The Dinka wear beaded corsets to indicate their age group and position.
The glass beads and wire used in making such corsets are imported products, making the outfits considerable status symbols and show prestige.
The Dinka language and culture is based on cattle herding. Courtship among the Dinka occurs primarily at dry season cattle
camps, which are run by the young men and women.
The most prized possessions among the Dinka, except for their cattle, are their traditional beaded corsets. These striking garments are worn at all times, being removed only
upon marriage or age progression, when they are removed.
The red beads on this one indicate that it was worn by someone between 15-25 years of age.
The women's corsets are called Alual and are sometimes of a looser,
bodice style. They are often decorated with cowrie shells, which are believed
to promote fertility. The pattern of the beads indicates the wealth of the girl's
family, as well as the bride price expected to be paid, in cattle, by the
PROVENANCE: Diane and Sandy Besser Collection, Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Ex-Bonhams (African, Oceanic and Pre-Columbian Art #21022, lot 173). (Sold for $2000).
Ex Robert and Nancy Nooter.
Height: 28" on its 14" w x 10" d stand.