Indiana University Bloomington IU Bloomington IUB

Skirt and Belt

Field collected in 2004, this is an example of Yei (also written Yeyi) women’s traditional dress, consisting of an antelope hide back skirt topped by a beaded belt with hanging panels. Such ensembles were given to girls at puberty by their grandmothers and worn on special occasions. Though making the hide skirt was a male task, the beaded belt was made by a woman. The use of black and white beads arranged in triangular and diamond-shaped motifs, frequently featuring the repetition of similar motifs in alternating colors is typical. Though most of the beads are imported, strands of ostrich-eggshell beads are also included. These beads were made by nearby San peoples, who traded them to the Yei.

Yei peoples, Botswana
Skirt and Belt
Before 1960
Antelope hide, glass beads, ostrich shell beads, sinew, fiber, cloth, button
Skirt: W. 31 ¼ in. (79.4 cm); apron (waistband): W. 31 ½ in. (80.0 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Museum purchase with funds from the Class of 1949 Endowed Curatorship for the Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas, 2011.3