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The Learning Gallery Presents: The Cameroon Beaded Apron

Little scholarship exists on these beaded garments. Bana Guili women wear dibul kouana, or beaded pubic-coverings during initiation, wedding celebrations, and other important ceremonies. Sources refers to women’s beaded garments of northwest Cameroon as pikuran. They are worn for protection against harmful spirits, and to display various stages of personal identity and social ties.

When Cameroon gained political independence in 1961, the government banned women’s public display of beaded aprons throughout the country. They continue to wear them, however, in remote areas less subject to government intervention. Since the 1980s, beaded aprons have shifted in design and scale. Recent examples are larger, include representational motifs, and patterns appear less improvised.

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