31 ago 2010

Precolumbian auction

Date:  September 21st, 2010, 10:00h
Preview: 17 and 20th September, 10-12h and 13-17h
Place: Münzenhandlung Gerhard Hirsch Nachfolger, Promenadeplatz 10/II, 80333 München, (Germany)

30 ago 2010

Kabsa from Saudi Arabia

Kabsa (Arabic: كبسة‎) is a family of rice dishes that are served mostly in Saudi Arabia — where it is commonly regarded as a national dish — and the other Arab states of the Persian Gulf. Kabsa, though, is believed to be indigenous to Yemen. In places like Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Kuwait the dish is popularly known as Majboos (Arabic: مجبوس‎) or Machboos (Arabic: مكبوس‎), but is served mostly in the same way.
These dishes are mainly made from a mixture of spices, rice (usually long-grain basmati), meat and vegetables. There are many kinds of Kabsa and each kind has a uniqueness about it. The spices used in Kabsa are largely responsible for its taste; these are generally black pepper, cloves, cardamom, saffron, cinnamon, black lime, bay leaves and nutmeg. The main ingredient that accompanies the spices is the meat, such as chicken, goat, lamb, camel, or sometimes beef, fish, and shrimp. In chicken machboos, a whole chicken is used. The spices, rice and meat may be augmented with almonds, pine nuts, onions and raisins. The dish can be garnished with hashu (Arabic: حشو‎) and served hot with dakkous (Arabic: دقوس‎) — home-made tomato sauce.
Meat for Kabsa can be cooked in various ways. A popular way of preparing meat is called Mandi. This is an ancient technique, whereby meat is barbecued in a deep hole in the ground that is covered while the meat cooks. Another way of preparing and serving meat for Kabsa is Mathbi, where seasoned meat is grilled on flat stones that are placed on top of burning embers. A third technique, Madghoot, involves cooking the meat in a Pressure cooker.

Kabsa Recipe
  • 2-3 pound chicken, cut up (breast, thighs, legs, wings)
  • 1/4 cup cooking oil
  • 2 medium onions, sliced
  • 1 12oz. can tomato puree
  • 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • Grated rind of one orange
  • 3 sticks cinnamon
  • 4 cloves
  • 4 cardamom pods
  • 1 pound long grain rice
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup sliced almond
  • Salt & Pepper to taste
How to cook it
Sautee onion in oil over medium-high heat until it begins to brown. Turn heat to low and add chicken pieces, tomato puree, chopped tomatoes and garlic and stir for about five minutes. Add three cups hot water, grated carrot, orange rind, spices, salt and pepper to taste. Turn up heat to medum and cook, covered, for about 20-25 minutes, until chicken is done.
Remove chicken. Set aside to keep warm. Stir rice into the liquid inthe pan, and cook, covered over low heat for about 35 - 40 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed.
Put rice on a serving with chicken pieces arranged around the circumfrence. Toss raisins and almonds over all.

© Text and image: Wikipedia / Recipe: www.world-recipes.info  

28 ago 2010


Title: Moolaadé (Magical protection)
Director: Ousmane Sembène
Writer: Ousmane Sembène
Year: 2004
Running time: 120 minutes
Country: Burkina Faso and France
Plot summary:
Moolaadé ("magical protection") is a 2004 African feature film by Senegalese director Ousmane Sembène. It addresses the subject of female genital cutting or mutilation, a common practice in a number of African countries, especially nations immediately south of the Sahara Desert. The film is a co-production between companies from several Francophone nations: Senegal, France, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Morocco and Tunisia. It was filmed in the remote village of Djerrisso, Burkina Faso.
The film is set in a village in Burkina Faso. The film argues strongly against the practice, depicting a village woman, Colle, who uses moolaadé (magical protection) to protect a group of girls. She is opposed by the villagers who believe in the necessity of circumcision, which they call purification.
© Text and image: Wikipedia

26 ago 2010

The Dongria Kondh of India

The Dongria Kondh and their supporters 
have won a momentous victory.
© Toby Nicholas/Survival
The Dongria Kondh of India have won a stunning victory over one of the world’s biggest mining companies. In an extraordinary move, India’s Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh has blocked Vedanta Resources’ controversial plan to mine bauxite on the sacred hills of the Dongria Kondh tribe.

