A few months back, I went to the Indianapolis Museum of Art to see an exhibit called Material World. It features extravagantly embellished garments from around the globe that show how clothing is used to convey power, status and wealth. Fascinating stuff, and beautifully curated.
I discovered something in this show that I had somehow never heard of or seen before–beaded aprons! At one time in parts of Africa, these would have been worn either with nothing else as a modesty apron, or over a garment. In either case, the aprons can denote age, marital status, social status, etc. These aprons were originally made of iron strips, but that changed after the introduction of glass beads.
Of course I didn’t have a camera with me at the museum (my photos tend to be lousy anyway), but I’ve been lucky enough to find two websites featuring photos of beaded aprons, the gracious owners of which told me I could share the pictures with you, dear reader. I thank Elizabeth Bennett of Africadirect.com and Ann Porteus from sidewalktribal.com.au. (By the way, both websites sell these aprons, and Ann also has a killer collection of photos of artifacts on her flickr account.)