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The Dana Tribe

Dana Baharav

Curator: Tula Amir, Architect


The Dana tribe is part of rare and unique group of cultures in the Mediterranean basin, which combines great talent the practice of art in various media, alongside an elaborate system of ceremonial symbolism.

The tribe’s rituals are performed by on a daily basis, they are detailed and complex.


As in other cultures, the ceremonies follow the cycle of life:  - pregnancy, birth, maturity, aging, and death. Actual participation in the ceremonies is forbidden to the outside observer. His only possibility to participate is by observing the objects, however thus he will lack the rhythm and music elements that are part of the ritual. 


Field work was held with the Dana Tribe over 30 years, carefully observing and assessing the culture. The work included: data collection (family data, family structure, and making acquaintances with friends), physically visiting areas of operation of the tribe, partial participation in various ceremonies, and comparative research.


The Dana tribe is rich in manufacturing objects in a wide range of materials- plastic, polyester, stones, wood. Various types of metal are used, such as iron, bronze and lead. Plaster, glass, ceramics, clay, concrete. Soft materials are used such as fabrics, wool and threads, and materials in their natural state - twigs, bones and leaves.

The tribe is multi-talented, mastering crafts and techniques such as: welding and knitting, forging and embroidery. Other processes include bending metal and carving stone , creating pottery, glass blowing and engraving.


The objects are presented by subjects: The physical cycle - life, fertility, health, wealth. The Spiritual cycle- faith, protection, wisdom, happiness, family. Each object is ritual and magical, but the laws of creation are unlimited and not always clear. They are characterized by prominence and emphasis rather than by truthful to reality. The purpose of the ceremonies is to preserve theTribe’s order, and strengthen its power. The ceremonies aim to drive away the evil, embrace the good.


The Tribe’s concepts are abstract, the materials of life - hopes and wishes, good wishes for the future and attempts to improve it. These objets are used daily and are loaded with tradition and ritual elements. The useful daily objects contain religious ideas, the artifacts contain practical and useful ideas, all can be defined as ritual and magical objects.

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