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Amayas the Magician, Ink and gouache.  The scan of the artwork together with the panel as it appears in the book. The border motif was also originally painted by hand in one section and was then stitched together digitally by the designer.

Amayas the Magician. Ink and gouache.
The scan of the artwork together with the panel as it appears in the book. The border motif was also originally painted by hand in one section and was then stitched together digitally by the designer. Illustration for Aladdin, Walker Books, 2011.

In the original Thousand and One Nights tale, The magician from the Maghreb who sent Aladdin to retrieve the lamp doesn’t seem to have been given a name. Entertaining ones have been used in retellings and pantomime performances, but I wanted to give him an earnest north African name. After a little research, I felt that ‘Amayas’ suited him best. I haven’t been able to locate my source again since, much to my chagrin, but in trying to track it down again as I’m writing this post, ‘Amaya’ was yielded as an Arabic female name meaning ‘night rain’.

His costume design has a basis in Tuareg and Berber clothing, with a liberal helping of Mongolian shamanistic elements. I imagined that he had probably supplemented his magic arts in central Asia during his travels along the Silk Road. His staff is topped off with half an addax skull.

More to come! Here is a reminder of last week’s post, in case you missed it.

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