Nomadic People and Tent Construction

I feel as though tent dwellings are some of the oldest living spaces in human history. It would be a good project to find out more about nomadic peoples and tent dwelling. Here in Saudi, the signature black rectangular tents are a bit different than the cone-shaped tents in other places. How does the surrounding land and climate affect the design of tents? What would be an interesting comparison to the Saudi Bedouin tents that are pitched in sand and extreme heat and dryness? Enter the Nenet reindeer people of Siberia, a nomadic people that frequently moves from place to place, tending their reindeer herds.

This is in contrast with desert living, as it has below freezing temperature some months, and snow. The interesting thing about this comparison however is that both peoples have herds of animals…camels/reindeer. They each live in extreme environments hot and dry/ cold and snowy, and each has miles of either sand or snow without many modern conveniences. Both have simple dwellings, a plain exterior, but patterned fabric inside with cooking areas. Check out this video I found on youtube by “Nomadic Architecture”. It’s fascinating to watch, and you get a sense of the togetherness the families have, as well as the isolation that comes with their type of lifestyle .

For comparison here is a link to an article that was written in 1966, about the “black tent” of Saudi Arabian Bedouins. It has a description of what the tents looked like, how they were constructed and how they functioned. Modern equivalents of the black tents, still made of animal hair, are used for weddings, weekend getaways, parties and get togethers. They usually have electric lights strung around the tent, which you can see from the highway while driving. Inside there is a firepit, cooking and coffee pots, etc., with beautiful carpets, cushions and even chairs and sofas. Here is the link to the article:

https://archive.aramcoworld.com/issue/196603/the.black.tent.htm

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