The procession of the title is wonderfully arranged. Foremost is a dervish, someone who follows a Sufi Muslim tariqa or path. These mendicant ascetics are known for their poverty and austerity. The man’s expressive features portray his participating emotion. Behind him follow other members of the religious community, identified by the colour of their turbans: dark green for the Rifa’iya order, red for the Ahmadiya order, and white for the followers of `Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani. With staves in their hands they fan in an arc towards the figure in green, probably a Sufi shaykh and presumably a Sharif, a descendant of the Prophet. This central figure is positioned directly below the Mahmal, the focus of the festive occasion, and a central part in the annual departure and return of the pilgrimage caravan. More Procession of the Mahmal.
In all, he made eight trips to Algeria after 1879, especially to the south, around the oases of Biskra, El Kantara and Bou Saâda. In 1898, he visited Egypt and Palestine, producing many works depicting the lives of desert nomads.
He exhibited regularly at the Salon and with the Société des Peintres Orientalistes Français (of which he was one of the founding members), with major shows at the Exposition Universelle (1900) and the Exposition Coloniale de Marseille of 1906. More Eugène Alexis Girardet
Acknowledgement: Sotheby's, and others
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