The Cleveland Museum of Art

Collection Online as of October 20, 2016

Apron, 1800s-1900s

leather, glass beads, sinew, Overall: h. 35.60 cm (14 inches). Leonard C. Hanna, Jr. Fund 2010.206

This is an exquisite example of a rare type of swallowtail-shaped apron worn by young female initiates until the mid-19th century. On the upper portion, the black beads were applied in such a way that they can be read as a human face or even as a full figure. In fact, the overall form of the apron can be viewed as representing the lower torso and legs of a woman with a neatly marked pubic region.

Cleveland Museum of Art, (4/16/11-2/26/12); "The Art of Daily Life: Portable Objects from Southeast Africa" cat. no. 72

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