Easter Season in Egypt, 1834: ‘Smelling the Breeze’, Making Kishk, Eating Colored Eggs & Salted Fish

kishk, an Egyptian dish made with thickened mi...

A bowl of kishk topped with sautéed onions, an Egyptian dish made with thickened milk or yogurt and topped with fried onions. It is described in the following text as a 19th century treat. In the village where I lived, it was still a great treat that was made by some of the older women.  It is a dish that transcends religious sects and socio-economic strata, as well as ethnicities. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Manners and Customs of The Modern Egyptians, by E. Lane, is a two-volume set filled with lore about Egypt during the author’s time (1834). And although it makes for fascinating reading, the book is now largely ‘put down’ by post-colonial theorists who are troubled by the Orientalist mind-set of Lane and his colleagues.

Nevertheless, taken at descriptive value, it – as so much of the colonial literature of exploration – provides views both into lifestyles of local people at the time and their (presumed) thoughts – as well as mindsets of the authors themselves; of colonial mentality.

The following excerpt describes common practices during Orthodox Easter time in Egypt (1834), and includes a recipe for kishk, which was eaten as part of the celebrations for Good Friday. Kishk is still a very popular dish, eaten year-round, and I remember the delicious kishk that was made in the Izba (hamlet) in Upper Egypt where I lived while doing research.

Salted fish ( فسيخ), lettuce, and onion are also eaten as part of this spring celebration, which is commonly organized as a picnic.  It is said that these practices can be traced back to ancient Egypt, though I cannot find solid information about this.  Nevertheless, it is a celebration that encompasses both Muslims and Christians and transcends socio-economic strata.

An izba in Upper Egypt, similar to the one in which I lived. Kishk was a great treat, as made by some of the older women.  It is a dish that transcends religious sects and socio-economic strata, as well as ethnicities.  Source - Village by Ahmed Moustafa

An izba (hamlet) in Upper Egypt, similar to the one in which I lived.  The green matter on the roofs is fodder, crop leavings, and oven fuel.  Source – oilpaintingsonline.com, the painting is by Ahmed Moustafa, of Alexandria.

Of particular interest in the following description, is the melding of Muslim, Coptic, and non-religious activities into one ceremony – called, as still today,  Shamm al-Nasim (شم النسيم – literally, ‘sniffing the breeze’).  Some of the activities described below are still found, while others, such as ritual washing with a particular plant, are no longer to be commonly found.

Until the presidency of Nasser (mid-20th century), there was a large Jewish community in Cairo and it is possible that the Jewish celebration of Passover, which takes place during the same time period in Egypt, also incorporated aspects of the Shamm al-Nasim celebration.

IT is remarkable that the Moos’lims of Egypt observe certain customs of a religious or superstitious nature at particular periods of the religious almanac of the Copts [Orthodox Christians of Egypt]; and even, according to the same system, calculate the times of certain changes of the weather.

Thus they calculate the period of the Khum’a’see’n [khamsiin], when hot southerly winds are of frequent, occurrence, to commence on the day immediately following the Coptic festival of Easter Sunday, and to terminate on the Day of Pentecost (or Whitsunday); an interval of forty-nine days.

Coptic and Arabic inscriptions in an Old Cairo...

Coptic and Arabic inscriptions in an Old Cairo church. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Wednesday next before this period is called Ar’ba’a Eiyoo’b, or Job’s Wednesday. Many persons, on this day, wash themselves with cold water, and rub themselves with the creeping’ plant called raara’a Ei-yoo’b, or ghoobey’ra (inula Arabica, and inula undulata), on account of a tradition which relates that Job did so to obtain restoration to health. This and other customs about to be mentioned were peculiar to the Copts; but are now observed by many Moos’lims in the towns, and by more in the villages.

The other customs just alluded to are that of eating eggs, dyed externally red or yellow or blue, or some other colour, on the next day (Thursday); and, on the Friday (Good Friday), a dish of khul’tah, composed of kishk*, with foo’l na’bit**, lentils, rice, onions, &c.

Washing before a meal, a necessary task. Source: Lane, Manners and Customs…

* Kishk is prepared from wheat, first moistened, then dried, trodden in a vessel to separate the husks, and coarsely ground with a hand-mill: the meal is mixed with milk, and about six hours afterwards is spooned out upon a little straw or bran, and then left for two or three days to dry. When required for use, it is either soaked or pounded, and put into a sieve, over a vessel; and then boiling water is poured on it: what remains in the sieve is thrown away: what parses through is generally poured into a saucepan of boiled meat or fowl, over the fire: some leaves of white bete, fried in butter, are usually added to each plate of it.