Mr Ramesh said Vedanta has shown a ’shocking’ and ‘blatant disregard for the rights of the tribal groups’. The Minister has also questioned the legality of the massive refinery Vedanta has already built below the hills.
The news is a crushing defeat for Indian billionaire Anil Agarwal, Vedanta’s majority owner and founder. 

In recent years the project has come under unprecedented attack. The Norwegian and British governments, the Church of England, organizations such as Survival, and even insurance giant Aviva have all criticized the company and its ethics. 

Survival has been in the forefront of a global campaign against the mine for several years. Survival recruited celebrities such as Michael Palin and Joanna Lumley to champion the tribe’s cause; its supporters have written over 10,000 protest letters to the Indian government, and more than 600,000 people have watched Survival’s film ‘Mine’. The tribe’s plight even came to the attention of ‘Avatar’ director James Cameron, and the Dongria became known as the ‘real Avatar tribe’.

The struggle has pitted the 8,000-strong tribe, nearly all of them illiterate, against the might of an $8bn company and its founder, himself worth some $6bn. The Dongria Kondh have mounted numerous protests, and two of their leaders were abducted and beaten before being released, in an atmosphere of increasing violence.

In recent days an inquiry panel set up by Minister Ramesh recommended the mine be blocked, saying that Vedanta had acted illegally and with ‘total contempt for the law’.

Survival campaigner Dr Jo Woodman, who experienced first-hand the atmosphere of intimidation in the Dongria’s hills, said today, ‘This is a victory nobody would have believed possible. The Dongria’s campaign became a litmus test of whether a small, marginalized tribe could stand up to a massive multinational company with an army of lobbyists and PR firms and the ear of government. Incredibly, the Dongria’s courage and tenacity, allied with the support of many people in India, and Survival’s supporters around the world, have triumphed.’
Survival’s Director Stephen Corry said today, ‘The era when mining companies could get away with destroying those in their path with impunity is thankfully drawing to a close, though it remains significant that Vedanta fought for its plans to the end, repeatedly denying everything the tribespeople said. The concerned public must remain vigilant about these so-called development projects – companies simply cannot be trusted voluntarily to abide by human rights standards, particularly when dealing with tribal peoples who can’t know what they’re up against.’
There are over 8000 members of the Dongria tribe, living in villages scattered throughout the Niyamgiri Hills in Orissa State in India. They farm the hill slopes, grow crops in among the forest and gather wild fruit and leaves for sale.
They call themselves Jharnia, meaning ‘protector of streams’, because they protect their sacred mountains and the life-giving rivers that rise within its thick forests.
To the Dongria, Niyam Dongar hill is the seat of their god, Niyam Raja. To Vedanta it is a $2billion deposit of bauxite. Vedanta’s open pit mine would destroy the forests, disrupt the rivers and spell the end of the Dongria Kondh as a distinct people.
The Dongria, and neighbouring Kondh tribals who also revere Niyam Raja, are determined to protect their sacred mountain. They have held road blocks, a human chain and countless demonstrations against the company.
In 2009 India’s Minister for Environment and Forests stated ‘There is still hope for Niyamgiri’ and the Ministry is currently investigating the project. In 2010 the Church of England withdrew its investments from Vedanta stating that the company had failed to show, ‘The level of respect for human rights and local communities that we expect.’ The Norwegian Government and investment firm Martin Currie have also sold their shares in Vedanta Resources over concerns for human rights. International pressure to save the Dongria Kondh is mounting.
© Text: Survival International

24 ago 2010

Dialogue des Mondes

Name: Dialogue des Mondes: Victor Brauner et les Arts Primitifs
Date and opening times: 21 October to 4 December 2010
Place: Galerie Samy Kinge (54, rue de Verneuil) and Galerie Schoffel Valluet (14, rue Guénégaud), Paris (France)
Contact: christine.valluet@wanadoo.fr, Tel: +33 1 43 26 83 38
Gallery Schoffel-Valluet and Gallery Samy Kinge are joining forces to present Dialogue des mondes : Victor Brauner et les arts primitifs (Dialogue of Worlds: Victor Brauner and Primitive Art), a double exhibition presenting twenty works on paper by Romanian avant-garde painter Victor Brauner and some thirty tribal objects from Africa, Oceania, and North America. Dialogue des mondes explores the ways in which tribal art opened the minds of the artists of Brauner's time to a "new territory of dream," and that the attraction of Brauner for these "primitive" art forms held as much, if not more, fascination for their magical powers as for their aesthetic qualities. 

