Image Gallery → Marital Status

  • Wedding Cape
  • Married Woman's Belt
  • Bride's Apron
  • Dance Staff
  • Dance Staff
  • Gala Blanket
  • Man's Wedding Apron
  • Bridal Walking Stick
  • Beaded Panel
  • Beaded Panel
  • Beaded Panel
  • Beaded Panel
  • Beaded Panel
  • Beaded Panel
  • Beaded Panel
  • Beaded Panel
  • Beaded Panel
  • Beaded Panel
  • Man's Back Tie
  • Beaded Panel
  • Beaded Panel Pin
Dance Staff

Dance Staff (ithelefonu)

Ndebele People
South Africa
Dance Staff (ithelefonu)
20th Century
Wood, glass beads
Gift of Caroline Popper
2004.33.9

Brides carry scepter-like staffs in wedding ceremonies, as do initiates, raising them in the air as they dance. In the past the staffs were covered with purely white beads, but this one includes the dark patterns preferred in the mid-20th century. Telephone pole motifs for staffs were popular in the 1960s to signify the bride’s aspiration for a modern lifestyle, as well as the status and wealth associated with acquiring modern luxury goods.

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