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Ndebele Doll

Doll (umndwana)

Ndebele People
South Africa
Doll (umndwana)
20th Century
Glass beads, plastic beads, glass bottle, goatskin, cloth
Gift of Caroline Popper
2004.33.8

The function of Ndebele dolls has been variously interpreted in historical and personal narratives. By some accounts, such dolls are said to have assisted in courtship rituals and to promote a woman’s ability to conceive. This doll’s entire body is comprised of beaded rings, and it appears to wear miniature versions of the beaded aprons, isiphephetu, neckrings and bracelets, izigolwane, worn by young Ndebele women before marriage.

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