Ndbele Ishogolo (Wedding Apron)
Beadwork among the Ndebele is relatively recent, developing in the late nineteenth century in response to their defeat by the Boers. Their subsequent dispersal and relocation into ethnic homelands threatened to undermine cultural identity. Through beading, Ndebele women became the guardians of culture, communicating ethnic identity to outsiders and reinforcing social status and identity within. Abstracted images from daily life and from the village environment are the basis for Ndebele design. Frequent modern motifs include houses (see the isholgolo hanging here), telephone poles, double-edged razor blades, airplanes, and letters as abstract forms.
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