31 ago 2011

Carl Sofus Lumholtz

Carl Sofus Lumholtz (1851 - 1922) 
Norwegian explorer and ethnographer, best known for his meticulous field research and ethnographic publications on indigenous cultures of Australia and Mesoamerican central Mexico
Born in Faberg, Norway, Lumholtz graduated in theology in 1876 from the University of Christiania, now the University of Oslo.
Lumholtz travelled to Australia in 1880, where he spent ten months from 1882-1883 amongst the indigenous inhabitants of the Herbert-Burdekin region in North Queensland. He wrote a book about his experience, Among Cannibals: An Account of Four Years' Travels in Australia and of Camp Life with the Aborigines of Queensland, first published in 1889, which is regarded as the finest ethnographic research of the period for the northern Queensland Aborigines. Whereas previous authors had commented only upon the aesthetic physical appearances and material culture of the region's indigenous people, Lumholtz added a level of academic research that was unique for the period. His work recorded for the first time the social relationships, attitudes and the role of women in the society. He also gave a series of two lectures on "Among Australian Natives" for the Lowell Institute for their 1889-90 season.

He spent a total of four years in Queensland, his expeditions included visits to the Valley of Lagoons and the Herbert River area. He made collections of mammals while living with the local peoples, these specimens were used for the descriptions of four new species. One of these was named for the type locality, Pseudochirulus herbertensis (Herbert River Ringtail Possum), and another commemorates his name, Dendrolagus lumholtzii (Lumholtz's Tree Kangaroo).
Lumholtz later travelled to Mexico with the Swedish botanist C. V. Hartman. He stayed for many years, conducting several expeditions from 1890 through to 1910 which were paid for by the American Museum of Natural History. His work, Unknown Mexico, was a 1902 two-volume set describing many of the indigenous peoples of northwestern Mexico, including the Cora, Tepehuán, Pima Bajo, and especially the Tarahumara, among whom he lived for more than a year. Lumholtz was one of the first to describe artifacts from the ancient shaft tomb and the Tarascan cultures. He described archaeological sites, as well as the flora and fauna, of the northern Sierra Madre region called the Gran Chichimeca. He gave a series of three lectures on "The Characteristics of Cave Dwellers of the Sierra Madre" for the Lowell Institute's 1893-94 season.
In 1905 Lumholtz was a founding member of the Explorers Club, an organization to promote exploration and scientific investigation in the field. He went on a brief expedition to India from 1914–1915, then to Borneo from 1915 to 1917, which was his last expedition.
In 1922 Lumholtz died of tuberculosis at Saranac Lake, New York, where he was seeking treatment at a sanatorium. He had published six books on his discoveries, as well as the autobiography My Life of Exploration (1921).

His works
© Text and photo: Wikipedia

29 ago 2011

Iskiate (chía fresca)

Chia seeds have enjoyed a surge in popularity recently among health foods. There are many purported benefits of chia seeds, and legends abound about chia seeds reviving struggling athletes or warriors, with small amounts sustaining men for long periods of time.
Chia seeds have the interesting property that when they're left in water for a few minutes, the water begins to gel.  Supposedly this is helpful in digestion.  Here's a recipe for chia fresca (also called iskiate in Tarahumara language), a popular drink made with chia seeds, water, and lemon or lime.

About chia
Salvia hispanica, commonly known as chia, is a species of flowering plant in the mint family, Lamiaceae, native to central and southern Mexico and Guatemala. The 16th century Codex Mendoza provides evidence that it was cultivated by the Aztec in pre-Columbian times. It is still used in Mexico and Guatemala, with the seeds sometimes ground, while whole seeds are used for nutritious drinks and as a food source.
The word chia is derived from the Nahuatl word chian, meaning oily. The present Mexican state of Chiapas received its name from the Nahuatl "chia water or river".
Chia is grown commercially for its seed, a food that is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, since the seeds yield 25-30% extractable oil, including α-linolenic acid (ALA). Chia seeds are typically small ovals with a diameter of about 1 mm (0.039 in). They are mottle-colored with brown, gray, black and white.
Chia seed is traditionally consumed in Mexico, and the southwestern United States, but is not widely known in Europe.
Today, chia is grown commercially in its native Mexico, and in Bolivia, Argentina, Ecuador, Australia and Guatemala. In 2008, Australia was the world's largest producer of chia. A similar species, Salvia columbariae or golden chia, is used in the same way but is not grown commercially for food. Salvia hispanica seed is marketed most often under its common name "chia", but also under several trademarks.

  • about 10 oz of water

  • 1 Tbsp dry chia seeds

  • a few teaspoons lemon or lime juice

  • sugar, honey or agave nectar, to taste (optional)

How to prepare it:
Stir the chia seeds into the water; let them sit for about five minutes.  Stir again, and let sit for as long as you like. The more it sits, the more gel-like the seeds and water become.  Add citrus juice and sweetener to taste.

© Text and image: Matt Frazier (www.nomeatathlete.com)

27 ago 2011

Madame Brouette

Title: L’extraordinaire destin de Madame Brouette
Year: 2002
Director: Moussa Sene Absa
Writer: Moussa Sene Absa
Running time: 104 minutes  
Country: Senegal
Plot summary:
A murder investigation frames the background for narrating the story of Madame Brouette (Rokhaya Niang) - a strong woman, who is dedicated to make a living for herself and her daughter in some poor neighbourhood in Dakar, Senegal. Flash-backs are developing the events which lead to the murder of the police man Naago, who was also her boyfriend and lover. Neighbours comment on her life and her good character - did she really murder Naago or was it maybe "London Pipe", a crook and local gangster? Director Moussa Sene Absa used first time actors (e.g. Naago is played by Aboubacar Sadikh Ba, a school teacher), but they all are playing their part very well. Absa likes to give his movies a specific color - which are yellow and orange in this film - and uses it to increase the beauty of the natural settings. Even though "Inspector Colombo" is only a funny & incapable character in this film, pace and storyline of "Madame Brouette" also remind of the famous detective series. On another thought, famous Senegalese filmmaker Ousmane Sembene used a similar style of telling the life of the main character in flashbacks in his movie "Guelwaar".

