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Pair of Earrings

Distinctive in appearance, Maasai jewelry emphasizes the use of imported glass beads, but other manufactured objects—here in the form of buttons—are frequently also incorporated. These earrings, which were worn by a woman, also illustrate the color complementarity that is a hallmark of Maasai aesthetics. Though meant to be worn together, one earring is not identical to the other; rather, the colors for one earring were chosen to complement those of the other, in order to create what was considered a balance between light and dark.

Maasai peoples, Kenya
Pair of Earrings
Mid-20th century
Glass beads, wire, metal, buttons
L. 11 in. (27.9 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Museum purchase with funds from the Jacqueline O'Brien Art Acquisitions Fund, 2009.7