Powerful Bodies: Zulu Arts of Personal Adornment

At The Fowler Museum at UCLA I went to Powerful Bodies Zulu Arts of Personal Adornment exhibit. During the nineteenth century those that we refer to as “Zulu” (the isiZulu speaking people) really cherished personal adornment and they emphasized that wearing personal items really emphasized status and power. The men and women loved to wear things that would accentuate what they called a “zone of power”. For example they wore beaded fringes and belts to highlight their reproductive organs or necklaces to draw attention to their heads. Looking in on today’s consumer we technically are no different as people still love to adorn their bodies with items that show off their status and/or identity. The fashion has changed of course but in a way it is the same idea. People are less likely wearing something to accentuate a bodily “zone of power” where as most people see it as a status thing, showing off that they have money by wearing something over the top or dramatic.

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