** foo’l na’bit are Beans soaked in water until they begin to sprout, and then boiled.

On the Saturday, also, it is a common custom of men and women to adorn their eyes with kohhl. This day is called Sebt en-Noo’ r (Saturday of the Light); because a light, said to be miraculous, appears during the festival then celebrated in the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem.

A custom termed Shemm en-Nesee’m* (or the Smelling of the Zephyr) is observed on the first day of the Khum’a’see’n. Early in the morning of this day, many persons, especially women, break an onion, and smell it; and in the course of the forenoon, many of the citizens of Cairo ride or walk a little way into the country, generally northwards, to take the air, or, as they term it,smell the air, which, on that day, they believe to have a wonderfully beneficial effect. The greater number dine in the country.

This year (1834), they were treated with a violent hot wind, accompanied by clouds of dust, instead of the nesee’m: but considerable numbers, notwithstanding, went out to smell it.

*شم النسيم

Source: Edward William LaneAn Account of the Manners and Customs of the Modern Egyptians, Written in Egypt during the Years 1833, -34, and -35, partly from Notes made during a Former Visit to that Country in the Years 1825, -26, -27, and 28. In Two Volumes
Posted in Colonial, Colonialism, Cuisine, Egypt, Food, Recipes | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

A Tasty Congolese Relish with Manioc Leaves – Isombe y’umwamba

Cooking palm nuts to soften the nuts for oil e...

Image via Wikipedia

26/6/2015

Yesterday I went out into the parcel’s garden and noticed that both palm oil trees have nice clumps of palm oil kernels that are growing.  They should be ready in a couple of weeks, when I’ll do another blog about their use here in central Africa.

The following blog details a very popular use of manioc leaves cooked in palm oil, and manner of extracting oil from the kernels that is still found in some areas of the county –


The following recipe – ‘Manioc leaves with crushed palm oil kernels‘ – is popular throughout central Africa and combines three of the most important local ingredients – manioc leaves, fresh oil from palm nuts, and ground nuts.

Batwa men operating a traditional oil palm press in the eastern Congo

Here are the ingredients – quantities are pretty much up to you:

Fresh manioc leaves –
Oil palm nuts –
Fresh peanuts –
Leeks
Garlic –
Palm oil
Red pepper –
Salt –
 

Preparation requires a bit of work. First, you must collect a basket of tender manioc leaves:

Tender, young cassava/manioc leaves

Then, you need to pound the manioc leaves into a paste, like this:

Pounding the manioc leaves can take a couple of hours, and is a task often shared by several people.  This is Eileen, daughter of one of the staff, pounding manioc leaves.

In the meantime, send your menfolk off to collect a bunch or two of fresh palm nuts:

Oil Palm nuts. 

You prepare the oil palm nuts by removing the flesh from the kernels and pounding it – then, you squeeze the crushed fibers between your hands, using the liquid, but throwing away the fibers.

Groundnuts you’ll probably have to buy fresh at the local market, unless you raise them yourself:

Groundnuts, not quite ready for harvesting. Source: Global ministries

Shell the groundnuts and crush them into a powder.

The garlic and leeks are not indigenous to central Africa, but were introduced during the colonial period and now are featured in many local dishes.

They are pounded together with the cassava leaves, once the leaves have been fairly well mashed.

The oil palm liquid and groundnut powder is also added and pounded/mixed in.

Some people also add tomatoes and green peppers.

The final mixture looks something like this:

Pounded manioc leaves. Source: shianlotta, flikr

The best way to cook is in a clay pot, but increasingly folks cook in aluminum pots, like this:

Isombe being cooked to the left, goat meat to the right, by project staff preparing for a wedding feast

You can add a little palm oil to the pot – but not too much, because you’ve already extracted some oil with the liquid of the fresh palm nuts.

Isombe y’umwamba (which means manioc leaves with oil palm) is always eaten with a pate – a thick porridge – and often in this manner:

Sorghum pate with isombe y’umwamba as a relish

Isombe is frequently served at the Hotel Lac Tanganyika, by way of presenting a much-loved traditional dish that is highly nutritious – and tasty!

Thanks to Yolanda, who asked me about this recipe here.

