Tuareg Leather Box – DAGABAT – Agadez Region, Niger

Camel knee’s leather, henna. Cm. 7,4 high x cm. 10,5 width (2.91″ x 4.13″).

A Tuareg box known as “dagabat” from the region around Agadez in Niger. Tuareg women stretch wet vellum over clay forms to make the dagabat and trim the excess leather before tying them up and sitting them out to dry.  Once dry cotton string dipped in wax is laid on the surface in a pattern.  The dagabat is then soaked in a pot of crimson dye rendered from sorghum husks.  The dagabat are then dried, the waxed strings are removed.

The Tuareg people inhabit a large area, covering almost all the middle and western Sahara and the north-central Sahel. They are probably descended from the ancient Libyan people of the kingdom of the Garamantes, described by Herodotus. Tuareg are mostly nomads. For over two millennia, the Tuareg operated the trans-Saharan caravan trade connecting the great cities on the southern edge of the Sahara via five desert trade routes to the northern coast of Africa (Mediterranean).

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