The Tuareg people are predominantly nomadic people of the sahara desert, mostly in the Northern reaches of Mali near Timbuktu and Kidal but are also indigenous to Morocco. They are often referred to as “Blue Men of the desert” – because their robes are dyed indigo blue. They traditionally live in small tribes with between 30 and 100 family members and keep camels, goats, cattle and chicken which graze the land.
However, in recent times the Tuareg have been abandoning their nomadic way of life and take up sedentary lifestyles. Drought and government policy are threatening their traditional way of life but Tuaregs and their camel-caravans still appear unexpectedly on the horizon before melting into the desert again.
From their inventive spirit and skillful hands springs a culture renown for artisan works, notably for their spectacular silver jewelry. Tuareg women have a superstitious fear of gold and don’t wear it; silver has thus taken its place in the Tuareg traditions. Silver jewelry is part of every Tuareg family estate, it has both symbolic and real value, serving also as savings and for (foreign) exchange.
The Southern Cross from Agades or Iferwan was originally worn only by men who transferred it from father to son at puberty. It hints to the virility and strength of the young men in relation to their traditional nomad lifestyle. The cross represents saddle pommel of their camels or in a wider view, the four cardinal directions.
Traditionally a father would transmit the cross to his son saying “Son, I give you the four directions, as no one knows where your path will end.”
For more information on Taureg news see http://tuaregcultureandnews.blogspot.com
Click here to see more Tuareg jewelry from Moroccan Bling.