Decorated with a triad of blue, red and white beads in a checkerboard design, this apron exemplifies how Tsonga women of the Zambezi Valley combined these three colours perfectly in their unique beadwork. Each colour relates to a different aspect of Tsonga life and culture.
The colour white - widely used in initiation ceremonies - evoked the 'shades' or ancestor spirits. The bodies of young Tsonga women were smeared with red ochre pigment. Originally related to the Zulu people, the Tonga practiced a rain cult, which may explain their use of dark blue.
Estimated Period: Second Quarter of 20th Century
Ex Private Collection, UK
H x W (Excl. Mount): 21cm x 23cm
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