© Text and image: Wikipedia and IMDB

25 ago 2011

The Herero of Namibia

Herero Women, Ethnikka blog for human culture
Name: Herero 
Living Area: Namibia, Botswana and Angola 
Population: 240.000 
Language: Otjiherero 
During the 17th and 18th centuries, the Herero migrated to what is today Namibia from the east and established themselves as herdsmen. In the beginning of the 19th century, the Nama from South Africa, who already possessed some firearms, entered the land and were followed, in turn, by white merchants and German missionaries. At first, the Nama began displacing the Herero, leading to bitter warfare between the two groups which lasted the greater part of the 19th century. Later the two peoples entered into a period of cultural exchange.
During the late 19th century, the first Europeans began entering to permanently settle the land. Primarily in Damaraland, German settlers acquired land from the Herero in order to establish farms. In 1883, the merchant Franz Adolf Eduard Lüderitz entered into a contract with the native elders. The exchange later became the basis of German colonial rule. The territory became a German colony under the name of German South-West Africa.
Soon after, conflicts between the German colonists and the Herero herdsmen began. Controversies frequently arose because of disputes about access to land and water, but also the legal discrimination against the native population by the white immigrants.

The Herero language (Otjiherero) is the main unifying link amongst the Herero peoples. It is a Bantu language, part of the Niger–Congo family. Within the Otjiherero umbrella, there are many dialects, including Oluthimba or Otjizemba- which is the most common dialect in Angola-, Otjihimba, and Otjikuvale. These differ mainly in phonology, and are mutually intelligible. Standard Herero is used in the Namibian media and is taught in schools throughout the country.
The Herero are traditionally cattle-herding pastoralists who rate status on the number of cattle owned. Cattle raids occur between Herero groups, but Herero land (Ehi Rovaherero) belongs to the community and has no fixed boundaries. Chieftains have little power
The Herero have a bilateral descent system. A person traces their heritage through both their father's lineage, or oruzo (plural: otuzo), and their mother's lineage, or eanda (plural: omaanda).
Despite sharing a language and pastoral traditions, the Herero are not a homogeneous people. The main Herero group in central Namibia (sometimes called Herero proper) was heavily influenced by Western culture during the colonial period, creating a whole new identity. The Herero proper and their southern counterparts the Mbanderu, for instance, wear garments similar to those worn by colonial Europeans. Traditional leather garments are worn by northwestern groups, such as the Himba, Kuvale, and Tjimba, who are also more conservative in other aspects. The Kaokoland Herero and those in Angola have remained isolated and are still pastoral nomads, practicing limited horticulture.

Known for their rebellion against german settlers:
Between 1893 and 1903, the Herero and Nama peoples land as well as their cattle were progressively making their way into the hands of the German colonists. The Herero and Nama resisted expropriation over the years, but they were unorganized and the Germans defeated them with ease. In 1903, the Herero people learnt that they were to be placed in reservations, leaving more room for colonists to own land and prosper. In 1904, the Herero and Nama began a great rebellion that lasted until 1907, ending with the utter destruction of the Herero people. It has been determined by experts that roughly 80,000 Herero lived in German South-West Africa at the beginning of Germany’s colonial rule over the area, while after their revolt was defeated, they numbered approximately 15,000. In a period of four years approximately 65,000 Herero people perished.
Samuel Maharero, the Supreme Chief of the Herero, led his people in a great uprising on January 12, 1904 against the Germans. The Herero, surprising the Germans with their uprising, had initial success.
German General von Trotha took over as leader in May 1904. In August 1904, he devised a plan to annihilate the Herero nation. The plan was to surround the area where the Herero were, leaving but one route for them to escape, into the desert. The Herero battled the Germans, and the losses were minor. It was when they had escaped through the only passage made available by the Germans, and had been chased away from the last watering hole into complete desertion, that casualties grew to insufferable amounts. At the 100th anniversary of the massacre, German Minister for Economic Development and Cooperation Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul commemorated the dead on site and apologized for the crimes on behalf of all Germans.

© Photo and Text: Wikipedia

A córrer!

