Africa Direct
Africa Direct

Maasai Olbene Beaded Leather Bag Kenya African Art

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Title Maasai Olbene Beaded Leather Bag Kenya African Art
Type of Object Bag
Country of Origin Kenya, Tanzania
People Maasai
Materials Leather
Approximate Age 20th century
Height (in) 20
Width (in) 19
Overall Condition 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.

Additional Information: A leather bag probably from the Maasai. The Maasai people of East Africa live in southern Kenya and northern Tanzania, along the Great Rift Valley, on semi-arid and arid lands. Among the Maasai such bags are known as Olbene. Very often they would be embellished with glass beads forming elegant curves, vertical lines and other geometric motifs. Olbene leather bags were used by women to hold water or other valuable belongs.

For more information and pictures, see Saitoti's "MAASAI," which has examples of these bags.

See also, Marie-Louise Labelle, Beads of Life. Eastern and Southern African Beadwork From Canadian Collections, 2005, fig. 67