Tuareg Tent Poles - Niger

Among the Tuareg, tent poles are used to build the tent, hold up the tent wall mats, and to hang leather bags and clothing. This particular kind of tent pole (ehel) is used to secure a wall mat that is placed around the owner's bed. The obvious care and craftsmanship employed in the production of these poles indicate that these are prestige pieces intended to embellish the tent and reflect the status of their owner.

This particular pair of poles feature the intricate and exciting openwork carving ehel are renowed for. Positive and negative space offer simultaneous and equally fascinating compositional delights for the eye, conjuring an almost architectural maze of curves, corners, bridges and connections from a single plane of wood.

For similar examples, see Marc Ginzberg's African Forms.

Tuareg
Wood
20th century
50" H 8" W
48" H 8.5" W
ex Private NY collection
#421
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