 
 
Posted in Africa-General, Cuisine, Food, Hotel Club du Lac Tanganyika2, Recipes, Technology | Tagged , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Agroforestry in the Sahel – Looking back on Past Project Work – The SRAAD Project

Our socioeconomic and agroforesty work in the eastern and western Sudan was able to verify data on multipurpose use of A. senegal  [now renamed Senegalia senegal] and on  other woody species – as well as on related agroforestry practices and specific problems being encountered.

The project [was] composed of two distinct, yet interrelated components: The Resource Inventory Component and the Resource Rehabilitation Component.

The Resource Inventory Component employed innovative geographic and cartographic techniques, based on satellite imagery, to inventory the natural resources of a large part of Southern Darfur and Southern Kordofan. This effort generates base maps for the area which are used to organize and assess information on woody vegetation and a data base to devise forestry development strategies in these areas. The Resource Rehabilitation Component of the SRAAD project operates in a smaller area corresponding to the administrative region of five Rural Councils in Southern Kordofan.

The second component was based upon utilizing specific information generated by the Resource Inventory Component, combined with the results of a household survey conducted in the five Rural Council areas, to design forest management and development plans and to introduce rehabilitation activities. The rehabilitation activities utilize appropriate reforestation and agroforestry techniques.

The rehabilitation activity includes a detailed study of local conditions and the collection of baseline data from ethnobotanical and socioeconomic surveys. This component and the inventory of the SRAAD Project are designed to provide planning data for reforestation activity in parts of Darfur and Kordofan Province.

Source – Procedures Handbook

Of great concern on the part of local inhabitants were increasing attempts both by government and private persons and groups to take over large swaths of these Acacia-rich lands.

Further details on our work can be found here –

Here is a brief listing of the various uses to which this important Sahelian tree is put:

Gum arabic
The tree is of great economic importance for the gum arabic it produces to be is used as a food additive, in crafts, and as a cosmetic. The gum is drained from cuts in the bark, and an individual tree will yield 200 to 300 grams. Seventy percent of the world’s gum arabic is produced in Sudan.
Forage
New foliage is very useful as forage.
Food
Dried seeds are used as food by humans.
Agriculture
Like other legume species, S. senegal fixes nitrogen within Rhizobia or nitrogen-fixing bacteria living in root nodules.
This nitrogen fixation enriches the poor soils where it is grown, allowing for the rotation of other crops in naturally nutrient-poor regions.
Acacia_senegal_-_Köhler–s_Medizinal-Pflanzen-004.  Source - Wikipedia

Acacia senegal, in Köhler’s Medizinal-Pflanzen-004. Source – Wikipedia

Traditional [medicinal] uses
It is reportedly used as for its astringent properties, to treat bleeding, bronchitis,diarrhea, gonorrhea, leprosy, typhoid fever and upper respiratory tract infections.
Rope
Roots near the surface of the ground are quite useful in making all kinds of very strong ropes and cords. The tree bark is also used to make rope.
Wood
Handles for tools, parts for weaving looms.

Source – Wikipedia

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A Husband’s Letter to his Decesed Wife – Translation by Wente

Letters to the dead could be long and, perhaps, ease the frustration or fear of the person writing.  The following letter is quite detailed; from the angry husband of a woman who has died:

Wente-Letters 2a

Wente-Letters from ancient  Egypt

Wente-Letters from ancient Egypt

..

Posted in Ancient Egypt, Ed Wente, Letters | Tagged | Leave a comment

How to Succeed with Letters to The Dead – Translations by Wente

Letters to the dead in ancient Egypt provided one method of seeking success or redress from both the gods and from people who have died.  I will put up a couple that provide a little window to these interesting missives; see this blog for more details:

'Bribing' a god in order to succeed. Source - Wente - Letters from ancient Egypt

‘Bribing’ a god in order to succeed. Source – Wente – Letters from ancient Egypt

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Livingston’s Adventures with Manioc [Cassava] in Southern Africa

Missionary-travels-enYesterday I had for lunch an African dish with fish and cassava [manioc] in a delicious sauce.  This reminded me of the oft negative descriptions of the crop as being something less that wonderful; as written by David Livingston :

The country through which we passed possessed the same general character of flatness and forest that we noticed before. The soil is dark, with a tinge of red—in some places it might be called red—and appeared very fertile. Every valley contained villages of twenty or thirty huts, with gardens of manioc, which here is looked upon as the staff of life.

