Image Gallery → Marital Status
Beaded Panel (isibebe)
Bangeleni (MaMkize) Hlongwa, e Mamulu Chief Cele
Beaded Panel (isebebe)
Museum Purchase with Harn General Program Endowment Funds
The impact of schooling and literacy can be seen in beadwork used for marriage negotiation. In this panel, the letter A is legible but other marks seem to indicate that the beadmaker had some knowledge of the alphabet but only incorporated semblances of letters as decoration. It is possible that the colors were symbolic, and corresponded to older color sequences. For example, the use of white as a symbol of purity and the use of yellow and orange to represent wealth, and intensity of feeling. However, this isibebe is a rare example of the transition of the older visual style of beadwork and the later style that incorporated only text.