particular thanks to Margaret Dickinson Fleming) used by permission of
Michael Bowling (with added photos)
(Bint) Yamama with Negma
Names in 19th-century Egypt do not appear to have been
the hard-edged entities we would like them to be; Ali Pasha
Sherif himself first comes to our attention, buying horses at
the auction put on by the heirs of Abbas Pasha, as "Ali Bey."
Who would realize at first glance that "Ibn Yemameh al-Saghir"
on Ali Pasha's own 1889 sales list is the same horse as the
great Blunt sire MESAOUD?
only did the same horse (or person) appear under different names,
the same or very similar names could be used for different horses.
Different names may be spelled similarly, or the same name may
be Westernized differently; the potential for spelling differences
of transliterated Arabic names is almost infinite. The convention
used varies not only with the native language of the writer
but with the scholarly tradition to which s/he subscribed, and
with the brand of Arabic native to the speaker or writer being
transcribed (Susan K. Blair, personal communication).
Arabian mares appear to have suffered
from a particular lack of nomenclatural precision. The same
name might routinely be used for several generations of a dam
line, or for a set of full and half sisters, or indeed for mares
even more nebulously connected (cf Cadranell, "The
Banat Nura of Ali Pasha Sherif"). How many mares named
with some variation on "Yamama"—"Dove"— actually lived in Egypt
in the 1890s? There were at least two.
The Khedive Abbas Hilmi II was 17 years old and at school in
Vienna when he succeeded his father Khedive Tewfik as ruler
of Egypt in 1892. The story of Abbas Hilmi II and his relationship
to British colonial power is a sufficiently complex subject
to qualify in its own right as a historical specialty, but the
last Khedive also figures in Arabian breed history. On his return
to Egypt to take up the position of ruler of that country, he
began to breed Arabian horses, in the tradition of his great-grandfather
Abbas Pasha I. One of his first acquisitions, the Ali Pasha
Sherif mare YEMAMEH, had already produced the Blunt sire MESAOUD.
Wilfrid Blunt in his diary mentions that on 11 January, 1896
he "[t]ook Anne and Judith to Koubbah to see the Khedive.
He…showed us his stud. He has got together some nice mares,
but nothing quite first class, except two of Ali Pasha Sherif's,
one of which is our horse Mesaoud's dam, a very splendid mare,
with the finest head in the world. He has bred some promising
colts and altogether the thing is well done."
Wilfrid and Lady Anne Blunt also bought a mare named YEMAMA
in 1892. According to the original GSB registration for her
son IBN YEMAMA, she was "stated to be an Abeyah, a bay mare
brought from a desert tribe, through a Tiaha sheykh, to Mohammed
Thabit, Sheykh of the Sualha tribe, in the Sherkieh Province,
for Ali Bey Shahin, son of Shahin Pasha, and purchased from
Ali Bey Shahin." YEMAMA produced at Sheykh Obeyd from 1893
through 1904, taking time off for adventure in 1897—she served
as Wilfrid Blunt's mount on his eventful last desert journey.
YEMAMA's named offspring at Sheykh Obeyd were the grey 1893
mare YASHMAK by *SHAHWAN, and the 1902 and 1904 bay full siblings
IBN YEMAMA and BINT YEMAMA by FEYSUL. YEMAMA was given away
in 1906, aged 21; her only link to modern pedigrees is through
her grandson IBN YASHMAK, taken to England in 1904 and returned
to Egypt in 1920.
*Nasr 1918 AHC 889 (Rabdan El Azrak x Bint Yamama)
Negma at age 32 (Dahman x Bint Yamama)
Jasir 1925 (Mabrouk Manial x Negma)
*Aziza 1926 (Jamil x Negma)
Khafifan 1916 (Mabrouk Manial x Negma) Imp. to Poland
1924 by Count Potocki
Mahroussa ca.1920 (Mabrouk Manial x Negma)
*H.H.Mohamed Ali's Hamama 1927 AHC 887 (Kawkab x Mahroussa)
YAMAMA produced three foals which bred on: the full
sisters NEGMA and AROUSSA by DAHMAN AL AZRAK and their
three-quarters brother *NASR by DAHMAN's son RABDAN
It is not
certain whether NEGMA was bred by the Khedive Abbas
Hilmi or by Prince Mohammed Ali; Lady Anne Blunt records
BINT YAMAMA as "expecting a foal" in December 1908 and
with "a nice filly foal" at foot in January 1911, and
it is tempting to suggest these were NEGMA and AROUSSA.
