Butcher

Standing outside the front of his shop in the early morning, the butcher is hard at work preparing the meat for his daily customers. As the local villagers awake and pass by, they are able to see what is available for the day. Those who come first get the choicest cuts.

The painting depicts the front of a traditional Lebanese soil house, difficult to find today, with its simple design, wooden door, wooden shutters and thick bars over the window. The front porch is tiled with large pieces of cut stone, slowly worn and smoothed out over time. Looking at the front entrance, we see the stone step on the threshold leading into the shop. This stone step is worn in the middle from people passing over time. From the roof of the house logs of wood protrude out and are covered with wood planks to provide shelter over the front porch, providing an excellent work space for the butcher. He is then able to hang his meat outside for his customers to easily see, as well as give him adequate space to work.

Here we see the butcher at work skinning a goat with his knife and sharpener in hand. The butcher wears the traditional Lebanese clothes – his hat is called a lebedeh, and the pants are called sherwal. The lebedeh seems to have roots back to the Phoenicians who wore very tall pointed hats, as seen in sculptures found in Byblos and now displayed at the National Museum in Beriut. It is said the Phoenicians wore these hats in order to make themselves appear taller. The onlooking goat stands ready for the next act.