A "cache sexe" is a garment worn to hide the genitalia (the literal translation of the term is "hide sex"). These garments exist in several cultures, but a common type in African cultures is the apron variety, sometimes called a "modesty apron." Among some Cameroon groups, women wore only these caches sexes until the early 1960s, when new government restrictions required women to be fully clothed. The tradition continues, though, through the wearing of similar beaded objects.
The caches sexes originally worn by the Matakam (Kirdi) women of northern Cameroon were made of small iron strips, held in place by a fiber belt. Today, beaded aprons have replaced iron ones, and they tend to be worn only on special occasions, such as marriages or presentations of a new-born child. The geometric patterns on these brightly-colored aprons reflect designs shared by several neighboring African peoples, including the nomadic Fulani. They are an example of how African traditions are maintained in altered forms.
In the 1990s, a glamour magazine featured several of these beaded aprons wrapped around a super model! So, don't be afraid to use these as a fashion accessory. They also make great wall hangings and coffee table art, as well as great conversation pieces for your retail business. Any way you look at it, they are a testament to quality African craftsmanship.
African Beaded Apron with Cowrie Shells
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Beaded modesty apron with cowrie shells, 8" height x 24" wide. These beaded articles of tribal clothing are also known as cache sexe, cache tous (hide-all), and pikuran.