Scott Jurek i Arnulfo Quimare, Barrancas del Cobre, Mèxic
Scott Jurek i Arnulfo Quimare,
Barrancas del Cobre (Foto de Luis Escobar)
Córrer. Hi ha cap altra activitat que defineixi millor als humans?
Des de petits, no fem res més que córrer. Els nostres primers instints són els de gatejar pel terra. Primer maldestrament, però quan n’aprenem la tècnica, ho fem tant bé que desapareixem en un tres i no res entre les potes de les cadires sota la taula del menjador... Què fan els nens petits que ja caminen? Corren amunt i avall fins a esgotar-se. I de més grans què fem? Ens comprem un cotxe o una moto ràpida i volem sentir la sensació que produeix l’alta velocitat. Fins i tot els qui contemplen la vida des de la inactivitat d’un sofà a través de la finestra televisiva, no fan més que mirar esports en què, un rere l’altre, els participants competeixen en velocitat...
Però vivim en una societat en la qual les màquines han passat a substituir la necessitat dels homes de córrer. Per això tendim a pensar que els humans no estem fets per a córrer. Però afortunadament hi ha encara exemples de la gran capacitat mòbil dels humans. Els corredors ultramaratonians ens sorprenen amb les seves gestes atlètiques, però no cal anar a buscar moderns Fidipides tan actuals com Scott Jurek o Kilian Jornet per a trobar exemples de grans corredors.
El 1832, un mariner noruec anomenat Mensen Ernst, en arribar a port després d’una llarga travessia per mar, va fer una aposta: es traslladaria de París a Moscou... corrent. Va superar els 2.500 quilòmetres que separen les dues ciutats, i va guanyar l’aposta fent-ho en només 14 dies. Això fa una mitjana de 200 quilòmetres al dia, a través de les carreteres i camins de l’època i amb les sabates contemporànies... I sense haver-se entrenat gaire durant la travessia anterior per mar! En un altre viatge, va córrer la distància entre Constantinopla a Calcuta en quatre setmanes, amb una mitjana de 140 quilòmetres per dia... I un cop allà, i sense altra manera de tornar que a peu, va descansar tres dies i va tornar a Constantinopla... corrent durant 59 dies seguits. La seva última gran cursa va ser el 1843 quan intentava córrer des d’Alemanya fins a les fonts del Nil... Va morir prop de la frontera entre Egipte i Sudan, no de fatiga, sinó de disenteria. La seva tomba es troba ara sota les aigües de la presa d’Assuan.
Hi ha molts altres casos de súper-atletes capaços de recórrer llargues distàncies a peu, i es podria arribar a pensar que aquestes gestes només les poden realitzar alguns pocs semidéus escollits. Però hi ha unes quantes comunitats en què tots els membres tenen capacitats extraordinàries per a la cursa, i això ens permet reconèixer l’autèntica arrel comuna a tots els humans de la nostra capacitat innata per a córrer. 
Per exemple, els monjos maratonians del Mont Hiei, al Japó. Són un grup de monjos budistes que busquen trobar-se amb Buda posant a prova la seva resistència física i mental. Al llarg de l’entrenament del Kaihogyo corren distàncies maratonianes durant cent o dos-cents dies seguits un cop per any, durant set anys seguits. I el més impressionant és que ho fan mantinguts únicament per una dieta basada en sopa miso, tofu i vegetals.
Així doncs, no és estrany que l’home és un animal fet per a córrer. El 2004 Dennis Bramble i Daniel Lieberman van fer una proposta científica revolucionària: l’ésser humà era un animal perfeccionat per l’evolució amb l’única intenció de poder recórrer llargues distàncies. El bipedisme, els tendons dels peus, l’absència de cua, la capacitat de poder respirar mentre trotem i, sobretot, la nostra pell plena de glàndules sudorípares, va ser la solució que va trobar la natura per a donar-nos viabilitat com a espècie. Els éssers humans som els únics mamífers capaços d’alliberar l’excés de calor a través de la suor. Qualsevol altre animal, quan se sobreescalfa, ha d’aturar-se a descansar i refredar-se. En canvi, el gènere Homo pot recórrer llargues distàncies sense parar a refredar-se gràcies al gran intercanviador de calor que és la pell. Això va permetre als primers individus de la nostra espècie, quan encara no tenien més armes que les seves pròpies mans, abatre espècies més ràpides com gaseles o cérvols, perseguint-les fins a l’exhauriment en una caça de persistència. Encara hi ha algunes tribus indígenes que mantenen un sistema de vida tradicional basat en el córrer: en un dia calorós a la sabana africana una gasela pot morir d’hipertèrmia al cap de córrer deu o quinze quilòmetres sense parar, i els Bosquimans de Sud-Àfrica i Botswana han aprofitat aquesta capacitat humana per a caçar preses tan grans com els okapis. També els Goshute i Papago de l’Oest americà, els aborígens d’Austràlia, els Masai de Kenya i els Seri i Tarahumara de Mèxic són coneguts per haver practicat la caça de persistència. Però d’entre totes aquestes tribus els més famosos entre els corredors són els tarahumara o rarámuri, “els que corren depressa” en el seu propi idioma. Els rarámuri viuen a les Barrancas del Cobre, a l’estat de Chihuahua de Mèxic, una xarxa de barrancs tan gran com quatre vegades l’extensió del Cañón de Colorado i encara més profunds. Aïllats als canons laberíntics, i obligats a desplaçar-se ràpidament pel terreny traïdor sota unes temperatures desèrtiques, els rarámuri han perfeccionat la tècnica de la carrera i, calçats només amb un parell de sandàlies i alimentats de pinole (blat de moro en pols) i tesgüino (una espècie de cervesa de blat de moro), són capaços de recórrer distàncies ultramaratonianes. Se sap d’un que va córrer 700 quilòmetres (16 vegades la distància d’una marató), en poc més de dos dies.
Justament acabo de retornar d’un viatge en tren a través de les Barrancas del Cobre, i he pogut veure de primera mà la capacitat atlètica dels seus habitants. A més, en les hores ocioses del viatge he pogut acabar de llegir el llibre Born to Run (Nascuts per a córrer), de Christopher McDougall, una peregrinació de descobriment de l’art de córrer i de la capacitat innata dels humans per a poder recórrer llargues distàncies, que se centra en la vida d’un ex-lluitador professional (Caballo Blanco) que troba, en córrer amb els tarahumara, la seva fita personal. El llibre és altament inspirador i després de llegir-lo et vénen unes ganes terribles de sortir al carrer, respirar fons, i començar a córrer.
Gràcies a la nostra capacitat de córrer, els humans vam poder accedir més fàcilment a la caça i proteïna animal, augmentant la massa del nostre cervell i la nostra intel·ligència. Però irònicament, tot i tenir un cos dissenyat i construït per a la cursa, hem aconseguit tenir un cervell que sempre busca l’eficiència. D’aquí ve la gran ironia: per què córrer si podem obtenir menjar molt fàcilment obrint la porta de la nevera?
Afortunadament, l’instint de córrer és més gran que la mandra del nostre cervell. Els anuncis de Nike i Adidas no fan més que alimentar aquesta necessitat interior i ens inciten a sortir a córrer, a gaudir del vent a les nostres galtes, la suor al nostre front i el terra ferm a les nostres soles. En definitiva: a fer el que, com a humans, estem adaptats a fer.
Ara em posaré una samarreta fresca, uns pantalons curts i em calçaré les bambes. Sortiré a fora, respiraré fons i començaré a córrer... deixant enrere la mandra i l’asfalt.
Ho necessito, i gairebé sempre hem de seguir els nostres instints...
I és que al final, si hem nascut, és per a córrer. 

