Spencer Museum of Art The University of Kansas

Welcome to the Spencer Collection

mapoto (apron)
  • unknown Ndebele maker
  • mapoto (apron), late 1800s–1982
  • Where object was made: Dennilton, Transvaal province, Union of South Africa (present-day Mpumalanga province, South Africa)
  • leather, beading
  • Object Length/Width: 53 x 48 cm
    Object Length/Width: 20 7/8 x 18 7/8 in
  • Gift of Reinhild Janzen
  • Not on display
  • 2007.0301
Label Text

This is a long trapezoid-shaped leather apron. The top few inches are doubled over to form a short flap. Black, white, translucent yellow, and dark blue beads are whipstitched along three-quarters of the top edge. There is a band of white beads with a thin line of medium blue beads at the loose edge. The bottom of the apron has two tabs and a stretch of leather fringe between. The fringe has a band of beading at the top in black, dark blue, black, white, and green. Medium blue beads at the loose ends of the fringe bind the fringe into clusters. The large panel of the apron and the tabs at the bottom have a thick border of white beads. There are two thick bands of white above the tabs and fringe. There are oblique lines, oriented to the center of the top white line, in dark blue outlined in black, green outlined in black then white, and translucent medium blue outlined in black. There are three blocks of color between the two bands of white at the bottom: green outlined in black, dark blue outlined in black, and solid black. Each tab also has a block of color: facing left has a light purple block with a black outline and facing right has a translucent medium blue block outlined in black. Most of the apron is edged in dark blue beads.

It is less formal than the jocolo (also an apron), and both indicate that a woman is married.