National Geographic : 1927 Dec
COLOR RECORDS FROM THE HOLY CITY I wanted to photograph the Grand Mufti (Plate IV) in that beauty spot to which every traveler hopes, some day, to come-the Temple area, where Abraham was ready to sacrifice his son; where Solomon's Temple, so minutely described in First Kings, was built; where the Dome of the Rock, polychrome jewel casket for a stark native rock, built by the Moslems, now stands. The bright tiles of the Mosque do not begin at the ground (Plate XI) and hence could not form a background for His Eminence if I were to get a close-up of the man himself; so I had to ask him to pose among the flowers of a garden where Pilate's Judgment Hall once stood, and where two former students of mine, one a Moslem and the other a Christian, now teach in a Moslem school for boys. When I entered Russia last year I left unfulfilled a promise to send copies of a photograph I had taken in Bethlehem to the Syriac Patriarch (Plate III). When, after half a year, I kept my promise, His Beatitude was so surprised and pleased that when I asked him to let me picture him in color he willingly consented. In the meantime I had visited many of his followers near Mosul, and we talked for a long time about them and about his Syrian Jacobite followers in India. Equally interesting was my visit with the Russian Archbishop (Plate V). The once-teeming Cathedral is almost deserted now and in sore need, but the Archbishop was keenly interested in discussing the changes I had witnessed in Russia during the Revolution and again last year. Purple and blue and gold-princely colors-featured the bright vestments of the Copts (Plate VII), and at the Arme nian Church of St. James, with its beauti ful tile walls, the bishops chose from vast cupboards the rich robe for one of their number (Plate VIII). My failure to secure a satisfactory autochrome of His Eminence Jacob Meir, Chief Rabbi of the Sephardim (see page 653), was a sore disappointment. No reli gious leader was more cordial and none was I more anxious to honor. The Jews of Jerusalem are a retiring people and color photographs of them were obtained only after long negotia tions. In one obscure courtyard a Hun garian Jew (Plate IX, left, and Plate XXII) consented to let me picture that costume which brightens the somber mul titude at the Wailing Wall, and a Yem enite represented that obscure group of Jews who lived among the Moslems in the land whence comes the veritable Mocha coffee (Plate IX, right). The flamboyant colors of Turkestan add vividness to Jerusalem. Both Mos lems and Jews wear the posterlike robes that make a trip through central Asia a never-to-be-forgotten experience. The director of one of the hostels for central Asian Moslems favored me with a sitting (Plate X) and a group of Jewish refu gees, once wealthy, now poor, posed for me in the rich raiment to which they were accustomed in former days (Plates XVII, XXIII, and XXIV). Back and forth across the courtyard ran a young girl, who begged me to take her picture. "I'll make myself beautiful," she said in what then seemed an excess of faith. But from the common stock of those Jewish refugees from Bokhara she borrowed a radiant robe and assumed a confident air (Plate XVIII). Panoply plays a part in oriental poli tics and the kavass, a perambulant badge of office, is attached to high officials as bodyguard or personal messenger. The scarlet and gold of the kavass of Lord Plumer, High Commissioner of Palestine, would in some towns start a riot rather than quell one, but amid the orgy of color in the Holy City even so striking a figure passes almost unnoticed (Plate XII, right). In the East it is the old men and young women who appeal to the eye. Whether it be an Ashkenazic Jew in plush robes (Plate XIII, left), or one of the bright turbaned patriarchs of Bethlehem (Plate XIII, right), male dignity adds to the composite into which a splash of color and sound is introduced by the lemonade seller (Plate XIX). Every visitor to the Holy City covets a record of the colorful costumes which oriental women wear so gracefully (Plates XII, left, and XIV), but it was a rare privilege to have as models in the Temple area (Plate XV) and at the Tombs of the Kings (Plate XVI) a well-bred Moslem mother of Bethlehem and her eighteen year-old daughter, who braved the camera as a gesture of friendship toward mem bers of the National Geographic Society.