Middle East/North African Lit discussion

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requests and questions > Anyone read a lot of pre islamic literature/poetry>

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message 1: by Braverider (new)

Braverider | 9 comments I was wondering, has anyone had these? I would like to ask some questions?


message 2: by Melanie, Marhaba Language Expertise (new)

Melanie (magidow) | 645 comments Mod
Sure, what are your questions?


message 3: by Braverider (new)

Braverider | 9 comments What did the pre islamic poets find attractive in the complexion of women? I've heard it was a white/fair complexion but I've read this as well:

الوجه الأبيض النقي الصافي المائل إلى السمرة أو الحمرة.
أمّا الوجه: فقد مال العرب في الجاهليّة إلى الوجه الصافي النقيّ في بياض مائل إلى السمرة ، وعبّروا عن ذلك كلّه بكلمة "أدماء" والأدمة تعني السمرة، والأديم هو ظاهر الارض .
قال زهير:
فأمّا ما فويق العقد منها ........... فمن أدماء مرتعها الكلاء
وأمّا المقلتان فمن مهاة ............ وللدرّ الملاحة والصفاء
(المها: بقر الوحش – الدرّ: اللؤلؤ)
وقال الأعشى:
ظبية من ظباء وجرة أدماء ........ تسف الكباث تحت الهدال
(وجرة: اسم مكان- أدماء: سمراء- سفّ الدواء: تناوله- الكباث: ثمر شجر الأرك- الهدال: نبات طفيلي يعلق بالأشجار)
كما أن العرب أحبّوا اللون الذي يخالط بياضه شيء من الصفرة فيخرج لون كلون القمر أو الدرّ يسمى "أزهر" .
وقد مدح امؤ القيس هذا اللون في معلقته :
كبكر المقاناة البياض بصفرة ............ غذاها نمير الماء غير المحلّل
(البكر: الفذّ الذي لم يسبق بمثله- المقاناة: الخلط- النمير: الصافي- المحلل: الماء الذي ينزل بقربه أقوام كثيرون فيصبح عكراً)

-White clear clean face that is leaning towards sumrah (a darker color) or humrah (reddish color)

I've read poetry comparing women to being white like the moon or statues, or having cheeks as white as paper or something, so I'm not sure, did they like a light brown skin or more whitish one?


message 4: by Melanie, Marhaba Language Expertise (new)

Melanie (magidow) | 645 comments Mod
Thanks for your question. You may be able to find evidence of more than one preference in pre-Islamic literature, as you see here. (Out of curiosity, what is your source for the text that you included?) However, the sources are complicated by the sociohistorical context since pre-Islamic literature was mediated by later times. So there is always a question of whose preferences are being represented in a given text--those of the seventh century (CE) or those of later centuries? If you are interested in the diversity of complexions in Arabic literature generally, then you may enjoy the epic of Antar, the great hero who happened to be black or dark-complexioned عنتر بن شداد.


message 5: by Braverider (new)

Braverider | 9 comments Source was found from here:

http://www.saaid.net/daeyat/saharlabb...


message 6: by Braverider (new)

Braverider | 9 comments I am more interested in arabian beauty standards actually


message 7: by Braverider (new)

Braverider | 9 comments If it helps,has anyone read the canon of female beauty among the arabs?


message 8: by Braverider (new)

Braverider | 9 comments Yes, i read that, but I know white meant differently to the arabs.


message 9: by Braverider (new)

Braverider | 9 comments Well, when I do research, I tend to find sources that say that the arabs liked a complexion of white leaning to red or I guess tan, but I've read poems where women are called white like the moon or statues and in Mr.Akande's work, he cites a white complexion being stated as the epitome of beauty among arabs as well and I know the word hawaraa was used and it means very fair skin with very dark eyes, so I am a little confused of what their beauty standards were.


message 10: by Jalilah (new)

Jalilah | 790 comments Because he's asking about pre-Islamic poetry I take it Braveriders means the people of the Arabian peninsula. Is this correct?
I have not read any pre-Islamic poetry, so I can't comment.


message 11: by Melanie, Marhaba Language Expertise (new)

Melanie (magidow) | 645 comments Mod
Braverider wrote: "Well, when I do research, I tend to find sources that say that the arabs liked a complexion of white leaning to red or I guess tan, but I've read poems where women are called white like the moon or..."

One could make multiple arguments to explain these examples. You could take these mentions of 'white' as literal, but they are more likely figurative. 'White', 'shining', and 'like the moon' are symbols of beauty that have been used for both males and females, for both inner and outer beauty. However, they are certainly not limited to pre-Islamic literature. In fact, I do not think there are enough sources that are clearly pre-Islamic in order to make any argument effectively about beauty standards in pre-Islamic Arabia.


message 12: by Braverider (last edited Oct 24, 2016 12:13PM) (new)

Braverider | 9 comments Here is what I found:

On white leaning to tan: http://www.saaid.net/daeyat/saharlabb...

But here, it shows the word hawraa(houri) used, which I said before, means very white with very dark eyes:

https://books.google.ca/books?id=MNWv...

And I think it refers to complexion as it says women white like the moon and uses statues as well:

https://books.google.ca/books?id=r5f8...


message 13: by Tamara (new)

Tamara Agha-Jaffar | 343 comments Came across this article about Enheduanna. I thought some of you might be interested in it.
http://lithub.com/why-has-no-one-ever...

I'd love to buy his book, Women’s Literature of Mesopotamia: An Anthology of the World’s First Female Authors, but it's frightfully expensive. I'll have to wait for an occasion and treat myself.


message 14: by Tamara (new)

Tamara Agha-Jaffar | 343 comments I asked goodreads to list the book I mentioned in my previous post, and they did. Here's the link in case any of you would like to check it out. It looks fascinating.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/3...


message 15: by Melanie, Marhaba Language Expertise (new)

Melanie (magidow) | 645 comments Mod
Cool! Thanks Tamara!


message 16: by Tamara (new)

Tamara Agha-Jaffar | 343 comments Melanie wrote: "Cool! Thanks Tamara!"

You're welcome!


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