National Geographic : 1979 Aug
Sculptor of hair in the village of Talat, an Inadan woman, Bachi, braids a popular style for a noble's daughter.Such skilled beauticiansfirst wash the hairin suds made from the leaves of a desertplant, then treat it with butter and shiny black sand. Fashionablein coif fure and jewelry, girls (below) await the feast ending Ramadan,the Muslim sacredmonth of fasting. better to offer something to an Enad even before he makes a request! Whatever the Inadan's mystic sway over their Tuareg overlords, the steadfast coexis tence between them rides on day-to-day affairs. A nighttime wedding, for example, is taking place .... We watch the old Enad, Hada, stand at the doorway of a big hut, the black, wrin kled turban coiled hastily around his head. Waiting for action, a crowd of men and women stir about, their eyes and teeth gleaming in the full moon's light. A voice booms from within the hut. "Inadan, beware! Cover your eyes with your tattered veils; you are among wealthy men tonight. Be careful with what we give you! Our sharp blades will cut your hands. Their glint will hurt your eyes. Be grateful, Inadan!" The hut conceals Tuareg nobles, who have come to a river-bottom encampment to celebrate the marriage of a friend. Now they are offering ritualistic gifts to their attendant Inadan as a reward, on this special day, for their services as silversmiths, messengers, attendants-but especially, tonight, as drum players. Through the hut door a hand offers a takoba, a Tuareg sword. Hada takes it, shakes it, unsheaths it-and screams. "Aieeeeeeeeeeya-eeeei! Is this dull thing a gift? I will ask the women, for the men do not accept it." Turning toward a group of Ina dan women draped in indigo headcloths, Hada seeks their opinion. "It could not slit the throat of a kid goat," the women cry in unison. Hada hands back the sword, and receives another out of the shadows. This one, too, is contemptuously rejected. A third weapon is offered, this (Continued on page 296) Artisans of the Sahara 291 10tW I'