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Woman's Apron

Girl's Initiation Apron (cache sexe)

Baroka People, Botswana, Letsotho and South Africa
Girl’s Initiation Apron (thito)
Ca. 1970
Cotton cloth, glass beads, fiber, cord
Gift of Norma Canelas Roth and William D. Roth
2006.45.6

Baroka mothers make beaded aprons (thito) for their eldest daughter’s initiation. Since the early 20th century, the aprons have been made of colored cloth imported from India and England which is embroidered with hundreds of beads. Designs on the aprons are usually composed of triangles and straight lines rendered in a variety of colors. The cloth in this example was originally red cloth from India called salempore. After the eldest daughter’s initiation, the cloth is washed and then given to the next eldest daughter for her initiation. In a family with many girls, the cloth is washed as many times and becomes faded to pink.

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