Mandari girls wearing bead ornaments

Mandari girls wearing bead ornaments
56 x 56 mm | Negative film nitrate
Date of Print:
Previous PRM Number:

Accession Number:
A portrait of two Mandari girls wearing strings of beads around their necks. Girls wore a number of different ornaments for decorative purposes, often given to them by a favourite youth who was courting them. One of the bead strings on the girl to the left looks like a rosary. There was reciprocity in matters of adornment, with girls likewise gifting youths with items for display. A girl might also wear the beads of a favourite youth around the waist, indicating the age set and status of her admirer, although girls had no age sets of their own. Their hair is styled in a similar manner to the youths, trimmed and shaved around the sides, and they have a number of V-shaped decorative scars on the forehead, a practice both sexes have adopted from the Dinka, although without the connotations or ritual of initiation which accompany such markings among that group. The girl to the right also has lines of dotted decorative scarification on her abdomen.
Jean Carlile Buxton
Date of Photo:
1950 - 1952
[Southern Sudan] Bahr el Jebel Tali
PRM Source:
Ronald Carlile Buxton via Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology
Donated 1988
Other Owners:
Jean Buxton Collection
Ornament , Toilet , Body Art
Ornament Neck , Hair , Body Art Head , Body Art Skin
See Related Documents File. Buxton field notebooks in Tylor Library.
Other Information:
In Some Notes on the Mandari of Equatoria Province, A.E. Sudan, (typescript notebook of c.1951 in Tylor Library, Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Oxford), book I, page 33,35, Jean Buxton notes that 'As with the youths, girls wear a large number of necklaces, bracelets, arm bands and ear rings. There is a good deal of reciprocity between the sexes in matters of decorations; a girl will give small tokens to a lover or favourite. In the same way a beautiful girl will always be well supplied with trinkets...The old Mandari marking was a triple row of small dots above the eyes and across the forehead, which was sometimes continued in a curve round the eye sockets and on the cheek bones...but which has been replaced among the younger Mandari by the long radiating cuts of the Dinka. These marks are common to men and women, and, unlike those done in the Dinka tribes, have nothing to do with initiation, nor have they any ritual or social significance apart from decoration.' [Chris Morton 2/11/2004]
Christopher Morton 2/11/2004 [Southern Sudan Project]
Funded by Arts and Humanities Research Council
Help | About | Bibliography