Old Large Samburu Wedding Necklace – Mporo Engorio – Kenya
Old glass beads, palm fibers. Approx. cm. 33,5 x cm. 27,0 (13.19″ x 10.63″).
These beaded collars were traditionally given to Samburu women upon marriage. Beads communicate social status for both Samburu women & men. A Samburu warrior describes a beautiful girl as someone who has beaded necklaces all the way up to her chin di lei. Since most girls get married at the age of fourteen to sixteen, they start collecting necklaces at the age of 7-8. And by the age of marriage they have a substantial collection.
The Samburu, a Nilotic people of north-central Kenya, are semi-nomadic pastoralists who herd mainly cattle but also keep sheep, goats and camels. Samburu religion traditionally focuses on their multi-faceted divinity (Nkai). Nkai (a feminine noun), plays an active role in the lives of contemporary Samburu. It is not uncommon for children and young people, especially women, to report visions of Nkai. Some of these children prophesy for some period of time and a few gain a reputation for prophecy throughout their lives. Besides these spontaneous prophets, Samburu have ritual diviners, or shamans, called ‘loibonok’ who divine the causes of individual illnesses and misfortune, and guide warriors.
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