X78.2150a Beaded necklace

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Beaded necklace
Yoruba peoples
Leather, cloth, glass beads, cotton thread
93.5 cm (36 in)
Fowler Museum at UCLA. Gift of Helen and Dr. Robert Kuhn. X78.2150a


In this necklace (probably incomplete), the birds may be a referenced to ancient diviners, many of whom are likened to birds who are renowned for their “talkativeness.” Alternatively, the birds may suggest the presence of “our mothers,” spiritually powerful women often implicated in the knotty situations that life presents. The complexity of decision in life is perhaps suggested by the complex interlace design of ins and outs and ups and downs that have no beginning or end.

Source: Drewal, H., Mason, J. (1998). “Beads, Body, and Soul – Art and Light in the Yoruba Universe”, Los Angeles: UCLA Fowler Museum of Cultural History. page 235