Jewelries are an integral cultural aspect of the Maasai tribal community. It not only beautiful but it is also a means of expression as well as it gives an individual a sense of identity.
The jewelry design and color indicates the sub-group a person is from. It also indicates the status of a Maasai woman whether she is Single, engaged or married.
It is considered the duty of every Maasai women to learn the jewelry making craft.
All the tribes beadwork is made by the women but is worn by both women and men. Jewelry among the Maasai are made in different colors. the design and pattern are the one that marks and differentiate the status. The beadwork an individual wears will signify their age and social status. Generally individuals of high social standing will wear more colorful and intricate jewelry. The colors used in the beadwork are selected for their beauty. The colors are also symbolic and have important meanings understood by the tribe. Often these meanings have an association with cattle, which is the Maasai’s main food source and for which they have a deep connection. For instance: –
Red – stands for bravery, unity, and blood. Red is the color of cows blood. Often a cow is slaughtered when the Maasai meet and therefore unity is associated with red. And during important community ceremonies like Initiation
White – represents peace, purity, and health. The association with health comes from white cows milk which the tribe drinks to stay healthy. Milk that comes from cows is considered pure as it is milked directly from them.
Blue – represents energy and the sky. Rain falls from the blue sky which provides water for the cattle and makes the grasses that cow feed on to grow.
Orange – Symbolizes hospitality. The association with cattle is that visitors are served cows milk from orange gourds.
Yellow – like orange yellow also symbolizes hospitality. The animal skins from cattle which guests lie on are usually Yellow
Green – symbolizes health and land. Cattle graze on the green grass of the land.
Black – represents the people and the struggles they must endure
Our Maasai/masai jewelries are all made using the traditional Masai jewelry making skills, passion and culture. Each one is unique, handmade and tell a story of a woman behind the scene. Every purchase places a book in the hand of a girl. We believe emancipation of African girls from bondage of unfair cultural practices that favor boy child over girls.
The are available at www.africancraftsvillage.com