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Les lutteurs, oil on canvas / 150 x 120 cm – 59 x 47.2 in / 2008 – Sold

Like many other African tribes, the Nuba, who live in a remote and montainous region of the Sudan Republic, don’t have written history. They maintained theirs traditions during centuries, generations and they could be able to preserve their past in an incredible way. In Korongo and Mesakin people in particular, village’s life organizes itself around jousts and ritual fights, a custom that is disappering in oral tradition and constitutes a dramatization about a more warlike past.

Every boy physically able to such exercices spends time to learn the rules and the moves of this authentic art and to be progressively prepared to the big championships marking the peak of a wrestler’s career.

Wresling for Nuba people is as friendly as a meeting of two teams of junior high-school students. Each man exerts himself to triumph but only for the glory and to receive some twigs, an equivalent of Greek laurel wreaths. For the passionate crowd of spectators, these big village’s championships reflect the dexterity, pride and race continuity.

 


Photo : Les Royaumes Africains – Collections TIME-LIFE

Ritual makeup of wrestlers
Training of young Nubian wrestlers.

Nubie (Soudan)