Xhosa Pair of Leather-Backed Anklets, South Africa
Additional Information: A superb Xhosa beaded anklet decoration in pink, and blue tiny beads, and ended with mother-of -pearls buttons.The beads are sewn onto the three layers of leather for each anklet.
In no other part of sub-Saharan Africa have artists produced a more highly diversified assortment of artistic beadwork than in the southern region. All the major ethnic groups of South Africa have a very long tradition of beadworks. They show a high degree of professionalism in jewelry and decorative art using beads as the central medium. This anklet comes from the Xhosa speaking people of the Eastern Cape region of South Africa.It was worn around the leg by both men and women as part of their ceremonial attires.
On this anklet, Xhosa style is recognized by the use of pink and navy blue beads, and the mother of pearl buttons. The traditional function of the beads in this culture goes behind the simple fact that they embellish the objects. In early times, beads were used as currencies and as valuable items for exchange and compensation. In Xhosa villages, today, beadworks continue to be seen as prestigious Objects. Xhosa beadworks testify to the great pride their makers took in producing objects of quality.
EZAKWANTU. Beadwork from the Eastern Cape. 31 October 1993-29 May 1994. South African National Gallery.