Artist: Ludwig Deutsch
Title: The Nubian Dance 1886
Medium: Oil on Panel/huile sur panneau
Size: 16x14.25in. (40.6x36.3cm)
Deutsch shows a Zar dancer in front of a group of spectators presumably from Egypt. What is unusual in this painting is a table set with food in the middle of a street.Deutsch had a pearl table in his collection of props, which he has also painted in 'The Chess Game'. This indicates that this setting was probably recreated by the artist in his studio. Deutsch painted a larger version of the same subject in 1886.
In Islamic cultures the belief in jinns (demons) was a common occurrence. One of the ways to tame these jinns that could inhabit humans, was through ritualistic dances. Women in Islamic cultures would only perform this ritual in the privacy of their own homes. Men on the other hand had no such restrictions. In present day Cairo these dances are now performed for tourists and sometimes in public by men dressed in white.
Here is another great short documentary about the Zar Dance and it's meaning.