Chief Malem’s House

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Interior with men awaiting an audience while in a smaller room, an older man greets a visitor
The interior of the chief Malem's house.

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The Smithsonian Libraries, The Internet Archive

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Description

Interior view of a house showing the main reception area filled with men awaiting an audience while in a brightly lit smaller room at the back, an older man greets a visitor offering his respects. Such a ceremonial is described as follows by the author:

Following my guide, I entered a court-yard filled with people. On the opposite side was a square building having more pretensions to architectural design, than any I had seen. On each side of a low doorway, were placed a drawn dagger and a book. I entered, rather reluctantly, a large apartment dimly lighted and filled with people. It was divided by a wall, through which were three openings; that in the centre being an archway ornamented with a moulding. Through one of these I was led to a venerable man, who sat alone on a white bull’s hide, his elbow resting on a cushion. A single ray of light from a narrow window streamed full on his long snowy beard and white dress. All around was perfectly dark; at least to me, who had just left the light of the sun.

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