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Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required. To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number. When I wake to find myself chained to a table, surrounded by men in white lab coats, I panic. It's nothing compared to how I feel when they dose me with something and toss me into a cage with a monster who walks upright like a man and looks human enough, except for the scales covering his body or the fangs denting his lower lip.
The painting depicts a naked boy standing on a small carpet in the center of a room with blue-tiled walls, facing away from the viewer, holding a python which coils around his waist and over his shoulder, while an older man sits to his right playing a fipple flute. The performance is watched by a motley group of armed men from a variety of Islamic tribes, with different clothes and weapons. Sarah Lees' catalogue essay for the painting examines the setting as a conflation of Ottoman Turkey and Egypt, and also explains the young snake charmer's nudity, not as an erotic display, but "to obviate charges of fraud" in his performance:. The Snake Charmer …brings together widely disparate, even incompatible, elements to create a scene that, as is the case with much of his oeuvre, the artist could not possibly have witnessed. Snake charming was not part of Ottoman culture, but it was practiced in ancient Egypt and continued to appear in that country during the nineteenth century.