Wednesday, October 3, 2007

The Nubian Dance

Nubian Dance

Signed upper left L. Deutsch Paris 1886
The Nubian Dance 1886
oil on panel/huile sur panneau
16x14.25in. (40.6x36.3cm)

Deutsch depicts a Zar dancer in front of a Nubian and Egyptian group of spectators.
It is not common to have a table set with food in the middle of a street, therefore this leaves us to believe that the setting is staged. The mother of pearl table is from Deutsch's collection of props, since it shows up also in 'The Chess Game'.
Deutsch painted a larger version of the same subject in 1886.
In Islamic cultures the belief in jinns (demons) was a common occurrence. One of the ways to tame these jinns that could inhabit humans, was through ritualistic dances. Women in Islamic cultures would only perform this ritual in the privacy of their own homes. Men on the other hand had no such restrictions. In present day Cairo these dances are now performed for tourists and sometimes in public by men dressed in white.

Here is another great short documentary about the Zar Dance and it's meaning.

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