© Text and image: www.tribalartmagazine.com

22 ago 2010

The Baul Songs of Bangladesh

© Bangladesh National Commission for UNESCO
The Bauls are mystic minstrels living in rural Bangladesh and West Bengal, India. The Baul movement, at its peak in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, has now regained popularity among the rural population of Bangladesh. Their music and way of life have influenced a large segment of Bengali culture, and particularly the compositions of Nobel Prize laureate Rabindranath Tagore.
Bauls live either near a village or travel from place to place and earn their living from singing to the accompaniment of the ektara, the lute dotara, a simple one-stringed instrument, and a drum called dubki. Bauls belong to an unorthodox devotional tradition, influenced by Hinduism, Buddhism, Bengali, Vasinavism and Sufi Islam, yet distinctly different from them. Bauls neither identify with any organized religion nor with the caste system, special deities, temples or sacred places. Their emphasis lies on the importance of a person’s physical body as the place where God resides. Bauls are admired for this freedom from convention as well as their music and poetry. Baul poetry, music, song and dance are devoted to finding humankind’s relationship to God, and to achieving spiritual liberation. Their devotional songs can be traced back to the fifteenth century when they first appeared in Bengali literature.
Baul music represents a particular type of folk song, carrying influences of Hindu bhakti movements as well as the shuphi, a form of Sufi song. Songs are also used by the spiritual leader to instruct disciples in Baul philosophy, and are transmitted orally. The language of the songs is continuously modernized thus endowing it with contemporary relevance.
The preservation of the Baul songs and the general context in which they are performed depend mainly on the social and economic situation of their practitioners, the Bauls, who have always been a relatively marginalized group. Moreover, their situation has worsened in recent decades due to the general impoverishment of rural Bangladesh.
Inscribed in 2008 on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity (originally proclaimed in 2005)

© Text and videos: UNESCO

20 ago 2010

Ghost Forest exhibition

Ghost Forest is a major art installation consisting of 10 primary rainforest tree stumps which were brought to Europe from a commercially logged forest in Western Africa by the artist Angela Palmer (www.angelaspalmer.com). The work is intended to highlight the alarming depletion of the world's natural resources, and in particular the continued rate of deforestation. Today, a tropical forest the size of a football pitch is destroyed every four seconds, impacting on climate, biodiversity and the livelihoods of indigenous people. The trees in Ghost Forest - most of which fell naturally in storms - are intended to represent rainforest trees worldwide; the absence of their trunks is presented as a metaphor for the removal of the world's lungs caused through the loss of our forests.
The tree stumps were exhibited as a “ghost forest” in Trafalgar Square in London last November, and then in Copenhagen in December during the UN's Climate Change Conference. From 9th July 2010 to 31st July 2011, Ghost Forest will be exhibited for a year on the lawn of Oxford University's Museum of Natural History and the Pitt Rivers Museum. The exhibition will coincide with the Museum of Natural History's 150th anniversary this year, and the UN's International Year of Biodiversity. In 2011 it is the UN's International Year of Forests.
In the last 50 years, Ghana has lost 90 per cent of its primary rainforest; the World Bank estimates that 60 per cent of that was through illegal logging. However, in the last decade Ghana has been making strenuous efforts to control and manage its surviving rainforests. Last year Ghana became the first country to enter into a VPA (Voluntary Partnership Agreement) with the EU. Under this agreement all timber exported to the EU must be legally harvested. In return, the EU provides Ghana with funding for the collection of timber taxes and the enforcement of legal compliance in the timber industry. This follows what appears to be a fairly consistent attempt over the years to halt deforestation: in 1994, the government in Ghana banned the export of raw logs, encouraged reforestation in degraded areas and put 15 per cent of land under protection.
It is generally recognised however that illegal logging remains widespread, and it is hoped and expected (even by hard-line environmentalists) that the new EU initiative will slow illicit export of timber. In addition, Ghana was selected by the World Bank to receive funds to conserve its rainforests under the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility – a precursor to REDD (Reducing Emissions from Reforestation and Degradation) which is aimed at rewarding countries with carbon credits from the West in return for preserving their forest cover. This will be high on the agenda in Copenhagen at the UN Climate Change Conference.
The stumps in Ghost Forest will come with the help of the logging company John Bitar from a fully licensed concession in Western Ghana. The company has a published policy on both Sustainable Forestry and Social Responsibility. It operates a forest certification programme and a Chain of Custody tracking system. Ghassan Bitar, who runs the company, works in collaboration with WWF, Ghana’s Wildlife Wood Project, the EU and the Zoological Society of London and various conservation and community programmes.
Ghassan was instrumental in designing the agreement for Ghana’s VPA with the EU, and this year he began one of the world’s largest private reforestation programmes, which involves planting 25 million trees on degraded land over the next five years.

