National Geographic : 1937 Jan
BEDOUIN LIFE IN BIBLE LANDS © John D. Whiting NOW IT'S YOUR MOVE! Two cronies meet over a game of mankalie. Like chess, it demands much concentration, cal culation, and forethought. Savage tribes of Africa play a similar game (see "Kboo, a Liberian Game," NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE for November, 1910). These players belong to a negroid tribe of Arabs found around the Sea of Galilee. mutters "Praise be to Allah," and makes room for another hungry Arab. The host himself never eats during a meal. He stays on his feet throughout, inviting first one guest and then another to partake of the feast, until all have eaten. With a large ladle, he keeps adding fresh supplies of the meat broth or melted but ter. No matter how lowly a guest, he is always served before a man of the clan. Such a tent feast reminds the visitor of the banquet at which Abraham entertained the guests of Mamre (Genesis 18:1-8). CLIMATE DICTATES COSTUME The costumes of the purest blooded Bedouins are rather somber, blending with their arid desert background. Every man of every class wears the tob, a white cotton shirt reaching to the ankles. Over this goes a white or striped silk or cotton kibr. This is a sort of tight-fitting gaberdine, open down the front and bound snugly to the body by a leather belt, sometimes with crossed shoulder straps. Most important garment is the sleeveless coat, or aba. It is at once the Bedouin's coat, overcoat, raincoat, and blanket. He wraps himself in it at night when he is away from camp. The aba is woven of camel's hair or wool. It may be black, brown, orange, or cream colored. Sometimes it is so flimsy as to be semitransparent, and in summer hangs loosely over the shoulders. Again, it may be heavy enough to resist the roughest cold and rainy weather, when it is wrapped tightly around the body. Bedouins exposed to severe winter cold may wear lambskin coats.