The shape of this beaded ceremonial skirt from the Iraqw culture of central-north Tanzania consists of strips of animal hide sewn together. This animal-hide canvas has been beautifully decorated with striking cross and circular designs, representing the sun, in blue, yellow, white and orange. Two rows of red and white beads, each arranged into a zig-zag pattern, adorn the central section of the skirt.
The skirts were made by young girls as part of the Iraqw women’s initiation ritual known as Marmo. Through participation in Marmo, Iraqw girls transitioned from puberty into womanhood. Their beaded ceremonial skirts demonstrated their skill and dexterity.
Iraq skirts are amongst the most elaborately decorated beaded costumes from the African continent. Each skirt is unique, the design being a product of the skill and creativity of the individual maker.
Field collected in the 1990's
Estimated Period: Mid-20th Century (Or Before)