The Stool of Queen Asantuah
During research for Ghost Forest, artist Angela Palmer found, through an extraordinary coincidence, an Ashanti stool belonging to the tribe’s famous warrior queen. It came up by chance in her local auction house. It transpires the stool has a deep, spiritual meaning to the Ashanti, whose homeland is where the artist sourced the trees for the Ghost Forest project. The stool is also made, of course, from the timber of a rainforest tree.
Below is an extract from an article Angela Palmer wrote for the Financial Times.
Anxious for a break from my usual reading matter on climate change, I fell upon a catalogue from a local auction house, my eye caught by Lot 406: “A historically interesting Ashanti stool”, bearing a silver plaque on its seat engraved with the words: “Taken from the compound of Queen Asantuah at Ojesu, W Africa, by HBW Russell CMG. 30th of August 1900.”
On the flight to Accra, I’d been mugging up on Ghana’s history and had just been reading about the Ashanti, for whom the stool is the “symbol of the soul of the nation”; the “symbolic source of all kingly power and authority”. The most sacred is the Golden Stool – the Ashanti throne. By tradition, no Ashanti king or queen is allowed to sit on the Golden Stool and it must be held aloft – it should never touch the ground.
At the time HBW Russell “took” one of Queen Asantuah’s stools, he was private secretary to Major James Willcocks, commanding officer of the British Ashanti Field Force. In March 1900, Sir Frederick Hodgson, the colonial British governor, went to Kumasi, seat of the Ashanti nation, and demanded the surrender of the Golden Stool in the name of the Queen of England. “Where is the Golden Stool?” he asked the Ashanti chiefs, “Why am I not sitting on the Golden Stool at this moment? … Why did you not take the opportunity of my coming to Kumasi to bring the Golden Stool, to give it to me to sit upon?”
When the Ashanti refused, Hodgson dispatched his officers to terrorise villagers into disclosing its hiding place. On one occasion, British troops brutally beat children who refused to reveal where their fathers were. An incensed Queen Asantuah mobilised her troops to lay siege to the British mission in Kumasi.
After several months the cordon was broken when the British dispatched extra relief troops from the south and the Ashanti were quashed. Tribal land was confiscated and plundered, the queen captured and exiled to the Seychelles, where she died. But the British troops never found the stool and today it is under high security in the Ashanti palace in Kumasi.

