Tuareg Ehel, Cushion and Tent Support
Country Of Origin
Niger or Mali
Early 20th century
19 x 136 cms (7½ x 53½ ins)
These intricately carved wooden supports were used to hold the mats in place that formed the tent walls. They were used by the nomadic Tuareg of Niger and Mali as part of their tent furnishings. The larger, more ornate and intricately carved the ehel, the more wealthy and prestigious the owner.
In Africa: The Art of a Continent the catalogue of the famous Royal Academy exhibition in 1995 René A Bravmann writes, “They were carved by members of the guild known as Enaden, literally meaning ‘the other’, blacksmiths who have been instrumental in the creation of precisely those things that have forever distinguished the upper classes of this society (the imochar, warriors and the insilimen, religious teachers) from the many vassal populations of the Tuareg world.”
This particular example is old and well used with a native repair of aluminum. It has intricate cutouts decorating the body and the remaining wood has been scored with more geometric patterns on both sides.
Amyas Nagele writes,"It's always a pleasure to look through your always beautiful offerings and see what you've found. I'm writing because in a continuing effort to staunch the false description of these poles as cushion supports- the oft repeated notion put forth by the Tom Philips book. They are in fact screen supports, being far too brittle to support a cushion and, presumably, the tired Tuaregs resting against them!
- Africa The Art of a Continent. Prestel Verlag. London. 1995. . The Sahel and the Savanna. pp.531. Fig.6.57
Price on request