RASWAN, Carl R. Black Tents of Arabia (My Life Among the Bedouins). Boston, Little, Brown and Company, 1935.
Large 8vo. Original patterned sand-coloured cloth, lettered in brown, illustrated dust-wrappers, pp. xiii, 159, , plates after photographs; wrapper a little damaged, else a very good copy; printed on thick off-white paper stock.
Scarce first edition of a major work discussing Arab horses and camels, among ethnographic observations. A minor incident had resulted in the author becoming a blood brother of Amir Fuaz, a member of the Ruala Bedouins, one of the largest Bedouin tribes. His experiences during numerous visits to the tribe in the years following the First World War are recounted in the present work. Inhabiting the region of northern Arabia, the Ruala prove to be fierce hosts, and Raswan records instances of skirmishes between marauding bands, alongside enjoyment of pursuits such as falconry. The majority of plates depict horses and camels, at work (including raids) and rest and being cared for.
Carl Reinhard Raswan (1893-1966), born Carl Reinhard Schmidt, was the scholar of Arabian bloodlines, he also published the Raswan Index, an extensive compilation of Arabian horse pedigrees and strain information. He advocated tolerance and understanding of Bedouin ways of life and culture in Arabia. Raswan's life in Arabia and the US is definitely worth a full-length biography. Raswan started travelling in the Middle East in 1911, was drafted into the German army in 1914, fought at Gallipoli and in Mesopotamia. After the war he continued travelling among Bedouins of the Arabian peninsula on camelback, and later with motor cars and was adopted as blood brother by an Arab tribe. He soon settled in the US, frequently returning to the Arabian peninsula to visit friends, research and export good breeding horses. He died in 1966 of silicosis, a late consequence of too many sandstorms endured.