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Zulu Beaded Collar Necklace Shells South African

Regular Price: $45.00

Special Price: $35.00

Product #: 108022
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Title Zulu Beaded Collar Necklace South Africa African
Materials glass, conus shells
Approximate Age 20th Century
Overall Condition Good. Some of our beads have traveled at least three continents, and have graced numerous owners. Small chips, corrosion, and pitting are a normal part of their patina attesting to their age and extensive use.
Damage/Repair general wear
People Zulu
Necklace Length 18 inches
Pendant Size 1.25 inches long

Additional Information: From Nquthu area Kwa-Zulu Natal. Worn by  unmarried young men and women. 

Zulu beadwork has a long history as beads were traded first by Arabs and later Europeans in exchange for ivory, animal products and slaves. Beads were valued as currency as well as decoration. Disingwayo the uncle of Shaka and Shaka himself, controlled the bead trade and monopolized not only the beads but also the colors and designs available to groups within Shaka’s control. Beadwork became a status symbol and important item of personal expression. Stylistic variations of beadwork such as pattern, color and color sequence indicate area or group affiliation although some variations occur contemporary beadwork based on fashion and political meaning. Colors and patterns could take on more personally expressive meanings as well in the case of Zulu “love letters.” Color and pattern then express symbolically, ideas of personal attachment and affection. Recently beadwork has become a symbol of political identity as well with color and pattern indicating political affiliation. Instead of beads being worn only by the conservative, traditional members of the community, wearing beadwork is increasingly being seen as reclaiming a cultural identity.

Recommended Reading: 

Hlengiwe Dube, ZULU BEADWORK.TALKING WITH BEADS, AfricaDirect, Inc., Denver, 2009, 112 p

Jean Morris (text by Eleanor Preston-White), SPEAKING WITH BEADS. ZULU ARTS FROM SOUTHERN AFRICA