L'esprit du voyage

Unearthing the messages behind traditional jewellery

Devotion, bravery, status. Love, womanhood, marriage. Unity of family, harmony of community and balance of nature.

These are just a handful of the core concepts the Maasai people hold in high regard. Though ideas circulate amongst generations, consolidated by the advice of mothers and the command of elders, nowhere is social value granted a more elegant expression than in the art of beadwork undertaken by the women of each community.  Women of the Maasai have the age-old habit of gathering together before, after and in-between their daily chores to craft beautiful jewellery. More so than simply pursuing aesthetical quality, these women make jewellery to the ends of social and personal expression, and the grandest meanings can be found in the tiniest motifs. From the length of a pendant to the color of an ornament each piece of jewellery is rife with symbolism; so rife, in fact, that an insider can even tell a woman’s status by observing it.

The talented Maasai women pour their love and care into their beaded work. Every necklace is unique. Do you ever wonder what meaning can be attributed to your own Lotusland piece? We thought it’d be cool to do a little investigation into the motifs of Maasai jewellery – let’s find out!