Cassava was introduced into Africa by way of Portugese slavers.  Source - www.uq.edu

Cassava was introduced into Africa by way of Portuguese slavers. Source – http://www.uq.edu

Very little labor is required for its cultivation. The earth is drawn up into oblong beds, about three feet broad and one in height, and in these are planted pieces of the manioc stalk, at four feet apart. A crop of beans or ground-nuts is sown between them, and when these are reaped the land around the manioc is cleared of weeds. In from ten to eighteen months after planting, according to the quality of the soil, the roots are fit for food. There is no necessity for reaping soon, as the roots do not become bitter and dry until after three years.

Moundng up cassava for egrowth.  Source - stock-photo-start-cultivation-cassava-or-manioc-plant-field-at-thailand-148299962

Moundng up cassava for egrowth. Source – stock-photo-start-cultivation-cassava-or-manioc-plant-field-at-thailand-148299962

When a woman takes up the roots, she thrusts a piece or two of the upper stalks into the hole she has made, draws back the soil, and a new crop is thereby begun. The plant grows to a height of six feet, and every part of it is useful: the leaves may be cooked as a vegetable. The roots are from three to four inches in diameter, and from twelve to eighteen inches long.

Farmer carefully packing harvested cassava tubers for transportation to the market in Bungu, Tanzania. Cassava is a staple food for food security. Photo by Kanju/IITA. (file name: CA_PR_101).

Farmer carefully packing harvested cassava tubers for transportation to the market in Bungu, Tanzania. Cassava is a staple food for food security. Photo by Kanju/IITA. (file name: CA_PR_101).

There are two varieties of the manioc or cassava—one sweet and wholesome, the other bitter and containing poison, but much more speedy in its growth than the former. This last property causes its perpetuation. When we reached the village of Kapende, on the banks of the rivulet Lonaje, we were presented with so much of the poisonous kind that we were obliged to leave it.

To get rid of the poison, the people place it four days in a pool of water. It then becomes partially decomposed, and is taken out, stripped of its skin, and exposed to the sun. When dried, it is easily pounded into a fine white meal, closely resembling starch, which has either a little of the peculiar taste arising from decomposition, or no more flavor than starch. When intended to be used as food, this meal is stirred into boiling water: they put in as much as can be moistened, one man holding the vessel and the other stirring the porridge with all his might. This is the common mess of the country.

Though hungry, we could just manage to swallow it with the aid of a little honey, which I shared with my men as long as it lasted. It is very unsavory (Scottice: wersh); and no matter how much one may eat, two hours afterward he is as hungry as ever. When less meal is employed, the mess is exactly like a basin of starch in the hands of a laundress; and if the starch were made from diseased potatoes, some idea might be formed of the Balonda porridge, which hunger alone forced us to eat. Santuru forbade his nobles to eat it, as it caused coughing and expectoration.

Source – Livingston – Missionary travels and researches in south africa

Cassava here in Burundi is commonly eaten as a snack in times of work or leisure,  often being sold on the street – cleaned and immersed in a bucket or pan of water.

The cassava talked about by Livingston is the bitter variety that requires more processing; having never tasted the bitter type, I cannot comment on his quite negative comments regarding the crop.  However, seldom is he negative about local foods and perhaps his writing took place during one of his debilitating illnesses.

Posted in Africa-General, Crop harvests, Cuisine, David Livingstone | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

Penmeru: Director of the Dining Pavilion – 2

Penmeru ‘Director of the Dinning Hall.’  was interred in a curious mastaba – curious, in part because of the multiple pseudo-groups of Penmeru that were contained therein.  The dig that resulted in the discovery of these statues within the mastaba of Penmeru was led by George Reisner  and his team in 1912, on behalf of the The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston :

A psuedo-group statue of PENMERU. Source - Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

A psuedo-group statue of PENMERU. Source – Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

A Belgian Egyptologist in the 1920s coined the term “pseudo-group” to describe such sculptures in which the same person was depicted two or more times. Different interpretations have been advanced since then to explain the meaning of pseudo-group statues.

Do they reflect the dual nature of Upper and Lower Egypt? Are they representations of a man and his ka? Do they show the same man at different stages of his life?

It is clear that by Dynasty 5, ever-increasing numbers of statues were included in tombs. (One tomb owner had up to fifty representations of himself.) Pseudo-group sculptures may reflect that trend.

