The Tuareg are a seminomadic, pastoralist people inhabiting the northern region of Africa. They are grouped into independent federations and live in southern Algeria, southwestern Libya, Mali, and Niger, Burkina Faso and Nigeria.
Tuareg society is stratified and includes a noble class, tributary groups, and marginal classes made up of religious leaders and artists/smiths called inadan. They speak Tamasheq, a language related to other North African nomadic peoples and they read and write using a script called Tifinar.
They are sometimes referred to as ‘the people of the veil’ or ‘the blue people of the Sahara’ in reference to the indigo turbans worn by men, which stain their skin and define their identity.
Making up approximately 1.5 million, althouth the Tuareg are minorities in the countries that they presently inhabit, their cultural unity is far-reaching.
In Tuareg culture, there is a great appreciation of visual and aural arts. There is a large body of music and poetry that is of central importance during courtship, rites of passage, and secular festivals.
Silver jewelry, delicately decorated spoons and ladles and carved camel saddle and dyed and embroidered leatherwork, are all specialties of Tuareg smiths, who formerly manufactured these products solely for their noble patrons.
All of this and much more became the inspiration to our TUAREG Armchair.