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Bride's Apron

Bridal Apron (itshogolo)

Ndebele People
South Africa
Bridal Apron (itshogolo)
Early - mid 20th Century
Leather, beads
Gift of Caroline Popper
2004.33.2

The itshogolo is worn by a woman for the first several months of marriage and afterwards for ceremonial occasions. Her husband prepares the goatskin, with its distinctive rounded flaps, but the woman may add beading later. Alternatively, a woman’s mother-in-law may present her with a beaded itshogolo. The flaps have varied interpretations, and are said to represent the children desired in the marriage, or the mother and her children, or even the number of cattle paid for brideprice. White is the traditionally preferred color for these aprons, as seen in the solid field of white beading in this example. The small colored motif of a modern dwelling complete with electric lights, windows, doors, and pitched roof indicates the importance of home and family for the Ndebele as well as the desire for a modern lifestyle.

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