On the other hand Prince Mohammed Ali's letters in the
1930s, while they are not entirely consistent on the
impression they give of NEGMA's age, may be read to
imply that she was foaled as early as 1906, which would
make Abbas Hilmi her breeder.
NEGMA is represented in modern pedigrees by her sons
KAFIFAN and JASIR, and daughters MAHROUSSA, ZAHRA, *AZIZA
and *RODA. There are thin lines to AROUSSA and ZAHRA
through EAO breeding, and all of MAHROUSSA's known progeny
came to Brown or Babson; besides the two "HHMA"- named
mares they include the likes of the Van Vleet sire *ZARIFE,
and those two major Babson influences *FADL and *MAAROUFA.
*AZIZA produced the influential
sires AZKAR and JULEP and also left a substantial female
influence through her daughters by KENUR, *CZUBUTHAN
and *RAFFLES. *RODA was the dam of sons including HALLANY
MISTANNY, JASPRE and TUT ANKH AMEN; her dam line is
more extensive than that of *AZIZA, through two daughters
each by AGWE, *RAFFLES and IBN HANAD.
*NASR was a respected sire at Traveler's Rest, influential
today through numerous daughters and his prominent son
SIRECHO. Traveler's Rest is responsible, too, for the
only surviving (at least within registered Arabians)
descent from KAFIFAN: his line persists only through
*MATTARIA. JASIR was for many years the head sire at
the Marbach Stud and his name is widespread today in
In a 1907 journal entry Lady Anne Blunt records a visit
from Moharrem Pasha and a discussion regarding YEMAMA, "that
bay mare Moharrem Pasha sold to us—to which the Pasha replied
'O! that mare, the Jellabieh I had from Ali [Pasha] Sherif!"
Later in the same entry "Ghania's long tale about Yemama
having passed through several hands on her way from the desert
is all a fabrication!!!" This reads as though Ghania had
been Moharrem Pasha's agent in the 1892 sale of YEMAMA. The
answers to other questions that come to mind (eg, how Ali Bey
Shahin comes into the story, and why Moharrem Pasha is not mentioned
in the mare's GSB provenance) are not clear at this time.
Abbas Hilmi II was deposed by the
British in 1914 and from that time lived in exile and never
returned to Egypt. Most Arabian horse enthusiasts today are
probably more familiar with the name of the last Khedive's younger
brother. Prince Mohammed Ali Tewfik continued to breed Arabians
at his Manial Stud in Cairo for nearly 20 years after Abbas
Hilmi went into exile. The Manial Stud provided foundation stock
to the Royal Agricultural Society, to the Inshass Stud of the
Prince's cousin King Farouk, and to breeders in Poland, Germany
and the U.S. The Prince's name is enshrined in our stud book
as a prefix to two of the mares he sold to W.R. Brown. HAMAMA
418 and *HAMIDA 509 already were registered, so the two Egyptian
imports with the same names became *H.H. Mohammed Ali's HAMAMA
887 and *H.H. Mohammed Ali's HAMIDA 889.
Prince Mohammed Ali's most esteemed line of horses was founded
by the grey BINT YAMAMA, bred by his brother. In a 1933 letter
to General J.M. Dickinson of the famed Traveler's Rest Farm
in Tennessee, the Prince wrote that he had exchanged a black
gift stallion from Sultan Abdul Hamid II of Turkey, plus 200
pounds, "to get [Bint] Yamama, wich [sic] was in the possession
of one of my brother's people."