23 ago 2011

Parcours des Mondes 2011

Name: Parcours des Mondes
Date: From Wednesday 7th to Sunday September 11th, 2011. From 11am to 7pm
Late Opening on Thursday 8th, until 9pm. On Sunday 11th, until 5pm
Place: In the Beaux-Arts district of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Paris (France).
Galleries situated on the Beaux-Arts, de Seine, Jacques Callot, Mazarine, Guénégaud, Visconti, Jacob, Bonaparte and de l’Echaudé streets.
Webpage: www.parcours-paris.eu
2011 promises to be an important year for the Parcours des mondes which is celebrating its 10th anniversary.
10 years of work and development to take the event to a high-standing international level.
And it has been 10 years that have seen traditional non-european arts achieve wide-ranging acceptance and popularity and Paris develop its role as the international capital of Tribal Art.
Like every year, some of the worlds best international dealers will settle next to their famous parisian colleagues in order to propose masterpieces of african, oceanic, asian and american art as well as beautiful ethnographical objects, of a more affordable price, to collectors and enthusiasts who gather annually from all over the world.
The success of this dynamic outdoor fair is clear from the good media coverage, and the ever growing and more international attendance and can be explained by the good health of the tribal arts market, a stronger interest amongst art lovers in general for these lesser known arts, the extra efforts made by the dealers to propose interesting thematic shows with high quality objects and, the vigilance of the organizers in terms of quality and vetting of the exhibited pieces.

64 exhibitors, 11 countries represented

Thematic exhibitions organized in the galleries:
101 Passport Masks
Bruce Frank Primitive Art, 40 rue Mazarine

African Accumulative Sculpture
Galerie Alain Lecomte, 21 rue Guénégaud

L'Afrique qui disparait ! Photographs of Casimir Ostoja Zagourski
Vignold Tribal Art, 3 rue Jacques Callot

Ancêtres du Mali
Galerie Raquel y Guilhem Montagut, 12 rue Guénégaud

Ancêtres Kota
Galerie Bernard Dulon, 10 rue Jacques Callot

L'art précolombien de l'espace maya
Galerie Furstenberg, 8 rue Jacob

L'art vietnamien du Ier au XIVe siècle. Entre influence chinoise et créativité régionale.
Christophe Hioco, 12 rue Guénégaud

Célébration de la femme à travers les jirimaaniw dans les fêtes villageoises au Mali
Galerie Albert Loeb, 12 rue des Beaux-Arts

Dévotion et protection. Miniatures et objets rituels de Bouriatie et de Mongolie
Wei Asian Arts, 19 rue Mazarine

Esthétiques Congo
Jo De Buck - Tribal Arts, 41 rue de Seine

Formes longilignes
Dandrieu-Giovagnoni, 9 rue des Beaux-Arts

Forms of the Sacred, Art from Africa and Ancient Asia
Dalton Somaré, 22 rue de Seine

Gold from Southeast Asia
Galerie Cédric Le Dauphin, 54 rue Mazarine

Il était une fois dans l'Ouest et Equilibre
Galerie Grégory Chesne, 13 rue Mazarine

Îles de pierre
Pascassi Manfredi, 11 rue Visconti

Yann Ferrandin, 5 rue Visconti
Tribal Art Classics, 3bis rue des Beaux-Arts

Mewigbeji. Afrique d'hier et d'aujourd'hui
Lucas Ratton, 35 rue de Seine

Parcours du raffinement
Galerie Alain Bovis, 38 rue de Seine

Galerie Flak, 8 rue des Beaux-Arts

Sacrifice. Du sang et du sens : les patines comme syntaxe invisible du monde
Joaquin Pecci Tribal Art, 5 rue Jacques Callot

Sculptures. Ceremonial Vessels in Primitive Art
Arte y Ritual, 11 rue des Beaux-Arts

Statuaire de l’est ivoirien
Galerie Afrique, 14 rue des Beaux-Arts

Sculptures XI
Galerie Renaud Vanuxem, 52 rue Mazarine

Totems miniatures. De l'art des cuillères des Indiens de la Côte Nord-Ouest
Galerie Dodier, 35-37 rue de Seine

Trâces. Photographies de Nicolas Bruant
L'Alcazar, 62 rue Mazarine

Trajectoires IV. Zinkpé, Denis Polge, Bienvenu, Carol Beckwith & Angela Fisher, Agnès Pataux, Jean-Pierre Evrard
Galerie Frédéric Moisan, 72 rue Mazarine

Visages et Appuie-nuques de la corne d'Afrique
David Serra, 49 rue de Seine

© Text and image: Parcours des Mondes

21 ago 2011

Chinese paper-cut

Present throughout China and in various ethnic groups, paper-cut is a popular art integral to everyday lives. A predominantly female pursuit, it is transmitted from mother to daughter over a long period of time, beginning in childhood, and is particularly common in rural areas. It earns the most skilful artists respect and admiration. Many techniques are used: the paper can be cut or engraved with a chisel, coloured or left blank. Increasingly, modern technologies are used. Motifs, which vary greatly and are often devised by the artist, depend on the region of origin (for example, in southern China fine and delicate motifs predominate) and the purpose of the product, which might be used for interior decor (windows, beds and ceilings), festivities (weddings, birthdays and ceremonies), or prayers (invoking the rain, warding off the devil, and so on). As a key part of Chinese social life in all ethnic groups, paper-cut expresses the moral principles, philosophies and aesthetic ideals of its exponents. It continues to provide an outlet for emotion and is experiencing an unprecedented revival.

