armlet (arm ornament)

Warrior's hide armlet
Label: 'Ornament as a guide to status, Armband of hide: terminals bound with brass and copper wire and connected by an iron chain. Worn on the left upper arm by warriors. Maasai People. Kenya. Case 2'.

Community Commentary by Njeri Gachihi within research project: 'Rethinking Relationships and Building Trust with African Collections' 2021: This object’s local name is Errap. Errap is a ceremonial attire worn by warriors for example during weddings. It’s made by women and only a mother can make one for her son. It’s highly valued and treasured by the Maasai and if one needs to borrow from a friend or agemate, it is not given for free, one gives a goat in exchange as a borrowing fee and must be returned to the owner after the ceremony. Failure to return the object to the owner is a big issue that calls for serious community intervention and social sanctioning. The object has become rare as more and more Maasai men have attended modern schools and not the traditional Manyata. The object hence is rare, personal, and greatly valued by the community. A Maasai young man I spoke too referred to it as an object from the/for the old.

Collection Information

These objects are only a part of our collections, of which there are more than 350,000 objects. This information comes from our collections database. Some of this is incomplete and there may be errors. This part of the website is also still under construction, so there may be some fields repeated or incorrectly formatted information.

The database sometimes uses language taken from historical documents to help research, which may now appear outdated and even offensive. The database also includes information on objects that are considered secret or sacred by some communities.

If you have any further information about objects in our collections or can suggest corrections to our information, please contact us: