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World Cultures ➔ Wedding Necklace

This type of wedding necklace, also known as an engarewa, is made by Maasai women of Southern Kenya. Beaded jewelry has been made by the Maasai people since before the first contact with Europeans. At this time, they used natural materials such as clay, wood, bone, copper, and brass to create the accessories. When trade with Europeans started in the late 1800s, glass beads became the more popular material. The colors and structure of the necklaces can indicate a person's age, social status, marital status, and even whether a woman has given birth to a boy or a girl. Listed below are some examples of what certain colors represent. 

Red: bravery and strength
Blue: energy and the sky
Green: health and the land
Orange and Yellow: friendliness
White: purity
Black: the people of the Maasai tribe and their struggles

Beads, Leather, Wire
13" h
Current Location Status:
Education Program
Collection Tier:
Tier 3
Museum Purchase
Discovery Kit: Jewelry (October 14 2019)

Discovery Kits include a variety of artifacts and specimens from the Museum’s Collection that allow students to investigate global and local objects. The Collections support the Museum’s mission of inspiring curiosity and discovery around science, history, and culture. Each kit includes objects from the Museums archives, helpful resources and suggested activities. Discovery Kits are a great way for teachers to incorporate primary source and object-based learning into the classroom or as a way to prepare for or extend a Museum visit.

Related Entity:
Bayard Gallery of Fine African-American Art (donor)