Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Wonders of the Far Off Lands

Many creators of Cabinets of Curiosity added inspiring items from their travels often focusing on a single culture. My focus, just by chance has been the Massai People of Kenya. Even though I have never been there I have collected a few things from museums and gifts from my family. Their semi-nomadic lifestyle is full of challenges and hardship yet they retain many of their traditions. One ritual in particular I find disturbing is clitorectomy (female circumcision) which I read about in the early days of the feminist movement but I don't think they performe that in todays tribes. It is this along with other stark differences from my culture that I find both curious and fascinating.

My first purchase was a Maasai milk gourd from the San Diego Zoo store in the early 70’s. Traditionally, the Maasai diet consisted of meat, milk, and blood from cattle. Now days the mixing of cattle blood, obtained by nicking the juglar vein, and milk is done to prepare a ritual drink and therefore not as common as in the past.

PIctured above is a Maasai cow bell that was given to me by my brother.

1 comment:

Ellen Rathbone said...

Female circumcision is still done - often in archaic conditions using rusty razor blades and no anesthesia. I've heard reports/stories about it on NPR. Horrific.