Jado's Soulaiman Albarouni Museum
Albarouni Museum in Jado is different from most of the other
museums in Libya. Likewise Ghadames museum, it displays the heritage of the Berber
people, and as such it was rightly listed by the Unesco
on the Libyan tourist map. It embodies a unique mix of Berber architecture and
traditional everyday objects and artifacts; most of which have been in use since
prehistoric times, and many of which appear to slowly disappear whence they came.
The Berbers of Libya had endured so much persecution from Libya's
installed regimes, as much as they still do today. The Berbers hope the
newly-installed rulers can reverse the trend and allow the Berber unrestricted
freedom to run their own destiny. As a result of the recent awareness of the
true value of Libyan culture, history and heritage, many societies began reviving
their inherited traditions and collecting their oral lore for publishing in
the Internet. This was hoped to slow down the rate of disappearance as well
as to teach the newer generations the traditions of the past ancestors. For
example, during Kabaw's festival period, all the residents of Kabaw agree to
wear traditional clothes and leave their jeans and baseball caps at home -
for that day at least! They have also managed to run training sessions for
girls to learn the arts of weaving Berber carpets and other textiles. Another
good example for this cultural awareness and revival is the Tuareg Imzad Project
(The Imzad Hearers), which provides training for young girls to continue playing
their mothers played since immemorial time.
Usually museums are funded
and most often built by the state or private sponsors. But Albarouni Museum
was created and built by the young people of Jado's al-Barouni Club, to preserve
and represent their heritage. They had no helping hand from
the previous government nor any funds went their way.
The visitor will be rewarded with genuine items and models of traditional crafts
and industries as well as ancient archaeological stone artifacts, some of which
date from the Roman period. The Romans must have stopped at various locations
in the Nafousa Mountain in their way to meet the Berber Garamantes of the Sahara,
south of Nafousa. Most modern desert and mountain roads followed
ancient tracks used by people, chariots and caravans, and the road from
Tripoli to Nafousa and Ghadames was one of them.
As soon as you enter the museum, you will see
the welcoming sign, then the oil press.
The sign reads:
math'ef almujahid Soulaiman Albarouni bi-Jado,
the museum of (the-freedom-fighter) Soulaiman Albarouni in Jado.
The Western Mountain's Albarouni, together with Omar Almokhtar of the Green Mountain,
were the main two heroes and leaders of Libya's struggle for independence during
the Italian occupation.
Andour ('oil press')
This is a photo of a stone oil press, similar
to those mentioned in the Ghirza records,
and in other parts of the mountain. The stone is kept in motion by an animal,
usually a cow. They are used to extract oil out of local olives. The long rod
going through the big stone is called Ougem, while the remaining
crushed olive stones and fiber is known as Taa'eqqeet.
After the olives were crushed into a rough mixture and placed
on those circular straw mats (the model-worker is holding in the photo), they
were stacked one on top of the other, as you can see, and the oil was squeezed
out by means of pressing, as shown in the next photo.
Iner or Ineer (centre): a large
form of an oil lamp.
Usual clay oil lamp.
Hands and feet are an integral part of Berber iconography and mythology.
Why not; the feet take you to all walks of life, and the hands are responsible
for most, but not all, of what you do.
The two things you really need to watch out for in life: where you go and what
A farming scene: a farmer ploughing the earth with the aid
of a camel.
The drawing symbolises the Goddess Tannit, written in Tifinagh.
The label behind the fork reads: zzazel - the name of the tool
Berber Tasirt ('Quern')
The stone mill or the quern still is an important part of
the Berber kitchen. Its universal Berber name is tasirt, clearly
labeled in both Tifinagh and Arabic. Leather skins are also still in use, and
provide comfortable and warm seats; especially the fluffy sheep skins. But also
they can be used as mats upside down.
Clay jars, pots and mortar.
Modern compositions employing ancient elements.
Wooden writing tablets.
The spherical straw covers are used as food covers. They are
called andu (plural: inda), woven of palm leaves,
and decorated with patterns spiraling towards the point at the raised centre.
The straw allows the steam rising form the hot food to pass through, rather than
condense back onto the food. Similarly, the clay jars and pots used traditionally
to store drinking water do a good job of cooling the water during hot summer
days to a chilling point, because the surface of the clay allows the water to
breathe through the microscopic cavities.