Two men of the blacksmith/potter caste (Fur: “mir”) are preparing the furnace for the iron smelting process. Fur farmers generally use the same word “nonum” for furnace and granary. Both granary and furnace are metaphorically linked to two different aspects of womanhood; one with woman as mother (granary – it is the mother who is responsible for cultivating grain to feed her children), and the other with woman as sex partner (furnace – smelting activities are explicitly associated with sexual intercourse). The blacksmiths, however, use a special word for the furnace, namely “bood”, probably because it is a specialized term among these stigmatized craftsmen. Note the ferricrete sandstone in the foreground.
Toumra, Northern Darfur.
Photo: Randi Haaland, 1978