What is the meaning of Zulu beadwork?

- Oct 11, 2018-

Though Zulu beadwork can be purchased by tourists, its traditional use is as a form of communication between men and women. Beading was done by women and usually taught to them as girls by their mother or an older sister.

The colors and designs of a woman’s beaded jewelry communicates her home, family, marriage status, and dozens of other messages. Often, Zulu women will help men interpret another woman’s jewelry.

Zulu beads are made in the shape of a triangle, which represents a family of man, woman, and child. The meaning of the beadwork depends on the size, orientation, arrangement, and color of the beads.