Maasai Leather Bag – OLBENE – Kenya

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Maasai Leather Bag – OLBENE – Kenya

Leather, glass beads. The bag is approx. cm. 42,0 x 47,0 (16.53” x 18.50″).

Among the Maasai such bags are known as Olbene. Very often they would be embellished with glass beads forming elegant curves, vertical lines and other geometric motifs.  Olbene leather bags were used by women to hold water or other valuable belongs. These bags were  also passed down through generations to hold important objects that were collected by by their families.

Maasai are a Nilotic ethnic group inhabiting central and southern Kenya and northern Tanzania. The Maasai speak a Nilo-Saharan language. They inhabit the African Great Lakes region and arrived via the South Sudan. Most Nilotic speakers in the area, including the Maasai, the Samburu and the Kalenjin, are pastoralists, and are famous for their fearsome reputations as warriors and cattle-rustlers.

The Maasai and other groups in East Africa have adopted customs and practices from neighboring Cushitic-speaking groups, including the age set system of social organization, circumcision, and vocabulary terms.

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