Ouled Naïl

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For other uses, see Ouled Naïl (disambiguation).
Ouled Naïl girls, 1904: photograph by Rudolf Lehnert

The Ouled Naïl are a confederation of Algerian tribes living in the Ouled Naïl Mountains.[1][2][3][4] The Ouled Naïl tribe also originated a style of music known as Bou Saâda music.[5] In belly dancing, the term refers to a style of dance originated by the Ouled Naïl people. They are noted for their belly dancing.[6][7]

Although they were regarded by earlier scholars as an Arab tribe, they are now considered to be a Berber tribe which has been strongly influenced by the Arabs.[8]

Western representations[edit]

An Ouled Nail woman from a French postcard, early 20th century

The French colonialist representations of Ouled Naïl portrayed them almost exclusively as dancers and prostitutes who accompany caravans, though none of their tribes seem to be specialised in the sex trade.[9] The exuberance of their ornaments and the strangeness of their costumes probably contributed to establish this reputation.[9]

Photographic production[edit]

Auguste Maure, an orientalist photographer that lived in Biskra was active from 1860 to 1907 and took many photographs of landscapes and cities of south Algeria (El Kantara, Sidi Okba, Chetma, Tilatou, Tolga, Touggourt). The members of the Ouled Nail tribe, Berber dancers wearing incomparable costumes and covered by jewels, are often represented on Maure photographs very appreciated by the tourists.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Images of the Ouled Nail". Beledy.net. Retrieved 2012-12-28. 
  2. ^ "Algerian Nailates: The Ouled Nail", by Halima, January 15, 2005[dead link]
  3. ^ A documentary about the Ouled Nail of Algeria[dead link]
  4. ^ Photo gallery with Ouled Nail[dead link]
  5. ^ "Naili music of the Ouled Nail"[dead link]
  6. ^ "Ouled Nail". Belly-dance.org. Retrieved 2012-12-28. 
  7. ^ ""The Ouled Nail of Algeria", by Jasmin Jahal, June 1999". Jasminjahal.com. Retrieved 2012-12-28. 
  8. ^ Barkahoum Ferhati, "Ouled Naïl...", in: L'Algérie et la France, ed. Jeannine Verdès-Leroux, Robert Laffont 2009, p. 656, ISBN 978-2-221-10946-5
  9. ^ a b "Algérie 1830-1962 - le musée de l'Histoire vivante". Museehistoirevivante.com. Retrieved 2012-12-28. 

External links[edit]

Media related to Ouled Nails at Wikimedia Commons