18 ago 2010

A loop of Rowan Tree

The European rowan (Sorbus aucuparia) has long been associated with magic and protection against enchantment and evil beings in Europe. This tradition allegedly goes back at least to Greek mythology. We are told that Hebe, the goddess of youth, in a moment of carelessness lost her magical chalice to the demons. Having thus been deprived of their source of rejuvenating ambrosia, the gods decided to send an eagle to recuperate the cup. In the fight that stood between eagle and demons, some of the eagle's feathers fell to the earth together with a few drops of blood. There they became rowan trees. The feathers took the shape of leaves; the drops of blood that of the rowan's red berries.
In Norse mythology, the first woman (Embla) is said to have been made from rowan tree. The rowan also figures in the Æsir story of Thor's journey to the Underworld, in which Thor, after having fallen into a rapid river, is rescued by a rowan tree that bends over and helps him back onto the shore.
Some of the rowan tree's magic and protective qualities may stem from the fact that there is a small five-pointed star, or pentagram, opposite the stalk of each berry; pentagrams have long been considered symbols of protection. The berries' red colour is also claimed to be the best protective colour against enchantment. Linguists say that the name 'rowan' might derive from the Old Norse raun or rogn, which could have its roots in the proto-Germanic *raudnian, 'getting red'. However, druids would use both the berries and the bark of the rowan tree for dyeing the garments that they wore at lunar ceremonies black.
The density of rowan wood is supposed to make it a suitable material for walking sticks, magician's staves, and druid's staffs. In addition, the branches can be used for metal divination, in dowsing rods, and to make rune staves. Leaves and branches that are tied about a cow's head secure a good milk supply, and cattle and other animals are protected from harm by the hanging of springs of rowan tree above the doors to their sheds. Pieces of rowan tree kept inside houses may guard against lightning, whereas pieces placed on top of graves will prevent the dead from haunting. Rowan tree is also carried on board vessels by sailors and fishermen as good-luck charms, especially when hoping to avoid storms. Another common use of rowan tree is as protection against witches and witchcraft. The numerous associations tied to rowan tree is reflected in the many popular names that have been given to it, for instance Witch Wood, Witchbane, Witchen tree, Rune tree, Whispering tree, Whitten tree, Rawn tree, and Mountain Ash (even though it is not an ash).
On the British Isles, the rowan tree features in several recurring themes of protection. One of them is the protection of a household by a rowan tree growing nearby. Even in the twentieth century, people on Ireland and in the Scottish Highlands were being warned against removing or damaging a rowan tree growing in their garden. A local informant in Advie, on the River Spey, furthermore claimed that adders tend to avoid rowan trees.
In the Highlands, branches of rowan tree were burnt before people's houses, so as to keep witches away. On May-day, huge fires were lit in a Druidical festival known as the Beltane festival (Beltane, 'fires of Bel'), since this was a day when witches were known to be particularly active. In the northeast of Scotland, these fires were lit on May 2nd, Old Style, and were there known as bone-fires.
According to John Ramsay, laird of Ochertyre, near Stirling, and the patron of Burns, the people of Strathspey would make a hoop of rowan tree on May-day and force sheep and lambs to pass through it, both in the morning and in the evening, so as to protect them against witchcraft. Cattle were also vulnerable to spells if left unprotected, which could result in, amongst other things, their milk being enchanted or stolen. In Strathdon, pieces of rowan tree were put in every cattle-byre on May 2nd ('Reed Day'), but not until after sunset, and only done so in secret by a so-called goodman. The pieces of rowan tree that were hung above stable doors, on the other hand, were intended to prevent witches from entering the stables and taking the horses out for a midnight ride. Conversely, on Ireland, a branch of rowan tree was put over the door on May Eve to protect people, animals, and crop from fairies, not from witches.
On the Isle of Man, equal-armed crosses made from rowan twigs were hung over the lintel on May Eve as protection against witchcraft. Such crosses had to be made without the use of a knife, and could sometimes also be fastened on cattle or worn by people for personal protection. From Scotland to Cornwall, similar crosses were bound with red thread and carried around in people's pockets, or they could be sewn into the lining of coats.

© Text: Pitt-Rivers Museum

16 ago 2010

Agua de Jamaica and bissap

In one of my recent ETHNIKKA african expeditions, I came across an infusion beverage that, cold, allowed us to resist the tropical heat. It was red, it was soft, and it was delicious. In West Africa (Senegal, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Benin, Togo and Niger) it’s known with the name of bissap. I thought it was a local beverage limited only to this area, so I was stunned when on my last ETHNIKKA travel to Mexico, I found that the much acclaimed and drunk Agua de Jamaica tasted similar and was prepared in the same manner using the same ingredients. Investigating further in the internet I saw that roselle, with which the two beverages are produced, could be one of the most extended crops in the world. In Australia is known as rosella, on the Indian subcontinent as meshta, tengamora in Assam, gongura in Telugu, lalchatni or kutrum in Mithila, mathipuli in Kerala, chin baung in Burma, กระเจี๊ยบ (krajeab) in Thailand, dah or dah bleni in other parts of Mali, wonjo in the Gambia, zobo in western Nigeria -the Yorubas in Nigeria call the white variety Isapa (pronounced Ishapa)-, zoborodo in Northern Nigeria, chaye-torosh in Iran, كركديه (karkadé) in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Sudan, omutete in Namibia, sorrel in the Caribbean and in Latin America, flor de Jamaica in Mexico, saril in Panama, rosela in Indonesia, asam paya or asam susur in Malaysia, 洛神花 (Luo Shen Hua) in China, and in Zambia, is known by the name of lumanda by the cibemba, katolo by the kikaonde and wusi by the chilunda.
The roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa) is a species of Hibiscus native to African tropics. It is an annual or perennial herb or woody-based subshrub, growing to 2–2.5 m tall. The leaves are deeply three- to five-lobed, 8–15 cm long, arranged alternately on the stems. The flowers are 8–10 cm in diameter, white to pale yellow with a dark red spot at the base of each petal, and have a stout fleshy calyx at the base, 1–2 cm wide, enlarging to 3–3.5 cm, fleshy and bright red as the fruit matures (it takes about six months to mature).
The plant is considered to have antihypertensive properties. Primarily, the plant is cultivated for the production for bast fibre from the stem of the plant. The fibre may be used as a substitute for jute in making burlap. Hibiscus, specifically Roselle, has been used in folk medicine as a diuretic, mild laxative, and treatment for cardiac and nerve diseases and cancer.

