A strange protector: Stuffed lizard from Algeria

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Who on earth is this little dude?!? With his stiff legs sticking out, he does not look too comfortable lying there, in our photographer’s studio, on his big, bloated belly, mouth wide open.

In fact, he has travelled a long way to get here: all the way from Algeria. Like him, the people who used to own him are seasoned travellers. They are the Tuareg; Berber semi-nomads, who inhabit the Sahara desert.

The stuffed lizard made its way to Denmark somewhere between 1951 and 1959, in the luggage of Johannes Nicolaisen, Professor of Anthropology at Copenhagen University. The photographs the book The Pastoral Tuareg, edited and co-written after his death by his wife, anthropologist Ida Nicolaisen, show the endless dusty plateaus and stark landscapes in which the Tuareg found their homes, camel after dusty camel, and people looking into the camera, faces half hidden by veils. His collection of objects from the Tuareg gives us a wonderful glimpse into Tuareg life in the 1950s. Here are wonderful camel saddles, decorated leather pouches for kohl, and skin bags made from whole goats. And this little fellow in the picture above.  Before his journey to Denmark, he would sit above the door of a Tuareg household to ward off scorpions.

//Sophie Seebach

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