Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
Seattle Art Museum (SAM)


Photo: Paul Macapia


20th century

Turkana women call these ngide or "child" and tend to them as if they are babies. When a girl matures, she is often given a doll by her parents, with the father contributing the form out of palm nuts or wood and the mother dressing it. Some are created by girls who desire children, while others are used by women who have not been able to bear their own. Successful dolls can be passed on to younger sisters. These accumulations of beads are true to the Turkana preference for red, white and blue patterning, with occasional yellow additions.
Gourd, glass beads, fiber, leather, and horn
10 x 2 1/2 in. (25.4 x 6.3 cm)
Diam.: 8 in.
L.: 25 in.
Gift of Katherine White and the Boeing Company
Photo: Paul Macapia
Not currently on view


Exhibition HistoryBellevue, Washington, Bellevue Art Museum, The Ubiquitous Bead, September 5 - October 25, 1987

Seattle, Washington, Seattle Art Museum, A Bead Quiz, July 1, 2008 - July 1, 2009
Published ReferencesBurt, Eugene C., East African Art in the Collection of the Seattle Art Museum, Seattle, WA: Seattle Art Museum, 1985, no. 2, p. 9

Stewart, Marilyn G. and Eldon Katter; A Global Pursuit, 2009 Davis Publications, pg. 23, Fig. 1-25

Seattle Art Museum acknowledges that we are on the traditional homelands of the Duwamish and the customary territories of the Suquamish and Muckleshoot Peoples. As a cultural and educational institution, we honor our ongoing connection to these communities past, present, and future. We also acknowledge the urban Native peoples from many Nations who call Seattle their home.