Congratulations on considering a seldom-seen re-enactment character, may I wish you every success with your decision. But first, to answer your questions, insofar as I can;
1) Suitable buttons can be found regularly on eBay, and I would suggest looking at some of the European manifestations like eBay.fr, etc. As you noted, the design is quite straightforward, a Crescent and a Star, and this was used throughout the Ottoman Empire so there were literally millions of these produced. You will find a wide variety of manufacturers identified on the reverse of the buttons, from Vienna, to Constantinople, to Birmingham. The standard tunic size was 40 ligne, or 1 inch, with variations for breast pockets, shoulder straps and even cuffs. I blush to remember that I once had a lovely matched pair of these latter but had them gilded and made into cuff-links ... Sorry. This pattern appears to have been worn by all branches of the Egyptian Army except the Artillery who, for at least a part of the khedivial period, wore a special pattern, somewhat akin to that of the Royal Artillery, featuring a field gun under a crescent moon and star. These are extremely rare and are seldom seen on the market. The picture below features this last design ( bottom ) as well as the standard pattern and a slightly better quality pattern which was generally reserved for officers.
If you have no luck, and can find someone to cast copies in resin, etc. then I would be happy to loan you samples of the various sizes. Let me know what you think.
2) Regarding headdress, the proper name in Egypt was tarboush, as opposed to a fez which is generally of a soft, almost floppy composition. The tarboush came in one colour only for public servants, dark red. It was produced in the tens of thousands with a factory in Austria providing 40,000 each year to the Egyptian government alone. Many more were, of course, produced in Egypt too. The tassel was at one time dark blue for officers and black for everyone else but the latter colour seems to have eventually become the standard. We must remember that the headdress was regularly blocked and steamed and the tassel was removed and then sewn back on afterwards. Each unit had its own set of blocks, etc.
A good example should be available on-line, and for the post-1890 period should be about 135 mm in height.
When the Egyptian Army ( EA ) was re-organised in 1883, the first British officers were allowed a certain flexibility in their dress but the Khedive soon clamped down and insisted that his Army was to remain an Ottoman force. Henceforth, all ranks were to wear only the tarboush, Ottoman ranks were re-instated and Muslim holy days were to be scrupulously observed. It is recorded that one exception occurred at the Battle of El-Teb in 1884 when one British officer insisted on wearing his white foreign service helmet with a red pagri. By 1898 it would appear that this stricture was somewhat relaxed and at least some British officers attached to the EA appear in photographs wearing a Wolseley helmet, often bearing a brass Crescent and Star badge on the front. The famous photograph of the emir Mahmoud at the Atbara shows a British officer, presumably of the Xth Sudanese Bn. wearing such a combination with the addition of a black-coloured flash to match that worn by his soldiers.
Anyway, I've probably prattled on far too much, my apologies. If I can be of any assistance then please let me know. Good luck with the proposed re-enactment.
- EA Buttons.JPG (100.12 KiB) Viewed 269 times
- VWF - Xth Sudanese Bn. at Atbara - Copy.JPG (59.05 KiB) Viewed 269 times
Last edited by Mark A. Reid
on 07 Oct 2016 19:58, edited 1 time in total.