THE IMAGINED HAREM
The mention of the word harem itself causes the heart to beat a little faster and the imagination to take flight. A world of erotic abandon set in exotic surroundings is instantly conjured up before our eyes. This image of the harem as a fantasy wonderland, dripping with sensuality and full of vulnerable, naked women, is, however, just that: a fantasy.
This documentary wants to explore the many forms the imagined harem has taken in art and to trace, where possible, its origin. It may be precisely because so little was known about the harem, that it has proven to be such an endless source of inspiration. When we realise how little artists had to go on, their work is maybe most of all proof of the force of imagination.