RARE Mwila 'omba' Double Shell Necklace
Material: Leather, Impande Shell
Size: 8" (20cm) Wide x 9" (23cm) Tall (10" tall on stand)
Note :Custom Display Stand included.
The Mwila are semi-nomadic herdsmen living in the rugged and arid interior of southwestern Angola. They are related to, among others, the Himba, Ngambwe, Zemba, and Nhumbi scattered north, south, and west of the Kunene River. Because of the difficult terrain in which they live, decades of civil war, and their independent nature, these tribes have maintained many of their traditional ways through the turn of the new century. Among the distinctive customs of these peoples is the use of headrests, the smearing of their bodies with animal fat and ochre, and the maintaining of elaborate hairdos, particularly among women. Upon marriage, Mwila women traditionally wear their hair in dense, oiled tresses built up with red ochre and decorated with beads, buttons, and shells.
More on the Importance of Impande shells:
The Impande is a disk made from the spiraled end of a large marine shell such as Conus virgo or Conus turbo that used to be found in the Indian Ocean but became extremely scarce. These shell discs were very valuable trade objects and were often associated with areas that were influenced by the Portuguese traders from the 16th to the 19th centuries.
Impande were value by African and used as adornment and status symbols dating back far further than the 16th century though. Evidence of their importance is found in one of Zambias most important archeological sites, Ingombe Ilede, where Impande are found around the necks and waists of skeletons believed to date back to about 850 AD. It is noted from this archeological site that Impande were reserved for important members of society. Fagan (1964:23) describes: "The limbs of the bodies were swathed in copper bangles. Strings of gold, glass and shell..............(more)