The shape of this beaded ceremonial skirt from the Iraqw culture of central-north Tanzania has been made from strips of sewn-together animal hide. The animal-hide canvas has been beautifully decorated with attractive beaded linear, zig-zag and V-shaped designs.
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 were a display of their skill and dexterity.
Iraqw 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 1990s
Estimated Period: Mid 20th Century (1950’s)