Court musicians play kakaki horns announcing Sallah
A cavalier prepares his horse's livery
Dressed in ceremonial finery, horses and riders parade majestically,
projecting an image of heroic leadership. It is said by the Hausa, "When people see a horse
and rider, they will turn and look at him. They will see him and remember."
Royal cavaliers and there horses stand guard outside the palace.
Their regalia is reminiscent of earlier forms of protective covering
worn in battle by theirancestors
The ceremonial harnesses on the horses are lavishly decorated
with metallic tinsel, colorful embroidery, and leather applique.
They feature pairs of small silver or gold balls, containing medicinal
packets to ward off danger
Suspended from the reins are triangular leather pendants
reminiscent of magical amulets known as laya, used
to protect warriors against sword wounds
Passing the cheering crowds, horse men race towards the Emir to show their
They participate in a display known as Hawan Daushe, traditionally
staged on the esplanade in front of the palace following the Sallah
procession. An exhibition of equestrian skill and prowess, this event
is a reminder of the former brilliance of Katsina's cavalry. Consisting
of lighting-fast charges by the royal bodyguards and titled officials,
who rein their mounts to a sudden halt, The Hawan Daushe simulates
the tradional military maneuver of charging the enemy
After proceeding through the various wards of Katsina to
affirm his presence and renew contact with his followers,
the Emir returns to his palace.
Wearing a gold cloak over a white robe and turban that
signal religious piety, the Emir,proceeds behind members
of the aristocracy, and is surrounded by palace attendants in red turbans.
As the Emir enters his palace, his subjects race forward to salute him,
raising arms with a closed fist in a show of appreciation for their
Supreme head of the ruling dynasty, he holds the highest position of
traditional power for both Hausa and Fulani communities of the Katsina
CREDITS Photographs and text From
AFRICAN CEREMONIES volume 1
Authors Carol Beckwith and Angela Fisher
Publishers Harry N. Abrams, Incorporated
THE EMIR'S COURT
A PHOTOGRAPHIC OVERVIEW