Thursday, July 26, 2012

Zulu Love Letters


The Zulu people of South Africa have an incredibly rich history of adornment, their jewelry also acts as signifiers of life stages and relationship status. Young girls would make 'love letters' to give to boys who would wear them to show they were spoken for. These aren't just colorful patterns, they are able to be 'read' by one another. 

Each color means a different thing, and the patterns on diamonds and triangles also have significant meanings that the maker intends to express. They will also make for themselves a matching anklet/bracelet/necklace, showing to all that they are in love. Through a woman's jewelry one could read how old she was, if she was being courted or married, even if she was a widow. 

Their love for color and pattern carry over beautifully into basket weaving as well. I find it fascinating how many of the patterns seen here and the patterns of Native Americans are similar. Don't the baskets almost look like something you could find in New Mexico? 

images from: here, here, here, here, here, here, here

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful patterns!


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