© Text: UNESCO, Image: Buyang City

19 ago 2011

Lespri Endonptabl: Haitian Art

Rigaud Benoit, Les Sirenes, 1956, 
Winslow Anderson Collection of Hatian Art, 
Huntington Museum of Art

Name: Lespri Endonptabl
Dates: 27th August – 29th October 2011
Place: Noel and Kathryn Dickinson Wadsworth Gallery and the Chi-Omega-Hargis Gallery, The Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art, Auburn University
Webpage: www. jcsm.auburn.edu
The Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art's newest exhibition, Lespri Endonptabl: Selected Works from the Winslow Anderson Collection of Haitian Art at the Huntington Museum of Art, will be on view from Aug. 27-Oct. 29 in the Noel and Kathryn Dickinson Wadsworth Gallery and the Chi-Omega-Hargis Gallery.
 "Lespri endonptabl" is Haitian Creole for "the indomitable spirit." JCSM is pleased to present this exhibition of 32 objects produced in Haiti between 1945 and 1990, which depict themes of everyday life, landscape, flora, fauna, agriculture, folklore, and Voodoo.
The exhibition and its programs are JCSM's contribution to Auburn University's common book program, Auburn Connects!, which is focusing on Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer, A Man Who Would Cure the World, by Tracy Kidder for the new academic year.

About Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art:
Open since 2003, the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art at Auburn University is Alabama’s only university art museum. Serving as the gateway into Auburn University, the museum is home to many pieces of culturally significant art. The collection includes 115 Audubon prints, a rare group of more than 40 Tibetan bronzes and works by important American artists, such as Arthur Dove, Georgia O’Keeffe and Lyonel Feininger. The museum rotunda hangs a three-tiered, hand-blown glass chandelier created especially for the museum by internationally-renowned glass artist Dale Chihuly. The beauty continues onto the grounds of the museum with fifteen acres of gardens, walking paths and water features, complete with an eleven and a half foot tall brass sculpture, Spinoff, created by Auburn alumna Jean Woodham.