Penmeru’s tomb contained three pseudo-group statues, bringing the total of his depictions to seven. The present example is the only one in which additional family members are shown. The figures are placed inside a frame that mimics the architecture of a door. It is speckled in imitation of granite, a costlier stone than the limestone from which it is actually made. was carved into limestone in Gaza around 2465 BC.

Source – Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

The discovery of the pseudo-groups in  Penmeru’s mastaba is described in George Reisner’s log book; relevant pages of his log book are given below together with photos –

Giza west cemetary plan.  Source  -

Giza west cemetery plan, showing location of G2197, Penmeru’s mastaba. Source – Manuelian  

Manuelian

Location of PENMERU'S tomb, Giza West Cenetary.  Source - Manuwellan

Location of PENMERU’S tomb, Giza West Cenetary. Source – Manuelian

Manuelian

Wednesday, April 10, 1912 (continued)
[G 2196]
Diary Transcription:
mastaba (G 2197).
Ordered this cleared. At sunset came on the roof of a chamber apparently a serdab in the eastern part of G 2197. Filled with sand from hole in east wall.

The mastaba of PENMERU, showing corner of serdab.  Source -

The mastaba of PENMERU, showing corner of serdab. Reisner is in upper left of photo. Source –Manuelian

Thursday, April 11, 1912
The night was very bad on account of a fierce warm south wind. I slept none at all between one and four and finally got to sleep inside the house.
Breakfast was late and my head felt heavy when a boy came up to say that the roof found last night was clear and I was wanted at once. I said in a quarter of an hour and set to work to clear off morning mail, orders, etc. Before I had finished a second messenger arrived to say the chamber contained six large figures (statues). I hurried down and found a serdab with broken roof filled with sand. The sand had been cleared from the heads of six figures which belonged to two triads [MFA 12.1484, MFA 12.1504]

leads of two pseudo-groups of PENMERU.  Source -

leads of two pseudo-groups of PENMERU. Source – Manuelian

Diary Transcription: microfilm: begin page 93
Thursday, April 11, 1912 (continued)
[G 2197 (continued)]
[MFA 12.1484 (continued)]
with the figures in the niche and an inscription on top and sides (name [GLYPHS] Penmeru).

The northern triad [MFA 12.1504] is one piece but the figures are unattached behind. The head of the figure six is gone.
Cleared the roof and photographed it. About 5 p.m. the plates were reported good and I had the slabs lifted up and turned over to the west. About 5:45 the sand was out of the chamber but the head of No. 6 was not found. The sand was put in a place by itself for sifting. On the north in front of fig. 6 was a small pair statuette of two men [JE 43753], also of painted limestone.

The niche triad [MFA 12.1484] has two small figures one
[Seshemnefer] between Nos. 1 [Penmeru] and 2 [Penmeru] and one [Neferseshemes] between Nos. 2 [Penmeru] and 3 [Meretites].

Penmeru's son  Source -

Penmeru’s son Source – MFA

Daughter of Penmeru.  Source -

Daughter of Penmeru. Source – MFA

The niche triad was intended for the niche of an offering chamber. The other triad [MFA 12.1504] seems also to have been intended to be built into a wall.

In other words we seem to have here the traces of an ancient family catastrophe. A great tomb was planned with beautifully inscribed walls and statue filled niches. The plan was never carried out and the statue filled niches were used to fill the serdab. The offering chamber itself is smaller than the serdab. On the south side of the entrance to the offering microfilm: end page 93

Diary Transcription: microfilm: begin page 94
Thursday, April 11, 1912 (continued)
[G 2197 (continued)]
chamber is an unusual inscription part of an ancient decree or contract [GLYPHS]
endowing the foundation by which Penmeru,apparently a descendant of Neferhotep
[Neferhetep], claimed the funerary priesthood of Seshemnefer [Seshemnefer].
Seshemnefer is the name of the owner of mastaba G 2200 [= G 5080] and of the original of the granite head.

Friday, April 12, 1912
All hands clearing G 2196, G 2197 and to the north and east. The serdab was photographed.
microfilm: end page 94
End of Diary Transcription

Diary Transcription: microfilm: begin page 95                Friday, April 12, 1912 (continued)

The chamber of G 2196 was cleared and a burial pit was found in the north west corner. This had been plundered and the chamber was open.