RECIPE: Agua de Jamaica, sorrel or bissap 
In the Caribbean (Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago), sorrel drink is made from sepals of the roselle. In Malaysia, roselle calyces are harvested fresh to produce pro-health drink due to high contents of vitamin C and anthocyanins. In Mexico, 'agua de Flor de Jamaica' (water flavoured with roselle) frequently called "agua de Jamaica" is most often homemade. Also, since many untrained consumers mistake the calyces of the plant to be dried flowers, it is widely, but erroneously, believed that the drink is made from the flowers of the non-existent "Jamaica plant". It is prepared by boiling dried calyces of Hibiscus in water for 8 to 10 minutes (or until the water turns red), then adding sugar. It is usually served chilled. In Jamaica ginger and rum is usually added at Christmas time, and in Trinidad & Tobago the ginger is substituted for cinnamon and cloves for added flavour.
In Mali, Senegal, The Gambia, Burkina Faso and Benin calyces are used to prepare cold, sweet drinks popular in social events, often mixed with mint leaves, dissolved menthol candy, and/or various fruit flavours.

14 ago 2010

The sleeping dictionary

Title: The Sleeping Dictionary
Director: Guy Jenkin
Writer: Guy Jenkin
Year: 2003
Running time: 109 minutes

Plot summary:
A young and naive Englishman, John Truscott (Hugh Dancy), goes to the British colony of Sarawak, Borneo to try and apply his father's work to the Iban society. He tries to civilize them, building schools and providing education for the Iban people. He is met with unfamiliar local customs. Selima (Jessica Alba) becomes his "sleeping dictionary," who sleeps with him and teaches him the language and the habits of the locals. Despite their intents, the two find themselves falling into a forbidden love. John is eager to marry Selima despite the longhouse not allowing it. When John tells Henry about his plans to marry her, they lock Selima up. Selima then agrees to marry in the longhouse and they part ways.
A year later, John is seen marrying Cecilia. He still struggles to get over his past with his sleeping dictionary. With Cecilia, he decides the best thing to do is go back to Sarawak to continue his work over there. Returning to Sarawak, Cecilia notices John's desire for Selima with his constant distance from her. Cecilia demands to know more about Selima and John replies by saying that she's married to Belansai and that the couple have a baby together.
While at the lake collecting rocks for research, John sees Selima with a baby. He believes the child to be his and asks Famous to arrange a meeting with the pair. Soon back at the house, Selima walks in unaware that John is there. John begs to see his son and soon Selima walks away not before John can stop them. Here, John meets his son Manda for the first time. When Belansai hears news that John is spending time with his wife, he sneaks in to try to kill John but only manages to hurt him with a razor. The next morning, Henry reveals his past to John about his own 'sleeping dictionary', which resulted in the birth of another child: Selima. When Belansai is caught for trying to kill an officer, he is sentenced to be hanged. Selima is not happy with the fact that Belansai will be killed as he's been a good father to Manda. Not wanting to kill Belansai, a friend of his, John goes through with announcing Belansai's hanging as he had no other option. Later that night, Selima tries to break Belansai out, not knowing John is already there. When she walks over to the jail cell, she sees John breaking Belansai out and handing him a gun. As Belansai escapes, John asks Selima to meet him at the dock so they can escape on the boat. Selima tells him he won't come as they'll catch him. John turns to Selima and says "Then I'll tell them I'd rather have you than a country... or a language... or a history". They embrace as the rain is pouring behind them.
The next day, Cecilia announces she's pregnant, shocking John. Although he still has plans to be with Selima and their son, he writes a note but stops as Cecilia catches him. The couple then talk about John's love for Selima and how Cecilia wants John to be happy. Aggie is not happy that Cecilia and Henry have allowed both John and Selima to run away together due to that fact that she never left Henry's sight, fearing he'd go with his sleeping dictionary. John searches for Selima as she's left believing that John didn't come to the place of arrangement. They reunite as Neville comes through with a gun. He tells them to cuff themselves around the bamboos and tells them of his plans to kill John, Selima and their baby. They're then rescued by the Ibans, who kill Neville.
At the end, they decide to live together and migrate with the Ibans.
© Text and image: Wikipedia