© Text and image: Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art

17 ago 2011

Colin Trapnell

Colin Trapnell (1907 – 2004) 
Colin Trapnell, who died on February 9 2004 at the age of 96, was one of the last of a breed of British scientific explorers who conducted work of startling geographic proportions in an era when technology was yet to provide little help. Widely regarded as one of the earliest practitioners of ecology in the African continent, and one of the fathers of a generation of subsequent conservation ecologists, he continued his passion for conservation into retirement, publishing his final work at the age of 90 and overseeing the publication of a three-volume work on his African travels well into his nineties.
Colin Graham Trapnell was born on April 10, 1907. He was the older son of John Graham Trapnell K.C., Recorder of Plymouth and Judge Advocate of the Fleet. He was educated at Sedbergh and Trinity College, Oxford where he read Classical Greats. A keen botanist from his schooldays his real interests lay in science, and while at Oxford he joined with Max Nicholson (late of the Nature Conservancy) in founding the Oxford University Exploration Club in 1927, and in organizing its first expedition, to Greenland in 1928. His Greenland work was published in 1933.
His interest in natural history led Trapnell (rather than following his father into law) to apply for a post as ecologist with the Colonial Office. He later described how on his way to the interview he saw on a W.H. Smith’s bookstall one of the then popular science publications “Ecology”, which he bought. “I have never read before or since” he later said “with greater concentration”. In 1931 he was posted to Northern Rhodesia, now Zambia, as Government Ecologist, the second of two such posts created in the Colonial Service.
On board ship returning to assignment in Northern Rhodesia Trapnell met and fell in love with Jeanne Mary Bourdas who was travelling with her mother. They were married soon after in London, following which Jeanne Trapnell accompanied her new husband back to Northern Rhodesia where in her first year of marriage they lived in no less than six separate houses.
In Northern Rhodesia Trapnell was posted to Mazabuka, and he often received letters addressed to “the geologist” or “the evangelist”, ecologist being an unknown word there. Trapnell’s brief was both broad and ambitious; he was to reconnoiter and map the soils vegetation types and indigenous agriculture of the whole territory, a task which would take him ten years. The survey was carried out in two parts: North Western Rhodesia (1930-1936) and North Eastern Rhodesia (1937-1942). He was at various times accompanied by and assisted in this work by a number of people including Neil Clothier, Peter Greenaway (later director of the herbarium in Nairobi) and William Allen (author of the seminal work: “The African Husbandman”).
This work was largely undertaken on foot, as there were in those days few tracks usable by motor vehicles. Typically Trapnell and his colleagues would depart for up to six months, with a team of native bearers carrying essentials, which generally included medical and food supplies and a copper bath. For the majority of African natives they encountered this would be their first view of a white man, and the evening ritual in the copper bath apparently drew substantial curious crowds. On one journey, as a Trinity, Oxford man, Trapnell and a travelling colleague who happened to have been at Balliol once organized a boat race on the Limpopo river, using local natives in canoes. Unhappily for the competition the course passed a sacred worship point, at which point both crews stopped paddling and stood in their canoes.
These surveys, the first of their kind in Africa to cover a whole country were published after the war and have recently been republished as they are still the basic source of essential natural resources data for the country. There are two volumes and accompanying maps: “The Soils, Vegetation and Traditional Agriculture of Zambia” Volume 1 Central and Western Zambia, Volume II by C.G. Trapnell and J.N. Clothier and C.G. Trapnell respectively. This work led Professor Hugh Bunting (Professor Emeritus of Agricultural Botany, University of Reading) in a Tropical Agricultural Association Melville Memorial Lecture to describe Trapnell along with others including Geoffrey Milne, Clement Gillman and John Phillips as “Giants who walked the earth in East and Southern Africa in earlier years.” Bunting also noted elsewhere that Trapnell was perhaps the first to establish the farming system concept by systematically describing the traditional agriculture practices found in Zambia.
In 1948 Trapnell was to have been transferred as ecologist to Malawi. He was on his way there with his wife Jeanne and their children when he was recalled by a telegram from the Colonial Office requiring him to organize experiments across Zambia to assess land for possible groundnut production. Survey plots which were duly laid out produced excellent crops in their first year. In the second year, however, several suffered devasting loss from a root fungus, thus endorsing the almost universal practice on the Zambian plateau of planting ground nuts only on new land or else on land that had previously been used for other crops. It is significant that the Overseas Food Corporation did not start groundnut schemes in Northern Rhodesia. Major schemes, which failed in Tanganyika, lacked the surveys which had been conducted in Northern Rhodesia.
Trapnell’s ecological work in Northern Rhodesia was seen by the colonial office as a rational foundation for a wide field of development, particularly of African Agriculture and in 1950 he was invited to train ecologists for the African Territories in fields which varied from large scale vegetation and soil surveys to game and tsetse and Desert Locust investigations. This work was based at the new East African Agriculture and Forestry Research Organization (EAAFRO) at Muguga in Kenya. Meanwhile with the development of the Mau Mau in Kenya, Trapnell was enrolled in the Kenya Police Reserve for local night patrol work. The field work of the training scheme ranged from the Turkana desert region to the Congo rainforest and the Malawi highlands, according to the need of students, seven of whom were trained in the techniques of field survey and air photo interpretations.
In 1957-58 Trapnell was engaged in basic ecological studies and in 1960, in cooperation with J.E. Griffiths, he completed an important study of the rainfall-altitude ratio in relation to the natural vegetation zones of southwest Kenya. Meanwhile the Kenya Department oif Agriculture asked him to extend information on ecological zones gathers by District Agricultural Officers by preparing an overall vegetation map. This coincided with a visit to EAAFRO of M.A. Brunt, Land Use Officer of the Directorate of Overseas surveys. Provisions were made for a full year’s secondment of Mr. Brunt who became and remained a valued colleague and great friend. The survey was to cover 40,000 square miles of Southwest Kenya with field data drawn in on the air photos which were then to be processed at the Directorate and plotted at 1:250 000. This was to prove a very major undertaking which was continued through to its conclusion several years after Trapnell’s retirement.
Following his retirement, Trapnell became actively involved in conservation and joined the small group of people engaged in founding the Somerset Trust for Nature Conservation, now the Somerset Wildlife Trust. He organized land use surveys for conservation purposes of the Mendip Hillsand the Somerset peat moors. He was responsible for the acquisition of their first nature reserves at Catcott and Westhay, the latter since extended as a National Nature Reserve, and was the donor of the major woodland areas Great Breach and New Hill Woods.He also joined the newly formed Mendip society, which, at his instigation secured the scheduling of the Mendip Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. He was chairman of the Leigh Woods Committee of Management for the National Trust for thirteen years, and negotiated the the lease of the woods to the Nature Conservancy to form the Avon Gorge National Nature Reserve.
At the same time he was engaged at his home in Bristol on the completion of the air photograph interpretation for the vegetation and climate maps of South West Kenya, the sheets of which were published successively by the Directorate of Overseas Survey between 1966 and 1986. The Kenya Survey work was Trapnell’s last piece of major ecological fieldwork in Africa. However, he continued to work on field data from his time in Northern Rhodesia and together with Dick Webster of Rothamstead Experimental station he has published papers on this work. Aged 90 he published a paper entitled ” Biodiversity and Conservation of the indigenous forests of the Kenya highlands”. In this he made a plea for the remaining indigenous forests to be preserved as such and not to be exploited for timber.
In 1994 Colin Trapnell established the Trapnell Fund for Environmental Field Research in Africa at Oxford University. The fund was formerly instituted in the university statutes in 1995 with the specific object of supporting research concerned with the African environment with reference to local climate variation and geomorphology, pedology, soil biology, and soil conservation. The present chairman of the Trapnell Fund is Professor Andrew Goudie - Master of St. Cross College. Most recently the Trapnell Fund has established the Trapnell Fellow in African Terrestrial Ecology at the Environmental Change Institute at Oxford University. The first Trapnell Fellow, Dr. Lindsey Gillson was appointed on September of 2001.
Aged over 90 and despite the infirmities of failing eyesight and acute deafness Trapnell then collaborated with Paul Smith and the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew to produce a three volume work entitled “an Ecological Survey of Zambia”. The publication was completed in January 2002. Of Paul Smith who worked closely with him Trapnell has said many times “I am so lucky to have found him”.
Colin Trapnell was awarded the O.B.E in 1957. His dearly loved wife Jeanne, who accompanied him with great cheerfulness through many adventures in Africa, died in January of 1999. He is survived by his children Jennifer Trapnell of Bristol, England, Priscilla Higgins of Santa Ynez, California and Robert Trapnell of Torun, Poland, and six grandchildren.