Julep #1678 (Gulustra x *Aziza)
Azkar 1938 AHC 1109 (Rahas x *Aziza)
*Zarife1928 AHC 885 (Ibn Samhan x Mahroussa)
*Fadl 1930 AHC 896 (Ibn Rabdan x Mahroussa)
*Maaroufa 1931 AHC 895 (Ibn Rabdan x Mahroussa)
Rodasr 1938 AHC 1591 (*Nasr x *Roda)
This exchange can be roughly dated to 1908; Lady Anne Blunt's
published Journals and Correspondence record that she
saw the black stallion from the Sultan in December of 1907,
while a year later a daughter of YEMAMA [sic] is among "the
principal mares." The same mare is mentioned in similar
terms again in January of 1911; in February 1912 she is accounted
the second best of the mares, and parenthetically "the dam
Yemama owned by the Khedive is dead."
Ten Manial Arabians of BINT YAMAMA's descent in the direct female
line were used for breeding in Poland, in Germany and in this
country (imported by W.R. Brown and Henry Babson). This breeding
element is a widely influential one in international pedigrees;
to pick a few names at random, KONTIKI, BEN RABBA, KHEMOSABI
and many horses of the Al-Marah and Shalimar programs carry
this Manial breeding. It is behind the majority of horses bred
from Germany's Weil-Marbach lines. There is also a strong tradition
of breeding straight Egyptian Arabians carrying more or less
of BINT YAMAMA's influence (see Sidebar: The BINT YAMAMA Influence
on buying four of the Manial Arabians imported by W.R. Brown,
had noticed a discrepancy in their strain designations, compared
to that of KAFIFAN, a stallion from the same family which Prince
Mohammed Ali had sold to Count Potocki of Poland in 1924. The
Brown imports were given as Jellabi or Kehilan Jellabi; KAFIFAN,
in the original (first edition) Polish Arabian Stud Book (PASB),
was registered of the strain "Saklawi Djedran." General
Dickinson later bought from Poland the KAFIFAN daughter *MATTARIA,
and in the summary of her ancestry supplied by the Polish registration
authorities (the source would have been the records of the Potocki
family) KAFIFAN also appears as "of the Saklawi family."
Asked to comment on this apparent
contradiction, Prince Mohammed Ali stated, not that PASB was
in error on the strain of KAFIFAN, but that "[t]he Kehilan-Jellabi
are descending from the Seglawi-Jedran." This is a somewhat
ambiguous statement; an Arabian horse of any strain may "descend"
from horses of any other strain if they are not in its direct
female line. If this statement refers to the strain-determining
dam line, it runs counter to the conventional descriptions of
strain evolution, in which the other strains are said to arise
from, and originally to be named as substrains of, the Kehilan
Ajuz. Furthermore, strain designations are not expected to change
in this way over the course of a few years (from 1924 to 1932)
and outside the tribal breeding system.
Ali puts more emphasis on the fact that BINT YAMAMA "is a descendant
of the stables of Ali Pasha Sherif, who bought his horses from my grandfather
Prince Ilhami, son of Abbas Pasha I…the strain of these horses is in
our family since 80 years…" It may not be reading too much into
this to suggest the Prince is telling General Dickinson that, whatever
their strain name, the origin of this family is unimpeachable. On the
record which survives, Lady Anne Blunt's efforts to record precise pedigree
relationships among her Arabians of Ali Pasha Sherif origins may have
been the exception rather than the rule. More often her contemporaries
appear to have accepted a horse of named strain, "of Ali Pasha Sherif"
or "from the stud of Ali Pasha Sherif," as sufficient, and indeed
added in the same letter that the stud records of his brother Abbas
Hilmi II had been confiscated at the time the latter went into exile.
While these records may well languish yet in some British archive, there
has to date been no suggestion that they were ever recovered. If Prince
Mohammed Ali changed his mind about the strain designation of this line
of horses, his decision clearly was not based on information from his
brother's stud records. Still less can any subsequent ideas about the
BINT YAMAMA pedigree have been based on the relevant stud records.