Neck Ornament (Ibheqe or Umphapheni)
Arts of Africa
This beaded neck ornament, fashioned by a young woman, would have been worn as one among a series of beaded decorations on the neck and head. It was likely sported either by the artist herself, or by her beloved, to whom it would have been offered as a gift and expression of her true feelings. The combination of colors and geometric patterns encoded a range of potential declarations. To decipher the meaning, one had to be well versed in locally specific styles. Indeed, the intended might have had to call upon his female relatives to help him read the message.
Glass beads, sinew
mid to late 19th century
11 1/2 × 7 1/4 × 1/2 in. (29.2 × 18.4 × 1.3 cm) (show scale)
This item is not on view
Gift of Mrs. Herman Eggers
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Zulu. Neck Ornament (Ibheqe or Umphapheni), mid to late 19th century. Glass beads, sinew, 11 1/2 × 7 1/4 × 1/2 in. (29.2 × 18.4 × 1.3 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Mrs. Herman Eggers, 45.125.10. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 45.125.10_acetate_bw.jpg)
overall, 45.125.10_acetate_bw.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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Beadwork neck ornament, consisting of a beaded strap to which is attached an almost square beadwork retangle. The strap consists of rows of pink, blue, red, and white beads. The blue of the rectangle has three rows of a centrally placed triangular pattern inset with 6 geometric diamonds in red, black, and blue, on a white ground. Strap is attached to rectangle by conical brass buttons. Technique: flat single-face, brick. Condition: several small torn spots.
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