Jul 7, 2022
Jul 7, 2022
Jul 7, 2022

Royal ceremonial beadwork: breast cover (incebetha)

Royal ceremonial beadwork: breast cover (incebetha)

1800s

Part of a set. See all set records

Glass beads, hide, and sinew

Overall: 94 x 29.8 cm (37 x 11 3/4 in.)

Severance and Greta Millikin Trust 2022.49.b

Location

Description

Elite Xhosa women once wore beaded garments like this on festive occasions. Made almost completely from imported Venetian or Bohemian glass beads, they were overt status symbols. Imported beads functioned as money for the Xhosa between about 1770 and 1829. These garments’ female maker carefully selected beads of the highest quality, uniform in color, shape, and size. Made in the same shape as the pendant, a swallowtail-shaped apron (CMA 2010.206) worn under the skirt completed the ensemble.

See also
Collection: 
African Art
Department: 
African Art
Type of artwork: 
Textile

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