Thursday, January 21, 2010

Nguni Cattle

I painted this montage of Nguni cattle in acrylic for my cousin. The Nguni cattle are the beautiful cattle of the Zulu nation indigenous to South Africa. They are renowned for their fertility and resistance to disease. The variegated skin colours can present many different skin patterns and a variety of horn shapes.

These cattle play an important social and economic role in the rural societies and are also used to pay a brides dowry. They are also a measure of wealth and importance for the individuals who own them as well as for their village as whole.

The once mighty Zulu King Chaka understood the cultural and economic importance of these cattle and seized control of all the Nguni cattle in his domain and bred them according to their colour patterns to produce skins and rawhide shields for the various regiments of his army for easy recognition. His personal guards attire was from the pure white Nguni cattle of the royal herd.