12 ago 2010

The Hunza of Pakistan

Name: Hunza
Living Area: Hunza, Nagar, and Yasin valleys of northern Pakistan (Asia)
Language: Burushaski
They are predominantly Muslims. Their language, Burushaski, has not been shown to be related to any other. They have an East Asian genetic contribution, suggesting that at least some of their ancestry originates north of the Himalayas.
The Hunza people, or Hunzakuts, descend from the principality of Hunza. They live alongside the Wakhi and the Shina. The Wakhi reside in the upper part of Hunza locally called Gojal. Wakhis also inhabit the bordering regions of China, Tajikstan and Afghanistan and also live in Gizar and Chitral district of Pakistan. The Shina-speaking people live in the southern part of Hunza. They have come from Chilas, Gilgit, and other Shina language-speaking areas of Pakistan.
Based on internationally recognized survey data, the literacy rate of both in males and females of Hunza is more than 95%, which is much higher than the rest of the country. The people of Hunza are highly educated, hospitable and well-mannered. Hunza is a major tourist attraction in Pakistan, and many Pakistani as well as foreign tourist travel to the region to enjoy the picturesque landscape and stunning mountains of the area. The district has many modern amenities and is quite advanced by Asian standards.
Well-known by: Local legend states that Hunza may have been associated with the lost kingdom of Shangri La. The people of Hunza are by some noted for their exceptionally long life expectancy, others describe this as a longevity narrative and cite a life expectancy of 53 years for men and 52 for women, although with a high standard deviation. DNA research groups the male ancestry of the Hunza with speakers of Pamir languages (Afghans) and the Sinte Romani (Gypsies).
Burusho legend maintains that they descend from the village of Baltir, which had been founded by a soldier left behind from the army of Alexander the Great—a legend common to much of Afghanistan and northern Pakistan. However, genetic evidence only supports a Greek genetic component in the Pashtun ethnic group of Pakistan and Afghanistan, not the Burusho.
Some words in Burushaski:   
hello: leh
my name is ... : jaa eik ... bila
yes: awa
no: bee
goodbye: khuda hafiz

© Text and images: Wikipedia

8 ago 2010

The Azerbaijani Mugham

© UNESCO / David Stehl
The Azerbaijani Mugham is a traditional musical form, characterized by a large degree of improvisation. The Mugham, though a classical and academic art, draws upon popular bard melodies, rhythms and performance techniques and is performed in many venues throughout the country.
Contemporary representations of the Azerbaijani Mugham reflect different periods of Azerbaijan’s history and its contacts with Persians, Armenians, Georgians and with other Turkic peoples. This musical genre shares artistic characteristics with the Iraqi Maqam, the Persian Radif and the Turkish Makams. In the past, Mugham was primarily performed on two secular occasions: the toy, the traditional wedding feast and the majles, a gathering of connoisseurs in private settings. It was also cultivated by members of the Sufi orders and by performers of religious dramas known as ta’zie or shabih. Official competitions and informal contests served to establish the reputation of accomplished musicians.
This modal genre features a male or female singer accompanied by musicians playing traditional instruments, such as the tar (a long-neck lute), the kamancha (a four-string spiked fiddle) and the daf (a type of large tambourine). Since Mugham cannot be transcribed in a fixed form, multiple versions are transmitted by masters who train students in the fine art of interpretation to ensure the variety of this artistic expression.
The Mugham has lost some of its aesthetic and expressive characteristics largely due to European influences, which are particularly apparent in the manner in which contemporary musicians perform and transmit their skills to the younger generations.
Inscribed in 2008 on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity (originally proclaimed in 2003)
© Text and videos: UNESCO

