I have always loved African beadwork, not just for the colours, but for their inspiring and imaginative construction and patterns.The individual beads used are not in themselves interesting. Each is just a coloured bead. But as with good designers, it is how those beads are used that counts.

The Dinka are farmers and cattle herders from southern Sudan. The men are noted for their outstanding beaded adornments. The necklace at the left comprises of several strands which collectively makes the design larger than is possible with such small beads. The focal part of the design is achieved with slightly larger beads placed at the low point of the "vee". Without these larger beads, the design would just be a simple multi-strand necklace but with them, the necklace becomes eye-catching.

The most curious Dinka beadwork is the tight-fitting male corset. The design again plays on the "vee" pattern. The small beads form large bands of colour when used effectively together.

These garments are not just colourful but they also convey a message, a little like the Zulu beads For the Dinka, certain colours relate to the man's age group. Yellow, for instance is for men past thirty.

I think women everywhere would appreciate some scheme which denotes if men are single, married or divorced!!

Wikipedia : Dinka

Lois Sherr Dubin (1987). History of Beads : 30,000 years to present. Harry N. Abrams Inc.