Beaded collar and snuff bottle


Beadwork ornamentation and accessories were once ubiquitous in southern African societies. Worn by both men and women in dazzling, layered ensembles, they clothed the body, caught the eye, and reflected social status.

The pair of pieces offered here represent a typical portion of everyday ornament for the Zulu and Xhosa. They are particularly fine and old, crafted with very small glass beads and preserved in excellent condition. A classic regional color scheme of pink, green, and black is shown to beautiful effect in their banded designs. While the broad collar was predominantly decorative, possibly crafted and given to the wearer as a token of affection by an admirer, the snuff container would have seen continual use in a social milieu that heavily emphasized the mood-altering effects of tobacco.

Late 19th Century
Glass beads, sinew, fiber, wood
Collar: Width: 15 in, Snuff container: Width (of bottle): 3 ½ in

Private UK collection

Item Number:
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