This page is a record of an exhibit that took place
in 1997-98. The individual links below will take you to
the CURRENT VERSION of the pages
that formed part of that exhibit.
The Tuareg are fiercely independent nomadic people. On the move with
their herds and camels over vast areas of the southern Sahara, they produce
no masks or figures but instead create an impressive world of traditional,
abstract, beautiful, functional objects of leather, wood and metal, all
aged by time, wear and use. Their tents become private domains of grace
and refinement that defy the harsh surrounding desert.
Leather was their main material; women of the ruling Tuareg and artisan class tanned, painted, embroidered, molded, engraved and fringed it to make saddles, colorful travelling bags, milk jars and asaber tent mats, all portable and befitting these "Nobles of the Desert".
Wood was carved into posts of many inventive forms. Some are simple, others, Ehel (for holding wall mats), tigettewin (forked poles), igem (entrance poles) and tejikant (bowl supports) are elaborate and intricately carved. Created by blacksmith guild members of Enaden, the posts, supports and holders also defined classes. They are now out of context, once supports and holders, they are now an enchanted, weathered forest of abstract sculptures.
Tuareg silver jewelry, used for adornment, identification, protection and status, includes bracelets, necklaces, pendants, rings and the famous crosses. Wooden bowls and carved stones complete an exotic show filled with history, power, color, craftsmanship and beauty.