The following part is by Mr. Fisher:                      Saturday, April 13, 1912

Dr. Reisner left for Girga at 6 p.m. In the morning the two triads [MFA 12.1484, MFA 12.1504] in the serdab of G 2197 were photographed in situ and then the wall behind them, i.e. west, was taken down, as in no other way could they have been moved.

In the afternoon the statues were removed to the house without mishap, although the two pieces were of great weight and awkward size. Heavy wooden stretchers were placed behind them and each triad in turn was inclined backward upon it, and then lifted out of the serdab upon it and carried to house.

Three pseudo-statues were found.  Source -

Three pseudo-statues were found. Source –Mnuelian

Sunday, April 14, 1912
The force left at Pyramid site has been rearranged in five gangs which were placed by lot in the streets between the mastabas in Schiaparelli’s concession, where work had already begun at start of season. To facilitate work I laid out a double line of track with switches, with a third single line to street further west. Also ordered two new switches from Koppel.

Monday, April 15, 1912
Several of the foremen were kept busy laying new track so that work could go ahead early Tuesday morning.
Mrs. Firth is to start work drawing the wall paintings in the “little statue chamber” [G 2184] and I procured for her some materials.
microfilm: end page 95
End of Diary Transcription

Three pseudo-groups of Penmeru in

Three pseudo-groups of Penmeru Source – Manuelian

Throughout Egyptian civilization, artists developed new types of statuary to address the constantly changing needs of tomb and temple. Some types found wholesale acceptance and entered the general repertoire; others flourished briefly but were subsequently abandoned. The latter is the case with the statue type shown here; it is known only from Dynasties 5 and 6.

Three adults and two children emerge from inside a rectangular frame. The two on the viewer’s left are clearly male and differ from each other only in their garments. They do not interact in any way. The rest of the figures form a unit, apparently a family group. A woman on the viewer’s right, slightly shorter than the two men, rests her hand on the shoulder of the man in the center, while two diminutive children, a boy on the left and girl on the right, touch his leg. One would expect the figure on the far left to be unrelated to the others.

The inscription, however, tells a different story…

Source – Pseudo-group statue of Penmeru

One of the pseudo-groups of Penmeru. Source -

 Wednesday, April 24, 1912
Spent the day in the photography of the triads [from G 2197] [MFA 12.1484, MFA 12.1504] and in getting them under cover in the store room. The false door triad is the heavier. The door is only 80 cm wide. A track of wooden beams was laid … from the triad to the inner corner of the store room. A wooden platform was made the length of the triad and just wide enough to pass through the door.

Largest pseudo-statue is removed.  Source-

Largest pseudo-statue is removed. Source – Boston Museum of Fine Arts

With great difficulty the triad was got on its side edge on the platform, the iron rollers were slipped under the platform and the platform with triad was rolled carefully into the room. The platform was supported on stones, the rollers and beams were withdrawn and the triad was leaned against the wall, face out.

The statue triad was moved in a similar manner but standing upright on its base.

Second Pseudo-statue.  Source -

Second Pseudo-statue. Source – Manuelian

One of the pseudo-groups of Penmeru.

Inscriptions on the large triad – 

Top: A gift which the king gives to Anubis foremost of the divine booth, one well provided before his lord who performs what his lord desires Pen-Meru
Drum: the royal acquaintance director of the dining pavilion, one well provided before his lord who performs what his lord desires, Pen-Meru
Left column: the inspector of ka-priests, well provided before the god, possessor of a burial in the western desert, royal acquaintance, controller of the dining pavilion, Pen-Meru
Right Column: may an invocation offering come forth for him on the Wag festival (important annual Egyptian festival), the Thoth festival, the first of the month festival, the first half-month festival, the every day festival for the director of the dinning pavilion Pen-Meru and his wife, the meiter, Meretites.
Base: Pen-Meru; his son Seshem-Nofer; Pen-Meru; his  daughter Nefer-Seshem

Source – MFA, Boston

Director [or Controller] of the Dining Pavilion‘ – appears to be the major  administrative tile of Penmeru.  Another burial in which this title appears is that of Meresankh III – Grand-daughter of Kheops (aka. Khufu, about 2600-2555 BC):

Grand-daughter of Kheops (aka. Khufu, about 2600-2555 BC), wife of Khephren (aka. Khafre, about 2548-2522), the queen’s burial illustrates the importance of the royal sons and daughters in Egypt of the IVth Dynasty, a period at the peak of the Old Kingdom, which saw the craftsmanship of sculpture and painting reaching an extreme sophistication.

