4 / 2009

Ethiopia - Tigray / Tigrinya tribe - Dancing sandal - mid 20th C

The Tigrinya people live in the southern highlands of Eritrea and in the northern highlands of Ethiopia's Tigray province. The majority of the people are subsistence farmers. The highlands receive little rainfall and life is harsh. Farming methods are unchanged for thousands of years while camels, donkeys and sheep are everywhere. Life expectancy is 46 years. From the total of 6 million, about 5 million are members of the Ethiopian Coptic Orthodox faith, which is central to their way of life and a large part of their culture. Major celbrations are held around the chruch building where people gather from all surrounding villages to sing, dance and play games. Above sandal is worn during such occasion, carved from one piece wood with silver adorned leather upper straps.

Research and text by : W.A.H.M. Habraken-Oosterhout-Holland
Illustration by : Colin Ball - Waalwijk - Holland