Ceremonial usage of clays for body painting according to traditional Xhosa culture

This article presents an analytical critique of the uses of clays for body painting and its ceremonial and ritual significance among the Xhosa of OR Tambo District in Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. It reports on an ethnographic study conducted to distinguish between the various functions and reasons for the practice. Samples of clays used for ceremonial and ritual body paintings were analysed to determine their physico-chemical and mineralogical properties. The main objective was to investigate whether there is merit in this traditional practice. Using standard laboratory techniques, physico-chemical properties of the clay samples were determined. The identified properties indicate that traditional usage of clays for body paintings by the Xhosa can have positive health effects. Bibliogr., sum. [Journal abstract, edited]

Title: Ceremonial usage of clays for body painting according to traditional Xhosa culture
Editor: Mpako, Mombeko Penelope
Year: 2011
Periodical: Indilinga: African Journal of Indigenous Knowledge Systems
Volume: 10
Issue: 2
Pages: 235-244
Language: English
Geographic term: South Africa
External link: https://hdl.handle.net/10520/EJC61394
Abstract: This article presents an analytical critique of the uses of clays for body painting and its ceremonial and ritual significance among the Xhosa of OR Tambo District in Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. It reports on an ethnographic study conducted to distinguish between the various functions and reasons for the practice. Samples of clays used for ceremonial and ritual body paintings were analysed to determine their physico-chemical and mineralogical properties. The main objective was to investigate whether there is merit in this traditional practice. Using standard laboratory techniques, physico-chemical properties of the clay samples were determined. The identified properties indicate that traditional usage of clays for body paintings by the Xhosa can have positive health effects. Bibliogr., sum. [Journal abstract, edited]