Additional Information: A superb necklace from the Xhosa, worn around the neck.
The Xhosa of the eastern Cape region of South Africa have a history of beadwork as long as that of the better known Zulu and Ndebele. The uses of beaded garments, bags, jewelry and objects continue until today in the rural areas.
The tag attached to these small panels similar to the Zulu neck ornament "lover letter" indicates that these beadworks are from the Xhosa of Egunsi clan. It is possible that these beadworks were used as neck ornment or jewelry for Xhosa young men. These maybe decorated with buttons or coins.
For similar examples worn by young Xhosa see similar adorments in VANISHING CULTURES of SOUTH AFRICA by Peter Magubane and also, DRESS AND ADORNMENT by the same author.
See also EZAKWANTU. Beadwork from the Eastern Cape. 31 October 1993-29 May 1994. South African National Gallery
see a similar example in Marie-Louise Labelle, Breads of Life. Eastern and Southern African Beadwork from Canadian Collections, 2005, fig.63, p. 83