Ndebele Dolls



When the concept of "doll" is considered in the context of African culture, they are usually not children's playthings, but rather objects that are laden with ritual and religious associations within the community. African dolls are used to teach, and entertain, they are supernatural intermediaries, and they are manipulated for ritual purposes.

Linga Koba Doll

These dolls are from the Ndebele tribe in Southern Africa. One of the smallest tribes of the region, the Ndebele are noted for their extraordinarily beautifully painted homes of brilliant colors that stand out like jewels in the drab countryside. Their clothing is similarly colorful. The bead work on these Ndebele dolls is as detailed as the clothing of the women themselves.

During courtship, a suitor will place a doll outside a young woman's hut, indicating his intention to propose marriage to her.

When a young woman is preparing to marry, she is given a doll that she names and cares for. Her first child is then named for the doll.

In addition to strengthening the Ndebele cultural identity, the beaded Ndebele dolls are now an important export item and much needed source of income for the Ndebele women.





Ndebele Bride Doll

Ndebele Bride Doll

The traditional Ndebele bride wears a beaded train which hangs from her shoulders. Her face is covered by a beaded veil. Her skirt has five panels which symbolize the five head of cattle her family will receive as a bride price.

15" Tall. $96.00

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Ndebele Initiation Doll

This Ndebele doll is in the traditional dress of a married woman. The style of the apron indicates that she has born a child in wedlock and symbolizes her status as a parent.

18" Tall. $78.00


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Ndebele Initiation Doll
Ndebele Maiden Doll

Ndebele Maiden Doll

The style of apron on the Ndebele doll signifies that the girl has undergone her puberty rites and is of marriageable age. A beaded black hoop around her waist would indicate that she is engaged to be married.

10" Tall. $54.00

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