African Textiles & Symbols Fante of Ghana

African Beadwork


A Brief Historical View of Traditional African Beadwork : Article about traditional African Beadwork

Africa Direct - Beadwork : Commercial site but shows beautiful examples of traditional and old beadwork by the Cameroon, Kirdi/Fulani, Kuba, Maasai, Ndebele, Xhosa, Yoruba and Zulu.

African Beadwork (amongst the Thembu People) : Brief article about how traditional beadwork among the Xhosa has almost completely died out with only a few elderly women still retaining the skills to create it.

African Trade Beads : This is a commercial site, but shows examples of both old and new African Trade Beads. Click on thumbnails of each type to view a more extensive variety.

An African Valentine: The Bead Code of the Zulus : Shows the positive and negative symbolic meanings of each color and gives information about how the colors are used.

Bead Code of the Zulus: This site describes how the giving of beadwork is used toexpress romantic interest as well as the symbolic meanings of the seven colors that are used.

Beaded Splendor: Migration of Beadmaking and Beadwork Throughout Africa: This is a site of the Smithsonian Museum. Through its links, extensive information is provided about:

· The History of Beadmaking, Trade & Techniques

· Beadmaking Among Particular African Peoples;

· Importance of Beads as Personal Adornment;

· Beaded Splendor Image Gallery

Beadwork in the Zulu Cultural Tradition: On this site you will find a compilation of the work of Dr Hilgard Stanley Schoeman, a well-known expert on beadwork of the South African Nguni people. The links take you to extensive information about different styles, their cultural significance including how they are used, and pictures:

· Traditional Necklaces;

· Adornment of the Head;

· Adornment of the Chest, Waist and Lower Body;

· Adornment of the Limbs;

· Items Worn by Izangoma - specialists in traditional magic

Beads and Beadwork: Late 19th century picture of a lovely young Zulu woman draped in her beadwork. Scroll down the page to see some beautiful examples. Images are clickable for wonderful close-up views.

Chasing Rainbows – Kiffa Beads : Extensive article with pictures in the Lapidary Journal about the exquisite beads made by the Kiffa of Mauritania.

Chromography with Beads : Very brief document with pictures. Interesting information about the color sequencing developed in Zulu beadwork.

Eloquent Elegance: Beadwork in the Zulu Tradition : Lots of information and examples.

Filizana : A cooperative established as a job creation project in rural South Africa.

· Filizana: Information about the project

· Beadwork : with links to wonderful pictures of both traditional and modern examples.

· Ndebele : Brief information

Glass Beads Made in Africa : A three-part article about how glass beads are made by different African tribes. Part I focuses on Bida, Nigeria; Part II on Kiffa and Wet-Core Beads; and Part III on Dry Powder-Glass Beads in Ghana.

Ndebele Beadwork : Gives general information as well as a brief glossary defining the various forms. Click on “Go to Beadwork” link at the bottom of the page to view examples.

Ndebele Beadwork : This is a commercial site, but this page shows an example and provides a brief glossary with explanation.

The Art of Ndebele Beadwork : Extensive and excellent article by Lindsay Hooper of the South African Museum that appeared in Sagittarius, Volume 3, Number 4, December 1988. Click on links to see examples of each type.

The Cultured Bead : Info about an exhibit. Scroll to bottom of page to see an example of Masaii glass beadwork.

The Glory of African Beadwork: Extensive article by Ettagale Blauer on the cultural significance of beadwork among the Zulu, Xhosa and Ndbele.

The Story of Zulu Beads : Great article with clickable pictures.

Traditional Ndebele Beadwork : Three examples are shown.

Xhosa Beadwork : The Reeston Beadwork Project near East London, South Africa was started to ensure that the beadwork tradition among the Xhosa does not become a lost art. Shows a picture of the four women beadworkers and eight examples.

Zulu Beadwork : Color picture of a young woman draped in beadwork. Brief information, including that “Zulu beadwork is culturally regulated, so that one’s status may be readily determined…”

Zulu Beadwork : Some examples are shown

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