Tour the Exhibit
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- Africa Facts
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Art and Society
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The Grassfields of Cameroon

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Metalworking

The Land
- The Great Sahara Desert
 
- The Biggest Desert
- Blown Dry
- More than Sand Dunes
- Window to the Past
- The Tuareg
  - Introduction
  - Traditional life
  - Camels
  - Salt
  - Oasis
  - Clothing
  - Women
  - Writing and song
Story
- Two ways to count to 10

Women pass on writing, poetry and song

Tuareg women teach their children to write Tifinar, a script that has been in the central Sahara longer than Arabic. A Tifinar message might tell about the condition of a well; sometimes, like graffiti, it proclaims true love. However, people use Tifinar less and less today.

Women are among the Tuareg's most famous poets and songwriters. Their favorite topics include the Tuareg's glorious history, life on the desert and the perils of love. Although men make up caravan songs as they travel, it is generally the poems and songs that women write that are passed down, from generation to generation. Songs are sung a cappella, or are accompanied with stringed instruments and drums.

See and hear a Tuareg story about how the giraffe was created.

717 K Quicktime Audio file

 


Fibula
Brass
Tuareg peoples
Gao, Mali
1970's
Neck Wallet
Leather, yarn, paper trim
Tuareg peoples
Niger
Women's Stringed Instrument
Gourd, iguana skin, wood, horsetail, resin
Tuareg peoples
Niger
Earrings
Silver
Tuareg peoples
Tahoua, Niger
1995
Women's Necklace
Shell, leather
Tuareg peoples
Bamako, Mali
1994
Jewelry Box with Lid
Leather
Tuareg peoples
Niamey, Niger
1995

 

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