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type: engraving
width in cm:9.0
height in cm: 9.0
artist: Georges Dascher (1851-1912)
publisher:
engraved by: Rougeron - Vignerot
When the French general Napoleon Bonaparte set sail for Egypt on May 19, 1798, not only soldiers were in his company. His plan was not only to colonize Egypt, but also reveal to Europe the hidden Orient. Artists and scientists, linguists, mathematicians and historians joined him to record Egypt's ancient ruins and inscriptions. In the course of their research Egyptology was born.Bonaparte decided to convert his army to conquer England, to an army to conquer the east. "All great things come from the East." he declared. In his private thoughts he even planned to rebuild the temple of Jerusalem.

The french writer Auriant stated in L'Égypte galante janvier-février 1779) that the awalim, professional high society entertainers in Egypt during the 1800's, fled Cairo before French entered the city. The learned women (as awalim is translated in english) didn't want any business with the invaders and were well respected. An almeh (plural awalim) was educated in music, poetry, song, dance, history, religion and politics. All of these things were considered interconnected and important knowledge for any real artist.The awalim left Cairo when Napoleon's invading army treated them as the "common" entertainers or ghawazee (aka invaders of the heart).
Professional dancers, ghawazee, were among the camp followers of the army, as was customary in those times. This was reported to Bonaparte, who suggested that the local authorities should take measures. As a consequence about 400 ghawazee were beheaded with their bodies cast into the Nile.
Previous to Napoleon's conquering trip, the french artist and explorer Louis Cassas had come with an amazing description of the country complete with bellydancers and pyramids. He observed the Ghawazee and Almeh of Egypt and was one of the first foreigners to draw the ghawazee dancers. Travelers' tales were
about the only source we have to form us an idea of how oriental dance was in the 18th and 19th century.

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