Africa Direct
Africa Direct

South East African Beadwork Book

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Brand Unbranded
Author Michael Stevenson, Michael Graham-Stewart, Sandra Klopper
Copyright Date 2000
Height (in) 9
Width (in) 11.5
Depth (in) 1
Number of Pages 192
Overall Condition Used. Overall good condition. Inside is like new!
Damage/Repair Worn edges on cover and hardcover, discoloration on inside of dust jacket, see photos for more details.
ISBN 1874950520
Format Hardcover
Language English

In the 192 pages of this handsome volume, more than 260 colour plates and 20 period illustrations convey the artistry and the intricracy of design in beadwork crafted primarily by Zulu-speaking women, but also by Xhosa-speaking and Sotho women, and by Yao beadworkers of eastern Zambia.

This, the first book devoted to beadwork from the eastern regions of southern Africa, illustrates in full colour more than 260 pieces dating from 1850 and 1910. It firmly places beadwork as an art form to be displayed in art galleries and researched by art historians rather than as an artefact of interest only to ethnographers. Based on the collection of art dealers Michael Stevenson and Michael Graham-Stewart, it demonstrates the breadth and astonishing artistry of women beadworkers from the subcontinent.

The main focus of the collection is beadwork made by Zulu-speaking women in the Zulu kingdom and the Colony of Natal. There are also pieces produced by Xhosa-speaking women from the Eastern Cape and by Sotho women in the Drakensberg, as well as work from further north, traditionally ascribed to the Yao people in the eastern Zambia region.

In an introductory essay, Sandra Klopper discusses the origins of beadwork in the region. The themes explored include the history of collecting beadwork, the changing value of beads, the influence of fashion and symbolism on the choice of colour in beadwork, the changing status of beadwork, and the issues of gender underlying the making and wearing of beadwork.