Wedding Ensemble for a Bride (Umtshakazi)

A work made of cotton cloth, glass beads, mother of pearl beads, thread, and leather.

Image actions

  • A work made of cotton cloth, glass beads, mother of pearl beads, thread, and leather.

Date:

1950s

Artist:

Thembu
Eastern Cape, South Africa
Eastern and Southern Africa

About this artwork

For the Thembu and other Xhosa-speaking peoples, the beauty, translucence, and weight of layers of beaded ornaments have spiritual dimensions. Shiny, reflective materials are associated with enlightenment, purity, and access to the ancestral realm. Thembu beadworking flourished among young women in the 1940s and 1950s, but declined in the 1960s. Each of the items in this wedding ensemble was lovingly made. Many are notable for their creative reuse of materials: for example, the bracelet from which a handkerchief is suspended; the armlets made of twisted brass wire; and the beaded teaspoon necklaces, which were intended to make the marriage sweet.

Currently Off View

Arts of Africa

Culture

Thembu

Title

Wedding Ensemble for a Bride (Umtshakazi)

Origin

South Africa

Date

1950–1959

Medium

Cotton cloth, glass beads, mother of pearl beads, thread, and leather

Dimensions

H. 114 cm (44 7/8 in.)

Credit Line

Restricted gift of the Woman's Board of the Art Institute of Chicago; partial gift of Axis Gallery (Gary Van Wyk and Lisa Brittan)

Reference Number

1998.518

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email .

Share

Sign up for our enewsletter to receive updates.

Learn more

Image actions

Share