6 ago 2010

Tribal Perspectives Exhibition

Exhibition dates: 29th September-2nd Oct 2010: Time 11am – 7pm
Place: Galleries 27 and 28 Cork Street.Mayfair, London , W1S 3NG
Web: www.tribalperspectives.com
Tribal Perspectives is an exciting multi–cultural event with lectures and exhibits of precious artefacts from rapidly diminishing cultures. Tribal Perspectives was launched in 2007. It began in a single gallery space off Portobello Rd, Notting Hill, London. It was then, and still is today, the only quality tribal art event being stagged in the UK. The initial sucess of the exhibition led to its steady expansion with each year prominate dealers joining, resulting in the attendance and awareness of the event increasing significently.
To lift the profile further in 2009 the show was moved to the heart of the London gallery district in Cork Street,Mayfair.
The event combines artefacts with learning via a programme of lectures,providing a focal point for a deeped understanding of the art and the cultures who created it.
The fourth Tribal Perspectives exhibition showcases some of the most beautiful art made by humanity. Rare textiles, artefacts and books will be presented, with a lecture about Oceanic tribal art and its cultures. Tribal Perspectives 2010 presents an opportunity to view this unique and diminishing art presented by a select group of specialist dealers.
Eight established international tribal art dealers will exhibit: From London, Tribal Gathering (African Tribal Art and Adornment), Clive Loveless, (Rare Textiles and Primal Forms), Charles Vernon-Hunt, (Collectable Tribal Art Books). New to Tribal Perspectives, collectable textile dealers, Molly Hogg and Joss Graham, add colour by exhibiting rare Asian, African and South American textiles. UK dealer, Wayne Heathcote, will exhibit fine Oceanic Art; Chris Boylan, presents art from New Guinea and Aboriginal Australia and from Netherlands, Louis Nierijnck with Primitive Art from Africa and Asia. All are experts in their field and will exhibit works selected for their quality and rarity.
Tribal Perspectives 2010 follows the Parcours des mondes, Paris, and is the only London annual exhibition for collectors and enthusiasts of tribal art. For the second year, the dealers will exhibit in the heart of Mayfair, at Galleries 27 and 28 Cork Street, W1. The event has become the British focal point for UK and international collectors of tribal art since the demise of the HALI Textile and Tribal Art Fair in 2006.
For those passionate about authentic tribal art this is an opportunity not to be missed. The exhibition will also appeal to those interested in abstract or modern art, with which tribal artefacts have a close affinity. The past decade has seen an increased awareness of the timeless appeal and increasing rarity of tribal art, as indicated by the record prices achieved in leading auction houses.
When evaluating his own passion for tribal art, collector Udo Horstmann states:
“The most important thing is the aesthetic value. Each piece starts you thinking, what is in the mind of creator, who is behind it?.......What you see here is a like an expedition into another world.” (Udo Horstmann, Apollo, September, 2009)
The event showcases the very best of each dealer’s collection. It also reflects their own spirited life-long expeditions and passion for acquiring unique pieces - from intricate 18th century Asian textiles, powerful New Guinea Fighting Shields, to the exquisite beading of Sudanese Dinka wedding corsets. Tribal Perspectives 2010 provides a focal point for a greater cultural understanding. At a time when ancient cultures are vanishing, this is a rare chance to appreciate their art, within the city of London.
Opening: Tuesday 28th September 2010:Time 6pm – 9pm
Collectors Private View RSVP: 28nd September. Time 4pm – 6pm. Visitor information and RSVP Contact Bryan Reeves: Tribal Gathering on 020 7221 6650 or 07939 166 148 or email art@tribalgatheringlondon.com or the website at www.tribalperspectives.com
Admission: free

© Text and images: www.tribalperspectives.com

4 ago 2010

Naga bamboo mug

Name: Naga bamboo mug
Origin: Naga people, India, Asia
Date: Collected by Eric Thomas Drummond Lambert, Given to the Museum in 1936
Museum: Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford, UK
This bamboo drinking mug from Nagaland, in Northeast India, has been elaborately carved with human figures, elephants, and skulls. This vessel belonged to a head-hunter – the skulls represent heads taken by him. Head-hunting was practised amongst the Nagas until the twentieth century. It was part of ritualized warfare, in which heads were taken to gain status and encourage fertility. This vessel was made some time before 1936 by a man called Kaolun, who was a Phom Naga.
© Photos and text: Pitt Rivers Museum
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