Friday, October 8, 2010

New Exhibit! From Head to Toe: African Adornment

Bronze Bracelet - Nigeria

Jacaranda Tribal is pleased to announce a new exhibition, "From Head to Toe: African Adornment."  

Highlighting the African tradition of adornment, the show features objects for sale from Jacaranda Tribal's collection. The African tradition of adornment is a strong and beautiful display of a rich and storied cultural history. For African people, adornment is not just beautifully crafted decoration, but conveys values, beliefs and status. These ornaments play vital roles in the ritual and ceremonies of many African cultures. 

African adornment is most often associated with ivory and beadwork, however ornamentation extends beyond jewelry to include hats, belts, amulets, scarves, hairpins and more. 

Piercing and exaggerated forms are a popular element of adornment amongst most African tribes. The lips, noses and ear of both men and women are pierced so that they may wear ornaments to enhance their features, to show their tribal identity, and to protect them from dangers such as evil and supernatural forces. Increasingly larger discs (usually circular and composed of clay or wood) are inserted into a pierced hole, effectively stretching it. The pair of colorful and decorative ear plugs offered for sale by Jacaranda Tribal are made of soft wood with finely worked mosaic overlays. 

Also featured is a collection of decorative South African snuff containers. The taking of tobacco, either as snuff or for smoking, was a formal part of many feasts and considered an important communal event. Among southern African ethnic groups, tobacco has associations with procreation, and creating favorable conditions for growth and fertility. Many snuff containers, like the necklaces for sale in Head to Toe, were worn as ornaments and decorative extensions of the owner's costume. 

Highly representative and incredibly beautiful, African adornment exemplifies the fascinating culture and craftsmanship of the content. To view the exhibit, please visit

Zulu Beaded Belt - South Africa
Sotho Straw Hats - Lesotho
Ivory Lip Plate - Ethiopia

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