Spencer Museum of Art The University of Kansas

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khomitshi (beaded panel)
  • unknown Ndebele maker
  • khomitshi (beaded panel), late 1900s–1979
  • Where object was made: Transvaal Province, Union of South Africa (present-day Mpumalanga province, South Africa)
  • rawhide, beading
  • Object Length/Width: 116 x 11.5 cm
    Object Length/Width: 45 5/8 x 4 1/2 in
  • Gift of Reinhild Janzen
  • Not on display
  • 2007.4199
Label Text

The panel of beadwork would be worn across the back, over the top of the beaded apron 2007.4198. At each end is a thin rawhide strip that would be used for tying. The beadwork does not have any backing sewn onto it and is entirely self-supporting. The design is made up of dark purple, dark green, black, white, orange, and dark blue beads. At the top is a thin strip of dark blue beads, then a single row of white beads. Below that is a wide strip with an intricate and asymmetrical design primarily in dark purple and green, with such patterns as triangles, trapezoids, stepped chevrons, and vertical bars separating sections of the design. Below that is another row of white, followed by a thin band of translucent orange beads. At the bottom edge is a white band of beadwork that has several small squares that are open, creating an eyelet effect. Within that band of white are small squares of green, orange, blue and red, with black outlines. On the very bottom edge are several horizontal bars in alternating green, orange, blue, and red, with black on either end of the bars.

This is worn layered with 2007.4198. Each village (or kraal) has its own color combination. Beaded garments identify the wearer's social and economic status, and place of origin.