|"The Arab Scribe" by J.F. Lewis, 1852|
|"The Bath" by J.L. Gerome, in the Legion of Honor, San Francisco|
|"Odalisque" by Max Nonnenbruch|
|"By order of the sultan" by Antonio Fabres|
|"Idle Moments" by Frederick Arthur Bridgman, 1875|
These women wear heavy brass anklets to show their status as slaves of the Tuareg tribesmen who have controlled the region for generations. These nomadic tribes used to trade surplus and captured slaves across the Sahara desert to North Africa, including Egypt, and beyond to the rest of the Ottoman Empire.
The Koran allows Muslim men to marry up to four wives, but own as many slave concubines as they can afford (or capture in war) with free reign to use them sexually with or without consent. In these parts of Africa, the Arabised semi-nomadic tribes like the Tuaregs typically own some individual women in the hereditary slave tribes, just as each generation of an old European family might own a stable of horses and the individual animals alive at that time. When they exercise their right to take these women as concubines and enjoy them sexually, they are called "fifth wives" even though they are not legally married and a man might have several of his slaves as "fifth wives" at a time.
I've used this picture in my Brass anklets for slaves and wives blog post.
Picture from Anti Slavery International. More about modern slavery in Niger.
Last modified 27 Apr 13, 9:39 PM by Tanos