Iraqw Beaded Skirt - Tanzania

Elaborately beaded and painstakingly constructed, this type of hide skirt was created by young Iraqw girls as part of their initiation into the secret women's society known as Marmo. Refashioned by its wearer from hide that initially served as a ritual robe, the skirt bears designs in a visual code known only to Marmo initiates. In its original context, such a robe would have been worn with equally elaborate necklaces, bracelets, and anklets.

Exhibited in Black Womanhood, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH, Davis Museum, Wellesley College, Wellesley MA, San Diego Museum of Art, CA.
Published in Black Womanhood, Barbara Thompson, page 113.

Hide, glass beads, sinew, metal
Mid-20th century
W: 56"
Ex private New York collection
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