The cultural evolution of the state and society was greatly inspired by the ascent of the creative solar god Re, who, from that time, would occupy a major place in religion, ethics and the idea of the state in Pharaonic Egypt. The first appearance in the royal titles of name “son of Re” in reference to the sons of Kheops.

Source- Meresankh III , Giza

Osirusnet.net  meresankh3_ch_229 pavillion

Osirusnet.net meresankh3_ch_229 pavillion

Register 1 (top) not easily read – 

In total the register includes nine men, all facing Meresankh. At the left, two men advance towards her, holding poultry in their hands. The title of the first [man] is partially preserved: “[Director of] the dining pavilion, the funerary priest […]”.

The following five men, all musicians, although one is a chanter, squat on the ground with their right knee raised. The first two are playing the harp. The next two are flutists, the first of whom plays a long flute which he holds diagonally across him, held at the lower end with both hands and blowing into the other end. The one behind him plays a short flute. The last of the five is a chanter, who holds his left hand to his ear as he creates an accompanying song.

Finally, at the right-hand end of the register, and with no accompanying descriptive text, advances a man who holds a small calf in his arms, and a second man who carries a chest on his shoulder supported by his right hand. The head of the last man is partially destroyed.

Source – Osirisnet, Mastaba of Meresankh

To be continued –

Posted in Egypt-Ancient, Penmeru, Reisner | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Lemongrass

dianabuja:

I’ve planted quite a bit; very hardy, the cats like it – but not the mozzis.

Originally posted on Herbology Manchester:

by Jemma

Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus) is a dense, clump-forming grass that is found in tropical and subtropical grassland  throughout southeast Asia. It can reach a height of around 2 metres with leaves that are white on the top and green on the underside. Lemongrass flowers are red to reddish-brown in colour.

Lemongrass Image taken from http://www.gardensonline.com.au/GardenShed/PlantFinder/Show_2229.aspx Lemongrass
Image taken from http://www.gardensonline.com.au/GardenShed/PlantFinder/Show_2229.aspx

Culinary uses

Cymbopogon citratus is abundant in the Philippines and Indonesia, where it is known as tanglad or sereh. Lemongrass leaves are too tough for the body to digest, so they either need to be removed before eating or chopped vary finely. Both the stems and leaves feature in Asian, African and Latin American cuisine in teas, soups and curries. It has a subtle citrus flavour that complements poultry, fish, beef and seafood dishes in particular.

Materia Medica jar containing Cymbopogon citratus  Materia Medica jar containing Cymbopogon citratus

Medicinal uses

Lemongrass is sometimes used in folk medicine, particularly…

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Mungo Park, Explorer and Scientist in Sumatra and Africa

Following his trip to Sumatra [described below] Park traveled to west Africa under the tutelage of the Africa Association, which was keen to obtain more information on the river Niger and groups inhabiting the area.

Transactyions

Transactions of the Linnean Society, Vol.3, in which Park describes his field trip in Sumatra and description of new fish.  Source – The Linnean Society, Vol.3 –

Park's first scientific trip was to Sumatra Source -

Park’s first scientific trip was to Sumatra where he described and drew pictures of eight new fish.  Source – The Linnean Society, Vol.3

First page of Park's scientific articel

First page of Park’s scientific article, The Linnean Society vol. 3

Park’s love of travel had no doubt been stimulated by his voyage to Sumatra; thereafter, Sir Joseph Banks assisted in facilitating his expedition to west Africa supported by the Africa Association.  In this endeavor, Park sought to scientifically detail local activities :

 In researches of this kind, and in observing the manners and customs of the natives, in a country so little known to the nations of Europe, and furnished with so many striking and uncommon objects of nature, my time [recovering from sickness] passed not unpleasantly, and I began to flatter myself that I had escaped the fever, or seasoning, to which Europeans, on their first arrival in hot climates, are generally subject.

My recovery was very slow, but I embraced every short interval of convalescence to walk out, and make myself acquainted with the productions of the country.

… The grains which are chiefly cultivated are—Indian corn (zea mays); two kinds of holcus spicatus, called by the natives soono and sanio; holcus niger, and holcus bicolor, the former of which they have named bassi woolima, and the latter bassiqui.  These, together with rice, are raised in considerable quantities; besides which, the inhabitants in the vicinity of the towns and villages have gardens which produce onions, calavances, yams, cassavi, ground nuts, pompions, gourds, water-melons, and some other esculent plants.

