Necklace

Necklace

1800s

Glass beads, bone, sinew

Overall: 38.1 cm (15 in.)

Gift of Dori and Daniel Rootenberg in memory of Estelle Rosenberg 2010.231

Fun Fact

Large red glass beads like the ones in this necklace were reserved for the Nguni elite.

Description

When wild game was still plentiful in the region, real animal claws would have been used to punctuate beaded prestige necklaces. Lion-claw necklaces were the exclusive property of royalty while the bone imitations were owned and worn by high-ranking individuals of lesser status. Large red glass beads were also reserved for the Nguni elite in the period before the destruction of the Zulu kingdom in 1879.

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