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Maasai Beaded Leather Cape Skirt Kenya African Art

Product #: 89206
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Title Maasai beaded leather cape-old, SUPERB, Africa
Type of Object Cape
Country of Origin Kenya
People Maasai
Materials leather, beads, pigment
Approximate Age mid 20th centyre or earlier
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.
Damage/Repair Holes in places, indigenous repair on leather

A magnificently beaded piece. Olekesana is a woman 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

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