National Geographic : 1954 Oct
501 Gleaming Spirals Adorn Legs and Arms of Masai Belles Polygamous tribesmen leave most household chores to their wives and sometimes beat them, but women enjoy a com fortable niche in Masai so ciety. They control family supplies of milk and honey beer, and are never divorced. Their husbands show little jealousy. Between childhood and war riorhood, the toddler above will spend a busy life: Boys traditionally tend the cattle, milk the goats, fetch water, and clean the cooking pots. Girls and women wear heavy arm and leg decorations of iron, copper, or brass wire bought from traders. They make these ornaments them selves, using no tools (above). Before they were able to buy coils of springy metal, Masai women sometimes damaged arms and legs with permanent ornaments of stolen telegraph wire. Now a tribal belle can uncoil the wire until the orna ment is loose enough to slip over feet or hands.