Vintage Maasai Tribe leather beaded skirt, apron and belt Kenya 1950s. A collection of three pieces as a bundle. Plus a second set (not pictured) with less beads and slightly more damaged. The skirt and apron would have been part of a woman's attire. Note the very rustic quality of the belt buckle.They were still used in the 1950s and 60s or thereabouts but in some cases made well before then. Still in use' in the sense that tradition persisted and western clothing had not yet taken preference. Many of these garments were kept for decades and can be found on the tourist circuits of East Africa and in galleries.
The Masai were not the only ethnic group to use garments in this style. The Kikuyu also used very similar looking skirts (known as muthuru) and aprons (Gicoco).
The skirts did not always circumscribe the waist with a nice overlap so the apron (the smaller of the two garments) was worn over the pelvic area as a modesty panel. Apparently tradition among the kikuyu saw the apron worn whether it served a functional purpose or not as it was compulsory wear for uninitiated women. The Kikuyu only used sheep skin while the Masai used mainly goat skin. Based on the colour and texture of these garments my guess is that these are goat which would confirm them as Masai.My comments about the origins or use of these garments are made with reservation as I don't claim to be an anthropologist or expert on traditional attire. I have used luxuriously beaded versions of these as wall hangings but the ones for sale here are no less impressive in their colour, a beautiful rich red of some of the African soils. I have bought Masai (goatskin) versions in the past near Ngorongoro and Lake Manyara so my experience is also personal and first hand. There are a few caveats to the ownership of these pieces. They are not tanned in the conventional sense so they are very rustic in finish without any shine or the like. They have been stored in conditions where insects have had a go at the leather Please see the photos. I can't guarantee that it is free from microscopic creatures. Contact me if you would like me to do something about this before posting, otherwise I'll send as is. The beading is not complete and there is some bead loss, due to age. This is possibly necessary against fungus if not small animals. They have been in some cases and the photos do convey most but not all of the quirks of this type of collectable. Item is insured, tracked and signed for. This item is in the category "Collectables\Ethnographic Collectables\African Collectables". The seller is "sure-7790" and is located in this country: GB. This item can be shipped to United Kingdom, Antigua and Barbuda, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Australia, United States, Bahrain, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, China, Israel, Hong Kong, Norway, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, Singapore, Korea, South, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Bangladesh, Belize, Bermuda, Bolivia, Barbados, Brunei Darussalam, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Egypt, Guernsey, Gibraltar, Guadeloupe, Grenada, French Guiana, Iceland, Jersey, Jordan, Cambodia, Saint Kitts-Nevis, Saint Lucia, Liechtenstein, Sri Lanka, Macau, Monaco, Maldives, Montserrat, Martinique, Nicaragua, Oman, Pakistan, Paraguay, Reunion, Turks and Caicos Islands, Aruba, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, United Arab Emirates, Ukraine, Chile, Bahamas, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Honduras, Jamaica, Kuwait, Panama, Philippines, Qatar, El Salvador, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay, Russian Federation.