The Mahmal Passing Through Cairo

illustrated by Richard Dalton  

37 x 52cm (page); 23 x 39.8cm (image)

This etching is from Antiquities and views in Greece and Egypt, with the manners and customs of the inhabitants, from drawings made on the spot (plate I). It is amongst the earliest drawings of Egyptian ethnographic an Englishman. The caption reads, ‘The shape & form of the Pavilion with the ornaments which adorn what is called the holy Camel when it passes along the Town of Cairo in the very extraordinary Annual Procession preparatory to the setting forward of the great Caravan in the Pilgrimage to Mecca & Medina. Under the Tent are packed the embroidered Coverings to adorn their Sanctuaries in those Cities; and all Mahometans endeavour to perform this most tedious & dangerous Journey, once in their lives, although great numbers perish in the dreadful deserts of Arabia; this religious Shew is prohibited to be seen by Christians, much more to make Sketches without a similar precaution made use of by our Company being shut up in a room from the morning early & under the protection of two Janizaries, & could only through narrow latticed windows make Observations & hasty Sketches. The ground of the Tent, embroidered in gold with Arabic Sentences from the Koran, the Vases on the Top & Corners are Gold or double gilt. The Spahies or Turkish horse are here represented.’