This is an excellent old piece with good old beads with good colours. The the brick red beads have a black centre, a feature we have not observed before. The beads are strung on locally spun indigo dyed cotton yarn and it is in excellent condition; almost nothing missing at all.
A very similar piece to this is in the Pitt Rivers museum that is described as Nubian. In Margret Carey’s, Beads and Beadwork of East and South Africa she describes the Pitt Rivers piece (Inv 1927.37.1) as “Nubian Fringed apron, rahat, probably from the Bisharin of the Sudan.” The Bisharin are an important clan of Beja speaking nomads who live in Sudan’s eastern part of the Nubian desert.
This is a shortened version of the catalogue entry for Nubian Woman’s Waist Ornament 1927.37.1: Women's waist ornament of a bead lattice in blue, white, green, red, brown, and black beads, strung with three bands of cowrie shells, with a fringe of cowrie shells dangling on blue and white beads. Sides have leather fringes. Place details: AFRICA. Sudan, Republic of. Nubia. Cultural Group: Nubian Local Name: When Collected: By 1927 Other Owners: Winifred Mabel Brunton
In the course of our research into the piece we came across the “Collar of Amanishakheto” in the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin. It bears a striking resemblance to the piece on offer and possibly points to a remarkable continuity of design over 2,000 years. It is the Collar of Amanishakheto. 1st century B.C, Sudan. © Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
Reference: There is a similar acquired in 1927 in the American Museum of Natural History. https://anthro.amnh.org/anthropology/databases/common/image_dup.cfm? catno=90%2E1%2F%205723.