I observed likewise, near the towns, small patches of cotton and indigo.  The former of these articles supplies them with clothing, and with the latter they dye their cloth of an excellent blue colour, in a manner that will hereafter be described.

In preparing their corn for food, the natives use a large wooden mortar called a paloon, in which they bruise the seed until it parts with the outer covering, or husk, which is then separated from the clean corn by exposing it to the wind, nearly in the same manner as wheat is cleared from the chaff in England.

The corn thus freed from the husk is returned to the mortar and beaten into meal, which is dressed variously in different countries; but the most common preparation of it among the nations of the Gambia is a sort of pudding which they call kouskous.

It is made by first moistening the flour with water, and then stirring and shaking it about in a large calabash, or gourd, till it adheres together in small granules resembling sago.  It is then put into an earthen pot, whose bottom is perforated with a number of small holes; and this pot being placed upon another, the two vessels are luted together either with a paste of meal and water, or with cows’ dung, and placed upon the fire.

In the lower vessel is commonly some animal food and water, the steam or vapour of which ascends through the perforations in the bottom of the upper vessel, and softens and the kouskous, which is very much esteemed throughout all the countries that I visited.  I am informed that the same manner of preparing flour is very generally used on the Barbary coast, and that the dish so prepared is there called by the same name.  It is therefore probable that the negroes borrowed the practice from the Moors.

Their domestic animals are nearly the same as in Europe.  Swine are found in the woods, but their flesh is not esteemed.  Probably the marked abhorrence in which this animal is held by the votaries of Mohammed has spread itself among the pagans.  Poultry of all kinds, the turkey excepted, is everywhere to be had.  The guinea-fowl and red partridge abound in the fields, and the woods furnish a small species of antelope, of which the venison is highly and deservedly prized.

On the 23rd we departed from Jillifrey, and proceeded to Vintain, a town situated about two miles up a creek on the southern side of the river. This place is much resorted to by Europeans on account of the great quantities of beeswax which are brought hither for sale; the wax is collected in the woods by the Feloops, a wild and unsociable race of people:

Mitchell-An accompaniment to Mitchell's map of the world on Mercator's projection ...

Mitchell-An accompaniment to Mitchell’s map of the world on Mercator’s projection …

Their country, which is of considerable extent, abounds in rice; and the natives supply the traders, both on the Gambia and Cassamansa rivers, with that article, and also with goats and poultry, on very reasonable terms. The honey which they collect is chiefly used by themselves in making a strong intoxicating liquor, much the same as the mead which is produced from honey in Great Britain.

Rice Farmers,Niger River Near Niamey search.library.wisc.edu

Rice Farmers,Niger River Near Niamey search.library.wisc.edu

In their traffic with Europeans, the Feloops generally employ a factor or agent of the Mandingo nation, who speaks a little English, and is acquainted with the trade of the river. This broker makes the bargain; and, with the connivance of the European, receives a certain part only of the payment, which he gives to his employer as the whole; the remainder (which is very truly called the cheating money) he receives when the Feloop is gone, and appropriates to himself as a reward for his trouble.

The language of the Feloops is appropriate and peculiar; and as their trade is chiefly conducted, as hath been observed, by Mandingoes, the Europeans have no inducement to learn it.

Source- Park, Travels in the Interior of Africa, vol.1 of 2. 1795, first publishing.

On an assessment of local people Park stated that:

Whatever difference there is between the negro and European, in the conformation of the nose, and the colour of the skin, there is none in the genuine sympathies and characteristic feelings of our common nature.

As for slaves, he comments:

They were all very inquisitive, but they viewed me at first with looks of horror, and repeatedly asked if my countrymen were cannibals. They were very desirous to know what became of the slaves after they had crossed the salt water. I told them that they were employed in cultivating the land; but they would not believe me …

A deeply-rooted idea that the whites purchase negroes for the purpose of devouring them, or of selling them to others that they may be devoured hereafter, naturally makes the slaves contemplate a journey towards the coast with great terror, insomuch that the slatees are forced to keep them constantly in irons, and watch them very closely, to prevent their escape…

Source – Wiki-Mungo Park [explorer]

However, we will see in a later entrée how Park deviated from attempts to retain an objective view in describing local people and groups, and why.

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