Beaded Necklace - Nupe People - Nigeria
The large central biconical bronze bead
surrounded by smaller bronze beads was
not a necklace, but worn around the women's hips with the"wagon wheel" on the back. African Waist Beads convey several different meanings depending on the location and age of the female wearer. Varying bead colors, bead sizes and shapes are used in tandem to show age or social stature and even achievements accomplished during life. In West Africa, females are given waist beads at a very early age to wear throughout their lifetimes to aid in shaping their hip contours.
As adults, African women generally wear their waist beads under their clothing and only show them to their spouses as a romantic offering.