This is an extraordinary Xhosa Beaded Skirt. Beadwork has been a major form of aesthetic expression in southern Africa for nearly 200 years. Among the many diverse ethnic groups of the region, the Xhosa peoples have an especially rich tradition of beaded regalia. This elegant textile skirt, also known as an isikhakha or imibhaco, is one example of the incorporation of beadwork into garments. Xhosa people commonly wear a plain white (or occasionally red) wrapper. In this case, a white cotton blanket has been colored with ocher, yielding a rich reddish-brown fabric that was then cut and sewn into three sections to form this skirt. Depending on the specific region and Xhosa subgroup, the coloration of the textiles varies a great deal. This skirt features four rows of black appliquéd strips that follow the curve of the hem and are bordered by rows of delicate white and dark blue beads and narrow black appliqué strips. Between the rows are delicate, beaded appliqué designs alternating with buttons. The skirt can be worn with a beaded belt attached to which are two beaded tassels that extend to the ground. The combination of elaborate beadwork with vividly hued textiles and other materials like buttons and tassels yields both a rich, tactile surface and a beautiful aesthetic effect. Beaded works such as this were only truly complete when seen in their kinetic relationship to the human body—in some sense, like performance art or body art. A fabulous piece of Xhosa art to add to your home or collection.
Shows age and wear Museum Quality
SKIRT TIES IN THE BACK
37.5 Inches Long
32.5 Inches Wide
17 Inch Wide Panels
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