Goat Herder


1)Look at the featured image.

Take a seat after propping it up against the table. Look and wonder.

2)If you know better than to waste money on a whim stop reading.

Ludwig Deutsch. Bit of a mouth full isn’t it? Why’d you decide to buy it? It’s not like you have the room to hang a painting. You really shouldn’t waste your money on this when your in such dire straits.

3)If you’d regret buying this painting stop reading.

You reach across and feel the frame. You should learn  more about it.

If you think you know who Ludwig Deutsch is stop lying to yourself. 4)If you know who orientalists are and the history of north Africa skip the next Paragraph.                                                   5)If you’d rather google it skip to entry 6.

To put it simply, orientalists studied the eastern world. They often held colonial and imperialist views, today we’d call them condescending racists. But they are not here today. They’re the only sources of information we have on many cultures [they are also often the reason they are the only source].

North Africa like Asia was almost always far richer than Europe and it was only in the late 17th century that it was truly surpassed by the Europeans. Carthage,Egypt,the Fatimid caliphate etc. all ruled North Africa and they were often the most powerful and wealthiest people around. This is to say nothing of Mali which was undeniably the richest place in the world for centuries. Climate change, raids by Italian states, conquests, shift towards nomadic life styles ended the period of power and splendor the North African states enjoyed. The Barbery pirates would still raid and collect tributes from European powers while the Beys and Deys under Ottoman rule bitterly resisted their irreversible decline. But Mediterranean trade was dead and world domination was off the table.

6)If you find that bit of history you just sad, keep reading. 

A google search tells you all about Ludwig Deutsch. Wikipedia only has 3 lines about. He isn’t a very famous artist. He was an Austrian Jew who died 6 years before world war 2. The painting suddenly seems a lot darker now.

7)If you think it was foolish of you not to learn about this before you bought the painting stop reading and go outside.

This is the only one of this paintings that isn’t stunningly realistic. You know that this is a deliberate stylistic choice. You lean closer to the painting. You can smell it. It is ancient and heavy. You lean closer, you almost believe that you can step in and speak to the girl. Maybe feels the fur on her companions.

8)If you’ve touched a goat before skip to entry 9.

You keep staring. The sun is setting and the light from the window fades. You don’t care. You wonder how the Egyptian sun would feel on your skin. You wonder if the wind was gentle and the heat tolerable. You see the greenery in the background and wonder if this really is Egypt.

9) If your done wondering about goats keep reading. 

You wonder if that’s a Graveyard she’s in. Why would she go to such a macabre place? You sit back, slipping further down your uncomfortable chair. No amount of contortion will make it better. If a cat eyed neighbor saw you, you would have probably have been asked if you were alright.

10) If you already know you won’t last that long stop reading.               11)If you still like the world you live in keep reading.

It must have been quite there in the grave yard. No one else was there clearly. Those goats would eat, bleat. nothing you can’t handle. Nothing you can’t deal with. It would be simpler. But you would be able to deal it, you’d never have to think in that world.

12) If you think it would be pleasant sitting next the graves keep reading.                                                                                                               13)If not go sit under the hot sun tomorrow while people remind you that you have obligations to fulfill.

In your now dark room, there isn’t much light save from the inescapable pollution from street lamps and urbanization. You try not to listen bu the city is never quite.

14)If you remember your dreams when you wake up and wish you could live in some of them keep reading.

You lean back. Your head is uncomfortable but nothing you do will change that. You eyes feels heavy and you want to continue your discourse with the girl.

15) If you wish your were a goat herd in a quite part of Egypt you can stop thinking now and look at the painting. If your lucky maybe you’ll dream about it.                                                                                                                    16)If you still like the place your in, look at the picture again and start over at entry 1.

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