Powerful Bodies

The Powerful Bodies Zulu Arts of Personal Adornment exhibit at the Fowler Museum at UCLA was phenominal. The pieces on display were made by the Zulu tribe in South Africa from the 19th century. The display of culture allowed you to understand the lives of the Zulu people. Though curated and displayed as art, you appreciate the significance behind each piece.

In Fashion and Identity, Campbell explains what individuals “use and display ‘say something’ about who they are.” The dress of the Zulus was described as an extension of their own identities, as well as their ancestors. Their dress was not only for political status among the tribe but also used by women who would make a loin covering for a man to show their marital potential. Each piece was handmade and symbol of status. After doing some research on the Zulu people it is easy to see the influence the English had on the tribe. The belts, neck and chest pieces, loin coverings, jewelry, etc. were forever changed due to beads, buttons, metals and other materials brought over from England. The more beads, detail, design and color used represented class or worth among the Zulus.

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IMG_4659It is interesting to see the differences in cultures. I gained a great understanding of the Zulu culture and appreciate all that it represents. Our bodies communicate to each other worth, class, and identities, and the Zulus were very expressive in through their dress and adornments.

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One comment

  1. how is it easy to see the influence of british?

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