Hand Made Gifts, Unique Hand Crafted Home Goods, FAIR TRADE

African Double Wreath with Small Centre Ball Wreath Christmas Decortation

Zulu Green & Red Triangles Double Wreath Christmas Ornament
Zulu Green & Red Triangles Double Wreath Christmas Ornament
Item# CW4

Product Description

Zulu Green & Red Triangles Double Wreath Christmas Ornament

Length: 5 inches
Width: 4 inch

Hand Made in South Africa

This beautiful handcrafted Christmas Ornament is handmade in South Africa, by the Zulu women using traditional weaving and beading techniques. The wreath is shaped out of wire and beaded with green and red African Glass beads. Each one is unique - one of a kind, all slightly different interpretation of the many different women that make them. The color, design and pattern may vary slightly but the quality is never compromised. These stunning wreath ornaments are a necessity on any tree.

About Zulu Beadwork.

To appreciate the true significance of traditional Zulu beadwork, however, one has to understand how effectively the Zulu have integrated social values into their arts and crafts. Traditional colors, color combinations and patterns are still found in modern Zulu beadwork but the real eloquence is rapidly subsiding under the pressures of urbanization and culture change.

Traditional Zulu beadwork, arguably one of the most singular examples of this craft, was at one time far more than a merely decorative art of weaving small glass beads into aesthetically pleasing patterns. These designs were a surprisingly articulate vehicle of communication that helped to regulate behavior between individuals of opposite gender.

The spirit and rhythm of Africa is expressed in vibrant color in this unique art form. All the ethnic groups in South Africa place high value in beads, which at one time were used as currency with which to trade hardware and foodstuff.

The Zulu people are renowned for their exquisite and intricate beadwork, much of which is symbolic in nature – each color and design having its own meaning, for example the traditional Love Letters which carry “messages” from the heart.

Add a Unique Christmas Ornament


African Beaded Gold/Silver Candy Cane - Boxed

Tree size :
Height: 5 inches
Length: 1 ¾ inches
Width: 1/4 inch

Hand Made in South Africa.

The candy cane is shaped out of wire covered with material and then beaded with gold and silver African Glass beads.

The "Christmas Project" began as a means of developing existing talents and to provide employment for a group of Zulu women in the remote Mfekayi area of Northern Zululand. The women meet once a fortnight to sell their work and re-stock their beads. The demand for the little beaded tree ornaments has created a "success" story for this group of rural women, who previously has no means of regular income, or opportunity to sell their wares.

Box size :
Height: 1/4 inch Length: 8 inches Width: 3 ½ inches

About Zulu Beadwork

Beads and beadwork have been an important part of the culture of southeast Africa for hundreds of years, perhaps for millennia. They have been used by archaeologists to date the ancient ruins of Mapungubwe and Zimbabwe, by historians to provide evidence of trading activities and contacts with other civilizations and cultures, and by anthropologists who have recognized Zulu beadwork as an important social regulator and index of status within the society. Curiously enough, however, Zulu beadwork, acknowledged to be among the finest in Africa, has received very little attention as an artistic expression.

African beadwork is a strong part of the Zulu tradition and the tradition of many other African tribes. Trade in beads began hundreds of years ago, probably even before the days of Henry Francis Fynn - the first European settler to settle in Natal in 1824. These beads came to be highly valued by the Zulu tribes who then started to add them to many different items and even weaved into them messages which were then sent to friends and lovers.

Beads were probably first traded in Africa during the time of the Egyptians, Sumerians and Chaldeans about three thousand years ago. Since the Zulu people could not make these themselves they came to value them highly and used them to craft many different items and also as a means of communication.

The patterns and colors used to create Zulu beadwork contained specific messages and symbols. They were used to show whether a girl was single, engaged to be married or a new mother.

Glass beads are a by-product of the discovery of glass, which occurred in Egypt during the rule of the pharaohs some 30 centuries ago. Egyptian glass beads were transported by the Phoenicians from the Nile Delta to every port along the North African coast and the ancient Negro kingdoms of West and Central Africa. The Arabs succeeded the Phoenicians as traders and continued to supply beads to Africans along the East Coast. To this day, red cornelian beads of Indian origin are washed out on South Africa's shores from ancient Arab vessels that fell victim to storms and sank.

Glass beads were valued in Africa, not because Africans were duped into believing them to be precious stones, but because they were the products of an exotic technology, of which the equivalent was unknown in sub-Saharan Africa at that time. Beads, therefore, became precious in their own right and were crafted into a variety of objects to be worn according to custom, and as a token of social status, political importance and for personal adornment. What makes Zulu beadwork unique is the code by which particular colours are selected and combined in various decorative geometrical designs in order to convey messages. The geometric shapes themselves have particular significance and the craft itself forms a language devoted entirely to the expression of ideas, feelings and facts related to behavior and relations between the sexes. The Zulu beadwork language is deceptively simple: it uses one basic geometric shape, the triangle, and seven basic colors. The triangle's 3 corners represent father, mother and child. A triangle pointing down represents and unmarried woman; pointing up it represents an unmarried man. Two triangles joined at their bases represented a married woman, while two triangles joined at their points, in an hourglass shape, represent a married man.

Add a Unique Christmas Ornament

African Beaded Gold/Silver Candy Cane - Boxed BCO11