In a featurette of the movie, Moore said she could see herself in Esmeralda’s animation. While Disney took their cues from the 1939 version, I think Esmeralda’s look was based somewhat on Gina Lollobrigida’s Esmeralda  as well as Demi Moore (maybe, I can’t really tell, I haven’t seen a ton of Moore’s films discern her mannerism and/or acting style in Esmeralda’s animation.)

Demi Moore image picture

Demi Moore

Esmeralda Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image red dress

Esmeralda Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

Gina Lollobrigida as Esmeralda Hunchback of Notre Dame 1956 image picture

Gina Lollobrigida as Esmeralda Hunchback of Notre Dame 1956

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next Time Phoebus

Phoebus Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Phoebus Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame