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Man's corset (malual)

Arts of Africa

Dinka men regularly wear beaded corsets, partly as indicators of their age group and position. The yellow beads in this corset suggest that it may have been designed for a man over the age of thirty. The glass beads and wire used in making such corsets are imported products, making the outfits considerable markers of status and prestige.
MEDIUM Beads, fiber, wire
  • Place Made: South Sudan
  • DATES 20th century
    DIMENSIONS 18 x 16 in. (45.7 x 40.6 cm)  (show scale)
    COLLECTIONS Arts of Africa
    CREDIT LINE Carll H. de Silver Fund
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Beaded corset supported in the back by a long narrow rectangular form of rigid wire covered with brown fiber. The wire form, across which rows of beads are strung , is 3/4 in. wide and worn against the spine. The front open support is made of two rigid wires covered with brown fiber, one on either side, with alternating small wire loops all the way down, through which a third , seperate uncovered wire with a large loop at one end is pushed through to close the corset. There are ties on the top and bottom. Long strands of beads each stitched to the corset's support wires, are arranged to make bands of color that drape along the sides of the torso. The widest band of beads is yellow: narrower bands are red, dark blue, and light blue. Yellow is worn by Dinka men over 30 years old. Condition: Good. Fiber worn slightly.
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CAPTION Dinka. Man's corset (malual), 20th century. Beads, fiber, wire, 18 x 16 in. (45.7 x 40.6 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Carll H. de Silver Fund, 1997.1.1. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 1997.1.1_PS6.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 1997.1.1_PS6.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2011
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    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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