Folklore and Proverbs


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This is to note that I have received a research grant from the Qatar Foundation for a study of indigenous knowledge of the seasons and time-telling in the Gulf. I have created a separate webpage to indicate progress through updates on the progress. This page is at http://tabsir.net/?page_id=2903

This Mountains of Central Asia Digital Dataset (MCADD) consists of a collection of books, journals and maps related broadly to the Himalayas and its outlying attached ranges including the Hindu Kush, the Karakorams, the Pamirs, the Tian Shan and the Kuen Lun as well as the Tibetan highlands and the Tarim basin. These materials are housed in this site, and are freely available for personal non-commercial use and downloading.

Some of this material was originally downloaded from the Google Books website, but often this material from Google has been augmented by the addition of maps and other oversize materials that were excluded when the original Google scans were done and/or the addition of missing pages. For example, the Google scans of the 50 volumes of the Royal Geographical Society Journal, published between 1830 and 1880 do not include any of the oversize maps—these maps have all now been scanned and some 450 maps added in their proper location to each of the journal volume pdf files on the PAHAR website.

Various aids to searching specific topics, such as indexes of articles related to the MCADD geographic area (Himalaya, Tibet and Central Asia) have also been prepared for the more prolific journals, such as those of the Royal Geographical Society, the Royal Central Asian Society, and the Asiatic Society of Bengal. (more…)

Time Magazine has a photographic essay on “Exploring the Mawlids of Egypt.”


The photograph illustrates Luce Ben Aben, Moorish women preparing couscous, Algiers, Algeria.

There is a trove of old photographs from around the Middle East at the website http://www.azerbaijanrugs.com/oldphotos/old-photographs-me.htm


Kurds in national costumes


Young girl of Bethlehem. This color photochrome print was made between 1890 and 1900.

One political cartoon sums up the problem with both ISIS and the current crisis in Yemen…

There are many postcards on the Internet from old Aden under British control. Photographers in Aden were not immune to the Orientalist gaze on the curious and the bizarre.

to be continued… for #15, click here.

MessyNessy has put a page about the Marsh Arabs with some fabulous pictures. Check it out here.

It was Iraq’s ‘Garden of Eden’; unique wetlands in southern Iraq where a people known as the Ma’dan, or ‘Arabs of the marsh’, lived in a Mesopotamian Venice, characterised by beautifully elaborate floating houses made entirely of reeds harvested from the open water.

Check out the nicely illustrated online article by Kuwaiti ethnomusicologist Ghazi Al-Mulaifi on the music of pearling in the Arabian Gulf.

‘All the men died at sea,’ Ghazi Al-Mulaifi’s grandfather would respond, every time his inquisitive grandson questioned him about his days as the master of a Kuwaiti pearling ship during the 1930s and 1940s. Naturally, his grandfather’s ambiguity only served to exacerbate the young Al-Mulaifi’s interest. ‘Who was this grandpa-captain of mine, who didn’t want to talk to me about the sea?’
he wondered.

As Al-Mulaifi – now a 37 year old PhD candidate in ethnomusicology at New York University – became more and more interested in music as he grew older, he found himself increasingly drawn to one particular aspect of the Kuwaiti pearl diving tradition – its soundscape. For the whole article and illustrations, click here.

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