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Photograph books chronicling the ‘flowered men’ of Saudi’s Asir to be republished

Books by a French ethnographer and photographer chronicling the culture of Saudi Arabia’s southwestern Asir region are being republished by the Kingdom’s Literature, Publishing and Translation Commission.

The five books by Thierry Mauger examine Asir communities with photographs taken between 1979 and 1991, and highlight some of their unique traditions.

His ‘Flowered Men and Green Slopes of Arabia,’ first published in 1988, is a notable example of how Mauger brought Asir culture to a wider audience, with its depictions of Asir men who wear flower wreaths for their supposed health benefits.

The five books being republished are: The Bedouins of Arabia (1987), Flowered Men and Green Slopes of Arabia (1988), Undiscovered Asir (1993), Impressions of Arabia (1996), and Rijal at the Stroke of a Brush (2020).

The announcement about the republishing was made at a book launch event held at the recently-developed creative district of JAX in Ad-Diriyah, on the outskirts of Riyadh.

“Mauger’s books contain valuable cultural information and rare images showing the heritage and traditions of the Kingdom’s southwestern region,” said Mohammed Alwan, chief executive of the Literature, Publishing and Translation Commission.

“Through their republication, we hope to reintroduce the unique identity of the Asir region as part of the diversity of culture and heritage in the Kingdom.”

Mauger lived in Saudi Arabia for 12 years during which time he captured more than 10,000 photographs that have been published in 20 different books about the Kingdom.

The republication is part of the commission’s aims to preserve Saudi Arabia’s heritage and traditions, highlighting the efforts of international writers who have documented Saudi culture, according to a statement from the commission.

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