Friday, June 13, 2008

Dovecotes, Tradition and National Identity in Egypt

Iconoclasm (Troels Myrup Kristensen)

Dovecotes are not only an omnipresent part of many Egyptian landscapes. They are also very much part of the national identity of modern Egypt, as seen for example in the above portrait of Mubarak in the Abdine Palace in Cairo. It shows a contemplative president surrounded by symbols of the modern Egyptian nation-state: airforce, industry, agriculture, Mahmoud Mokhtar’s sculpture Egypt’s Renaissance, pyramid, mosque, Coptic church, the Nile and a pair of dovecotes.

Dovecotes are used to raise pigeons (hammam). They are often built on the upper stories of houses but frequently they are also of the stand-alone, tower-like variety. There is a great number of different sizes and types. The continuity of the tradition of raising pigeons in dovecotes is nowhere more apparent than in the Fayum.

See the above for the full story, which includes photographs of some of the dovecotes including an example from Roman Karanis.

No comments: