Beaded Kirdi cache-sexes are female aprons that were created primarily to “hide the sex,” or genitalia, of girls and women. They were traditionally presented to a family upon the birth of a daughter, and they were worn on special occasions such as weddings and the presentation of newborn children. Some cache-sexes have clearly mended tears, and this may reflect the practice of tearing the cache-sexe on the wedding night, symbolizing the consummation of the marriage.
Kirdi cache-sexes are quite labor-intensive; this relatively narrow apron uses around 8,500 glass seed beads. The colors used in the cache-sexes are also often meaningful; for example, white beads may symbolize death because they are the color of bones, while red is the color of blood and life, and black or dark blue are the colors of night, representing the bond between the living and their ancestors.
The designs on cache-sexes often include diamond patterns made in brilliant colors, as illustrated on this cache-sexe, but the designs may also take irregular shapes and patterns. The patterns are often passed down from generation to generation, and the specific geometric designs likely refer to ancient proverbs. Researched by Audrey Grace Cooper and Kylei Giles
For more information, you may contact the researcher(s) noted in the title of this exhibit entry, or Dr. Billie Follensbee, the professor of the course, at BillieFollensbee@MissouriState.edu