© Martin Brunt 2004

15 ago 2011

Hawaiian spam musubi

Hawaiian spam musubi
Spam musubi is appreciated for its taste and portability. A single musubi, usually wrapped in cellophane, can be purchased at small deli-type convenience stores (including 7-Eleven stores) all over the Hawaiian islands, ranging in price from $1 to $2. The 7-Eleven stores include a wide variety of flavors, including a regular Spam musubi and a deluxe Spam musubi (with furikake and a scrambled egg). Other variations include a musubi made with fried shrimp, chicken katsu, or pork cutlet instead of Spam.
Spam musubi acrylic rice molds are available at many kitchen stores in Hawaii. These molds are a few inches deep with a width and breadth that matches a slice of Spam.
By the way, United States President Barack Obama, who was born and raised in Hawaii, is a noted fan of spam musubi.
Recipes vary but typically slices of spam first are grilled, sometimes with a light teriyaki flavor. An acrylic mold is then placed over a sheet of nori and rice is pressed into the mold. The grilled spam is placed over the rice in the mold and the mold is removed. The nori is then wrapped over the top and around the musubi.

  • 2 cups uncooked short-grain white rice
  • 2 cups water
  • 6 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup oyster sauce
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 (12 ounce) container fully cooked luncheon meat (e.g. Spam)
  • 5 sheets sushi nori (dry seaweed)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
How to prepare it:
Soak uncooked rice for 4 hours; drain and rinse.
In a saucepan bring 2 cups water to a boil. Add rice and stir. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir in rice vinegar, and set aside to cool.
In a separate bowl, stir together soy sauce, oyster sauce, and sugar until sugar is completely dissolved. Slice luncheon meat lengthwise into 10 slices, or to desired thickness, and marinate in sauce for 5 minutes.
In a large skillet, heat oil over medium high heat. Cook slices for 2 minutes per side, or until lightly browned. Cut nori sheets in half and lay on a flat work surface. Place a rice press in the center of the sheet, and press rice tightly inside. Top with a slice of luncheon meat, and remove press. Wrap nori around rice mold, sealing edges with a small amount of water. (Rice may also be formed by hand in the shape of the meat slices, 1 inch thick.) Musubi may be served warm or chilled.

© Text and image: whatscookingmaui.com, Wikipedia, allrecipes.com

13 ago 2011

7th Indigenous Cinema and Video Festival of Morelia

Name: 7th Indigenous Cinema and Video Festival of Morelia
Dates: 27th august – 4th September 2011
Entrance fee: free
Place: Teatro José Rubén Romero, Morelia, Michoacán (Mexico)
Webpage: www.fecvi.com
This is the seventh year that the indigenous and video festival for the indigenous tribes of Mexico is held in Morelia, Michoacán.
This year, the films that will compete for the prize are:

1.        Lebenswelt de Elias Brossoise
2.        ¿Zirahuén, un lago en vía de extinción? de Dominique Jonard
3.        La dignidad maya, la rebelión indígena de 1847 de Francisco Alejandro May Esquivel
4.        La epopeya de la princesa 6 mono y el gran guerrero 8 venado de Victor Hugo Ruíz Ortíz
5.        Me parezco tanto a tí de Luna Maran
6.        Jotooky Pesteemple, Jaraneros Mixes de Guichicovi, Oaxaca de Yovegami Ascona Mora
7.        Pichátaro-Tsiri: Historia de San Francisco Pichátaro y sus maíces de Omar Ignacio Muñoz Rivera
8.        Voces de Hoy de María Dolores Arias Martínez
9.        Takeikna, La última fiesta de un Kumiai de César Abraham Solano y Fernando de la Rosa Monroy
10.     Shukuin-Sukuin: Historia de creación de Jaime Enrique Delfín Villafuerte
11.     Tres hilos para bordar de Yuli Rodríguez
12.     Los presagios funestos de Victor Hugo Izquierdo Martínez
13.     El diablo, la lanza y el tambor de Sabdyel Almazán y Omar Flores Sarabia

11 ago 2011

The Xhosa of South Africa

Xhosa women, Ethnikka blog for the knowledge of ethnic cultures and tribes
Name: Xhosa 
Living Area: south-east South Africa 
Population: aprox. 8 million 
Language: Xhosa 
The Xhosa people are speakers of Bantu languages living in south-east South Africa, and in the last two centuries throughout the southern and central-southern parts of the country.
Xhosa-speaking peoples are divided into several tribes with related but distinct heritages. The main tribes are the Mpondo, Mpondomise, Bomvana, Xesibe and Thembu. In addition, the Bhaca and Mfengu have adopted the Xhosa language. The name "Xhosa" comes from that of a legendary leader called uXhosa. There is also a theory that the word xhosa derives from a word in some Khoi-khoi or San language meaning "fierce" or "angry", the amaXhosa being the fierce people. The Xhosa refer to themselves as the amaXhosa and to their language as isiXhosa.
Presently approximately 8 million Xhosa people are distributed across the country, and Xhosa is South Africa's second most common home language, after Zulu, to which Xhosa is closely related. The pre-1994 apartheid system of bantustans denied Xhosas South African citizenship and attempted to confine them to the nominally self-governing "homelands" of Transkei and Ciskei, now both a part of the Eastern Cape Province where most Xhosa remain. Many Xhosa live in Cape Town (iKapa in Xhosa), East London (iMonti), and Port Elizabeth (iBhayi).

The Xhosa are part of the South African Nguni migration which slowly moved south from the region around the Great Lakes, displacing the original Khoisan hunter gatherers of Southern Africa. Xhosa peoples were well established by the time of the Dutch arrival in the mid-17th century, and occupied much of eastern South Africa from the Fish River to land inhabited by Zulu-speakers south of the modern city of Durban.
The Xhosa and white settlers first encountered one another around Somerset East in the early 18th century. In the late 18th century Afrikaner trekboers migrating outwards from Cape Town came into conflict with Xhosa pastoralists around the Great Fish River region of the Eastern Cape. Following more than 20 years of intermittent conflict, from 1811 to 1812 the Xhosas were forced east by British colonial forces in the Third Frontier War.
In the years following, many Xhosa-speaking clans were pushed west by expansion of the Zulus, as the northern Nguni put pressure on the southern Nguni as part of the historical process known as the mfecane, or "scattering". The Xhosa-speaking southern Nguni people had initially split into the Gcaleka and the Rharhabe (who had moved westwards across the Kei river). Further subdivisions were made more complicated by the arrival of groups like the Mfengu and the Bhaca from the Mfecane wars. These newcomers came to speak the Xhosa language, and are sometimes considered to be Xhosa. Xhosa unity and ability to resist colonial expansion was further weakened by the famines and political divisions that followed the cattle-killing movement of 1856.
Some historians argue that this early absorption into the wage economy is the ultimate origin of the long history of trade union membership and political leadership among Xhosa people. That history manifests itself today in high degrees of Xhosa representation in the leadership of the African National Congress, South Africa's ruling political party.

