An Object Connects Two Generations

Saeed Bayashoot
Seiyun Museum
ITP 2016

Hello everyone! While in London for the 2016 ITP, I visited a family whose ancestors came from Hadhramaut, my hometown in Yemen, currently living in Hammersmith and Fulham. I met with Ms. Salwa al-Qa’tabi, a friend I knew previously, and her father a man named Mr. Muhammad al-Qa’tabi. They welcomed me warmly and we enjoyed a wonderful talk and tea.


Mr. Muhammad al-Qa’tabi and Saeed Bayashoot. Image author’s own

The story behind this visit  regards an object  housed at Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge where I paid a visit in September. The most exciting part of this visit was a chance to look at First Millennium B.C Bronze Roaring Lion found in al Qatn  Wadi Hahdramaut and other collections as well.

The grandfather of the lovely family I visited, the late Shaikh Abdullah Abubakr al‘Amoodi, was a Hadhrami expatriate in Tanzania and a trusted assistant and travel companion of  Colonel Mildmay Thomas (Tommy) Boscawen, younger son of the 7th Viscount Falmouth  and descendant of King Charles II.

Al’Amoodi accompanied Boscawen on his trek from India via Tibet to Chinese Turkestan in the 1920s;  Boscawen visited Hadhramaut three times from his home in Tanganyika, East Africa between 1929-1933 (part of Britain’s Aden Protectorate).

Boscawen established a close relationship with Sultan Ali bin Salah Al-Qu’aiti, a senior member of the ruling Qu’aiti dynasty. Sultan Ali presented Boscawen with the magnificent object (roaring lion) as a gift. He was reluctant to accept it but Sultan Ali insisted.

In 1979 the roaring lion was donated to the Fitzwilliam Museum by Boscawen’s sister Pamela in her brother’s memory.


First Millennium B.C Bronze Roaring Lion found in al Qatn Wadi Hahdramaut. Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge. © Copyright. University of Cambridge Museums

I am most grateful as it was an exciting day to visit this family as well as to hear from Mr. Muhammad al-Qa’tabi how generous Colonel Boscawen was to Al’Amoodi,  treating him like a son and schooling him in Mombasa, his sincere interest in those who worked with him and his building of a mosque for the Muslim community in Tanzania in 1952.

My sincere appreciation to Claire & Emma for arranging this trip to the Fitzwilliam Museum and to visit the al-Qatabi family and for looking after me during my stay in London.


Saeed with the roaring lion at the Fitzwilliam Museum. Image author’s own.