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Africa Direct

Maasai Cape Olekesana Beaded Leather Kenya African Art

AvailabilityIn stock
Special Price $245.00 Regular Price $390.00
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Brand Unbranded
People Kwele
Materials Uncured hide, glass beads, ochre
Made In Kenya
Traded In Kenya
Approximate Age Mid 20th century
Height (in) 41
Dimensions Height: 41 Inches
28 inches wide at top; 53 inches wide at bottom
Overall Condition fair
Damage/Repair tears in leather; loose stitches
Type of Object Skirt, cape, garment

Additional Information: A magnificently beaded piece. Olekesana is a woman's skirt or cape from the Maasai. It is made of goatskin or sheepskin decorated with beads on the surface. some of them may have a particular design for a specific category of wearer. The skirt is embellished with ochre Such skirts were as garments and part of married women dress. Such capes would be worn by women from the day they would get married until their death. These capes/skirts can still be seen worn y women during important ceremonies.

For more information and pictures, see Saitoti's MAASAI, which has examples and a photograph of a woman sewing beads on one, on p. 216. See a similar piece in Marie-Louise Labelle, BEADS OF LIFE, fig. 66, p.86

Adamson's PEOPLES OF KENYA has several pictures of Maasai men in leather garments, around the waist and tied over one shoulder, but they don't appear to have beading. The same is true for Turle's ART OF THE MAASAI. DeSouter and Wuyts; MAASAI shows three examples of beaded ones worn by women, tied and wound in different ways, and additional examples of men, women and children in leather without beads. Saitoti and Beckwith shows many pictures of women wearing them as skirts, capes, and in-betweens, but there are also two pictures of warriors wearing them, one over his shoulders. The pictures are of two Maasai women who sold us the earrings out of their ears.