Xhosa Necklace Isigcina/Amatikiti with Five Love Letters
Additional Information: A superb beaded necklace with five square panels "Love letters" with beautiful designin white, blue, black, and red . Put together, these four pieces make a very nice jewelry to be worn around the neck. This square pendant "love letters" form is found not only among the Xhosa, but also Mfengu, Ndebele, and Zulu. The motifs in the middle of each panel and the colors used are of Xhosa style. Usually, Xhosa beadworks are recognized by the fact that the motifs are treated in a very symmetrical way. And the way the Xhosa use the space on the work is very different from the Zulu. On the Zuku works space is saturated. However, Xhosa motifs are less crowded. The yellow and red beads are in use since the end of the nineteenth century among the Xhosa. The local name of these necklace Isigcina or Amatikiti.
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.
For similar examples see:
Marie-Louise Labelle, Beads of Life. Eastern and Southern African Beadwork From Canadian Collection, Mercury Series, Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation , 2005, Fig. 75, p. 94
see also: EZAKWANTU. Beadwork from the Eastern Cape. 31 October 1993-29 May 1994. South African National Gallery