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Zulu Beaded Wedding Cape Isikoti Superb African Art

Regular Price: $1,250.00

Special Price: $690.00

Product #: 45901
US Shipping: $39.98
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Type of Object Beadwork
Country of Origin South Africa, Kwa-Zulu natal, Escourt area 
People Zulu
Materials Fabric, beads, cotton threads, silver buttons
Approximate Age Mid 20th century
Dimensions 31 x 37 inches
Overall Condition Fair to good. Most of our pieces have spent decades on at least two continents, and have been treasured by several owners.   Small splits, scrapes and cracks are a normal part of their patina attesting to their age and extensive use.  We examine each piece carefully when we receive it and report any damage we find in our listings.  Please look carefully at the pictures which may also reveal condition and damage.  
Damage/Repair very few loose strands with missing beads

Zulu Beaded Wedding Cape Isikoti SUPERB South Africa  

Additional Information: Isikoti /Wedding cape. Specially worn by the bride during the wedding ceremony around the shoulders to respect the in-law family. The cape is made out of eleven beaded panels stitched together. Each panel come from the members and relatives of the bride, they give to her as a gift when she goes to tell them about the wedding. She does this kind of invitation herself. Visiting all the relatives personal so that they can also tell her how big the step she took and how she must respect her new family. These panels joined together the day before the wedding took place. The bride uses it on the wedding ceremony and after that she will reduce the number of panels on the small cape to five or six panels and the rest will stay individual.  The apron with more panels, she will wear that on special ceremonies and the individual panel will be the part of her daily attire. She will wear it around the shoulders everyday changing it as a symbol of marriage. The panels with alphabets and initials will be made by the bride herself as a symbol of passing her happiness. Triangle designs on panel three from the bottom represent robots, as a symbol of showing that every thing go step by step the same way as robots. S can be her initial or her lovers initial.Blue panel no. 2 from bottom it representing the royal family- normally come from her mother. Panel. 7 with blue and colours, the style called isifazi, its come from grand mother telling her that she is a grown women, she has to behave like one. Umfazi it’s a word used for married women. Two hanging beads- it’s representing that she got married when she was still a virgin and the beads come from her attire that she was wearing when she was a girl. Two hangings meaning she is a second wife to her husband. The style that has been used on panel 4, 6, 8, 10 from the bottom called ufenisi. Panel one from top style called umakhwapheni.

For more information see: Hlengiwe Dube, Zulu Beadwork Talk with Beads, AfricaDirect Inc., 2009, 112 pages. illustrations and photographs, paperback. shrinkwrapped.

This newly published book is by a Zulu woman, a friend of ours, who is perhaps the greatest living Zulu expert on the beadwork of her people.  We have known her for fourteen years, and are honored to have been chosen to publish her book.

Hlengiwe wrote (p. 78): "For the wedding ceremony the bride wears a shoulder apron as a symbol of respect to the in-law family. The apron is made out of thirteen to fifteen beaded panels, each made by a member of the family or a relative, including some she will make herself. The beaded panels are joined into one big piece (isikoti) before the wedding ceremony takes place. When a woman marries before giving birth to a child, the apron is augmented with long hanging beads as a symbol of virginity. The long beads hang from the belt that she was wearing when she was a girl at the coming out ceremony.

Though there are several different types of shoulder aprons, each apron panel has a particular kind of stitch. The bottom part is stitched with a brick stitch called ugcinusizi, the centre part is a knitting stitch – umqolo - and the top part is a zip stitch - uzondo."

p. 79 ...Isikoti: Made from different bright colours of beadwork with figures and design pattern"

I have examined this piece and agree with the description
Niangi Batulukisi, PhD.