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Doll

Doll

Pedi People (Northern Sotho people)
South Africa
Doll (ngwana wa pelego)
20th Century
Wood, glass beads, fiber, cloth
Gift of Norma Canelas Roth and William D. Roth
2006.45.13

This doll is probably a recent example of a Pedi doll, called “child of birth” or ngwana wa pelego. The dolls represent adult women almost exclusively, with beaded adornments over their beaded sheaths, and other accoutrements signifying their age, status and gender. A mother will give her daughter a doll for her wedding. On her wedding day, the bride brings it to her in-laws who name it, and this name is given to the first child born. The dolls are destroyed after the birth of the child, and the beads re-distributed to deter any evil befalling the child because of its spiritual connection to the doll.

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