Traditional Xhosa culture includes diviners known as amagqirha, who serve as herbalists, prophets, and healers for the community. This job is mostly taken by women, who spend five years in apprenticeship.
The Xhosas have a strong oral tradition with many stories of ancestral heroes; according to tradition, the leader from whose name the Xhosa people take their name was the first King of the nation. One of Xhosa's descendents named Phalo gave birth to two sons Gcaleka, the heir and Rharhabe a son from the Right Hand house. Rharhabe the warrior wanted Gcaleka's throne but was defeated and banished and settled in the Amathole Mountains. Maxhobayakhawuleza Sandile Aa! Zanesizwe is the King in the Great Place in Mngqesha. Zwelonke Sigcawu was crowned King of the Xhosa on 18 June 2010.
The key figure in the Xhosa oral tradition is the imbongi (plural: iimbongi) or praise singer. Iimbongi traditionally live close to the chief's "great place" (the cultural and political focus of his activity); they accompany the chief on important occasions - the imbongi Zolani Mkiva preceded Nelson Mandela at his Presidential inauguration in 1994. Iimbongis' poetry, called imibongo, praises the actions and adventures of chiefs and ancestors.
The supreme being is called uThixo or uQamata. Ancestors act as intermediaries and play a part in the lives of the living; they are honoured in rituals. Dreams play an important role in divination and contact with ancestors. Traditional religious practice features rituals, initiations, and feasts. Modern rituals typically pertain to matters of illness and psychological well-being.
Each person within the Xhosa culture has his/her place which is recognised by the entire community. Starting from birth, a Xhosa person goes through graduation stages which seek to recognise his growth and hence assign him a recognisable place in the community. This results in a number of stages that one must go through, each one of which is marked by a specific ritual aimed at introducing the individual to their counterparts and hence to the ancestors. Starting from “imbheleko” which is a ritual performed to introduce a new born to the ancestors to “Umphumo”; from “Indodana” (young elder) to “Ixhego” (elder). These rituals and ceremonies are still practiced today. The “Ulwaluko” and “Intonjane” are also traditions which separated this tribe from the rest of the Nguni tribes. These are performed to recognise the transition from boyhood to manhood and from girl to woman respectively.
All these rituals are symbolic to one's development. Before these are performed, the individual gets to spend time with elders in the community in a bid to teach them of the “Do’s” and “Don’ts” in preparation for the next stage. A very interesting aspect of Xhosa culture is that this type of information is not written anywhere - it is transmitted from generation to generation by word of mouth. The “Isiduko” (clan) for instance – which matters most to the Xhosa identity (even more than names and surnames) are transferred from one to the other through word of mouth. Knowing your “Isiduko” is vital to the Xhosas and it is considered a shame and “Uburhanuka” (lack-of-identity) if one doesn’t know one's clan. This is considered so important that when two strangers meet for the first time, the first identity that gets shared is “Isiduko”. It is so important that two people with the same surname but different clan are considered total strangers but the same two people from the same clan but different surnames are regarded as close relatives. This forms the roots of "Ubuntu" (neighbouring) - a behaviour synonymous to this tribe as extending a helping hand to a complete stranger when in need. Ubuntu goes further than just helping one another - it is so deep that it even extends to looking after and reprimanding your neighbour's child when in the wrong. Hence the saying "it takes a village to raise a child".
One traditional ritual that is still regularly practiced is the manhood ritual, a secret rite that marks the transition from boyhood to manhood (Ulwaluko). After ritual circumcision the initiates (abakhwetha) live in isolation for up to several weeks, often in the mountains. During the process of healing they smear white clay on their bodies and observe numerous taboos.
Girls are also initiated into womanhood (Intonjane). They too are secluded, though for a shorter period. Female initiates are not circumcised.
Other rites include the seclusion of mothers for ten days after giving birth, and the burial of the afterbirth and umbilical cord near the village. This is reflected in the traditional greeting Inkaba yakho iphi?, literally "Where is Your Navel?" The answer "tells someone where you live, what your clan affiliation is, and what your social status is and contains a wealth of cultural information. Most importantly, it determines where you belong".

Known for their click language:
Xhosa is an agglutinative tonal language of the Bantu family. While the Xhosas call their language "isiXhosa," it is usually referred to as "Xhosa" in English. Written Xhosa uses a Latin alphabet-based system. Xhosa is spoken by about 18% of the South African population, and has some mutual intelligibility with Zulu. Many Xhosa speakers, particularly those living in urban areas, also speak Zulu and/or Afrikaans and/or English. As a result of the intermingling of Bantu and click-Speaking Khoisan tribes, isiXhosa has taken on several "click linguistics" characteristic of the Khoisan.
Among its features, the Xhosa language famously has fifteen click sounds, originally borrowed from now extinct Khoisan languages of the region. Xhosa has three basic click consonants: a dental click, written with the letter "c"; a palatal click, written with the letter "q"; and a lateral click, written with the letter "x." There is also a simple inventory of five vowels (a, e, i, o, u).

© Photo: South African Tourism, Text: Wikipedia

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