Resilience, jewelery & cattle

Maasai or Masai (mɑːsaɪ) people

First traces
Maasai lived originally in the region that is today Sudan. In the 16/17th century they migrated to the south searching for better lands to raise their cattle. Around 1750 CE they had arrived in the savannah grass plains of what is today southern Kenya and northern Tanzania.
Maasai language, part of the maa languages, English and Swahili
Related ethnies
Samburu, Turkana
Religion & beliefs
Maasai, Christianity
About 2 million
± 800,000

Importance of cattle

Traditional Maasai way of life revolve around cattle. Cattle milk, meat and blood are key in Maasai diet. They are nomad pastoralists that move across the grazing plains of Kenya and Tanzania. Their village structure is thought to protect their cattle from the surrounding wild animals or enemies.

Maasai warriors

Maasai were famed and feared as warriors. Searching for more lands, they faced other groups with the same intentions. Conflicts broke out about territories, protection or stealing of cattle. Carrying shields and spears warriors are also armed with throwing clubs (orinka).

Beading & adornments

Maasai are famous for their crafting skills and colorful clothing. The traditional making of adornments from local materials evolved to glass or plastic-bead crafts since the 19th century.  In the 1960s, with the availability of cotton, red, blue or black clothes replaced animal skins.

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