National Geographic : 1937 Jan
BEDOUIN LIFE IN BIBLE LANDS © American Colony, Jerusalem PALMS AND CAMELS FRAME A DESERT GREETING "Putting heads together" in Arab lands does not imply gossip, but the ritual of correct saluta tion. This desert meeting occurred in an oasis of the Sinai Peninsula, south of the region described in the article. a tent. To him, it is the beit sha'ar (house of hair). Most flexible of all abodes, it keeps out sun, sands, and winter winds. During hot days the sides can be lifted or removed at will. Then the tent is little more than a sunshade. In winter the coarse, heavy fabric cuts off icy blasts. With few exceptions, the goats of these lands are black. From their shearings the Bedouin makes his tents. Thousands of years have brought little change in their construction. SOLOMON SANG OF THE BEDOUINS Solomon, the Poet King of Zion, sang, "I am black, but comely, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, as the tents of Kedar, as the curtains of Solomon" (Song of Solomon 1:5). Kedar was a Bible name for the Bedouins. The house of hair is oblong and has a long pitched roof with drooping ends. The smallest tents have nine poles altogether, with a row running lengthwise down the center, and shorter, lighter rows in front and back. Guy ropes extend outward from both sides and from the center of each end. Detachable goat's-hair curtains form the sides and ends of the tent. They are fas tened to the edge of the roof with wooden pins and fixed to the ground with pegs driven through rope loops (page 68). The tent is pitched with its back to pre vailing winds and storms. A curtain at the central pole usually divides it into two parts. One end is called the mahram sec tion (belonging to the harem). Here lives the family, and here are stored bedding, rugs, copper cooking pots, and saddlery.