Brief Historical View of Traditional African Beadwork :
Article about traditional African Beadwork
- Beadwork : Commercial site but shows beautiful examples of traditional and
old beadwork by the Cameroon, Kirdi/Fulani, Kuba, Maasai, Ndebele, Xhosa, Yoruba
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.
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
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
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.
Splendor: Migration of Beadmaking and Beadwork Throughout Africa: This is a
site of the Smithsonian Museum. Through its links, extensive information is
History of Beadmaking, Trade & Techniques
Among Particular African Peoples;
of Beads as Personal Adornment;
Splendor Image Gallery
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
of the Head;
of the Chest, Waist and Lower Body;
of the Limbs;
Worn by Izangoma - specialists in traditional magic
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.
Rainbows – Kiffa Beads : Extensive article with pictures in the Lapidary
Journal about the exquisite beads made by the Kiffa of Mauritania.
with Beads : Very brief document with pictures. Interesting information
about the color sequencing developed in Zulu beadwork.
Elegance: Beadwork in the Zulu Tradition : Lots of information and examples.
: A cooperative established as a job creation project in rural South Africa.
Information about the project
: with links to wonderful pictures of both traditional and modern examples.
: Brief information
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.
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.
: This is a commercial site, but this page shows an example and provides a brief
glossary with explanation.
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
Glory of African Beadwork: Extensive article by Ettagale Blauer on the
cultural significance of beadwork among the Zulu, Xhosa and Ndbele.
Story of Zulu Beads : Great article with clickable pictures.
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.
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…”
Beadwork : Some examples are shown