Mittwoch, 23. Mai 2012

What Yemeni men wear behind or around their daggers I

In line with the topic of my PhD thesis and following a recent discussion with my friend Marieke Brandt on the topic, I have decided to establish a new category on this blog displaying pictures of Yemeni men using their jihaz (= the complete dagger outfit including belt, scabbard, and the dagger itself) as a means of displaying status or worldview, but also as a mundane peg from which to hand things so that one will have one's hands free for other things. I will start with the ubiquitous qat bag, which tells us that this man has just been to the qāt market and is now on his way either to a restaurant to enjoy the inevitable pre-qat salta or on his way to the place where he will be chewing this afternoon. Qat bags hanging from janabi (pl. of janbiya) will thus never be encountered in the morning. They are an afternoon phenomenon. Note that this man has also wrapped his prayer beads around the scabbard, a common sight in Yemen (at any time of the day). Men might wear these as accessory to their jihaz to denote their religiosity although this might be a pre-reflexive gesture as most Yemeni men are deeply religious and would not feel the need to emphasize this. For some, the prayer beads are also a tool to play around with when bored.

(© Marie-Christine Heinze)

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