The al-Naim and al-Murrah Bedouins are two different groups of nomadic peoples in modern Qatar. The al-Naim lived an almost stationary existence by the seacoast of northern Qatar, often moving by boat and engaging in pearl fishing. In complete contrast, the al-Murrah of South Qatar traversed the vast and sandy reaches of southem Arabia on camelback. This book is a product of The Carlsberg Foundation Nomad Research Project, which draws on the rich Middle Eastern and Central Asian ethnographic collections of the National Museum of Denmark, as well as on recent social and cultural anthropological studies of nomadic groups in Afghanistan, the Persian Gulf and North Africa. This volume incorporates fieldwork carried out amongst the Qatari Bedouins in 1959, just before their lives were radically altered by a rapid expansion of the oil industry. Its chief focus is on everyday life and adaptations to the natural and social environment as well as on these groups' material culture, especially the structure and function of the tent.
A richly illustrated catalogue of artifacts is supplemented by a unique collection of photographs which document the lives of both groups during winter and spring. A record of fast disappearing customs and folk arts, "Bedouins of Qatar" also offers a striking example of a fragile way of life whose traditions may soon be lost under the pressures of development.
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