X91.1640 Beaded necklace

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Beaded necklace
Yoruba peoples
Cloth, leather, glass beads, string
92 cm (36.2 in)
Fowler Museum at UCLA. Gift of Diane and Ron Ziskin. X91.1640


This necklace may be complete if we take the fourteen solid forms defining the stranded sections plus two miniature bags to make sixteen. Patterns and colors repeat beaded cylinders on the left and right side of the necklace but the multistrand beads between them vary throughout, perhaps referring to odu and diverse forces. One pair of dividers is in the form of beaded gourds, suggesting vials of power. The pouches are detailed with complex interlaces, checkerboard designs , and faces with large eyes. The beaded fringe and more intricate design of one indicates it is the ude isale (chest pouch).

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 236