Zulu Earplug Painted South Africa
2 painted Zulu earplugs.
Zulu beadwork has been valued as currency, decoration, and a marker of identity. Disingwayo the uncle of Shaka and Shaka himself, controlled the bead trade and monopolized not only the beads themselves but also the colors and designs available to groups within Shaka's control. Beadwork became a status symbol and an important item of personal expression as well.
Stylistic variations of beadwork such as pattern, color, and color sequence indicate area or group affiliation. Colors and patterns take on more personally expressive meanings as in the case of Zulu ‚Äúlove letters.‚Äù Recently beadwork has become a symbol of political identity as well, with color and pattern indicating political affiliation. Instead of beads being worn only by the conservative, traditional members of the community, wearing beadwork is increasingly being seen as reclaiming a cultural identity.
Approximate Age: Contemporary
2 1/8 x 2 1/8 inches. See image with ruler for size comparison.
Made In: Africa