As the press label on the reverse confirms, this striking photograph was taken in Timbuktu in June 1984, to accompany Mort Rosenblum’s article in The Journal News on the tourist trade in Mali’s most famous city (fig. 1). The sitter is a Tuareg, a traditionally semi-nomadic Berber group who inhabit large areas of the Sahara and Sahel, and who were influential in spreading Islam from North Africa to the southern edge of the Sahara. Timbuktu was founded by Tuaregs in the early 12th century, and quickly became a major centre for the region, though was soon subsumed by the Mali and then the Songhai Empires.
Fig. 1, Mort Rosenblum’s 1984 article for The Journal News
The sitter in Duclos’ beautifully-cropped photograph wears a tagelmust: the most famous Tuareg symbol, the tagelmust is essentially a combined turban and veil which protects against inhalation of wind-borne sand, and is traditionally thought to ward-off evil spirits. The face is concealed, other than they eyes and the bridge of the nose. For someone at APN Illustrations, the tagelmust clearly had romantic associations, as the press label reads ‘a flash of smoldering eyes under yards of turban gauze remains one of the ways men communicate with women in Timbuktu, Mali’. Clearly they had taken no notice of Edward Said’s seminal book Orientalism, published a few years earlier in 1978! In the article itself, Rosenblum simply captioned the image with: ‘here a Timbuktu citizen glares out from under a turban’.
 M. Rosenblum, ‘Fabled city of Tmbuktu relies on tourist trade’ in The Journal News, 8 July 1984, p. 83.
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