Beadworking Masai

I Masai nel sud del Kenya e Tanzania settentrionale si dedicano alla pastorizia e rappresentano la loro identità e posizione nella società attraverso ornamenti per il corpo e il body painting.

Le donne Masai indossano elaborate collane prodotte appunto con le perline, il beadworking. In queste terre il beadworking ha una lunga storia.

Nel XIX secolo, le perline venivano prodotte per lo più con materie prime locali. Quelle bianche erano fatte di argilla, conchiglie, avorio od ossa. Le perline nere e blu venivano prodotte partendo da ferro, carbone, semi, argilla o corno. Quelle rosse provenivano da semi, legni, zucche, osso, avorio, rame od ottone.

Alla fine del XIX secolo, grandi quantità di perline di vetro colorate, provenienti dall’Europa, vennero introdotte in Africa orientale e le donne  cominciarono ad usarle sostituendole ai vecchi materiali e cominciarono ad utilizzare varie combinazioni di colori per i loro progetti.

Ad oggi, i Masai preferiscono le perline di vetro opaco senza alcuna decorazione in superficie e con una finitura liscia naturale. arte30

© Image: Photostaudarte26

© Image: Eric Lafforguearte28

© Image: One more shot Rogarte25

BEADWORKING MAASAI

The Masai in southern Kenya and northern Tanzania are dedicated sheep farmers, they represent their identity and society level through body jewelry and body painting.

Masai women wear elaborate necklaces neatly made of beads, so called beadworking. In these lands the beadworking has a long history.

In the nineteenth century, the beads were produced mostly with local raw materials. White ones were made of clay, shells, ivory or bone. The black and blue beads are made from iron, charcoal, seeds, clay or horn. The red ones are from seeds, woods, gourds, bone, ivory, copper or brass.

At the end of the nineteenth century large quantities of colored glass beads from Europe were introduced in East Africa and women began to use them and replace the old materials. They also started to use various color combinations for their projects.

To date, the Masai prefer opaque glass beads without any decoration on the surface with a natural smooth finish.The Masai in southern Kenya and northern Tanzania are dedicated sheep farmers, they represent their identity and society level through body jewelry and body painting.

Masai women wear elaborate necklaces neatly made of beads, so called beadworking. In these lands the beadworking has a long history.

In the nineteenth century, the beads were produced mostly with local raw materials. White ones were made of clay, shells, ivory or bone. The black and blue beads are made from iron, charcoal, seeds, clay or horn. The red ones are from seeds, woods, gourds, bone, ivory, copper or brass.

At the end of the nineteenth century large quantities of colored glass beads from Europe were introduced in East Africa and women began to use them and replace the old materials. They also started to use various color combinations for their projects.

To date, the Masai prefer opaque glass beads without any decoration on the surface with a natural smooth finish.

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