Metropolitain museum of art NYC

Kamata on display in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City.

The Kamata is an article of clothing worn by Dinka or Jieng, that is akin to the corset in it's design. [1] Worn mostly by men, but also women of considerable means [2], the kamata worn tightly along the body emphasizes a dainty waist, which is a symbol of beauty for men among the Jieng. [3] Kamata also used among the Jieng as a method of communicating status and age within the community.


Among men, the kamata is a symbol of beauty and communicates the age of the man or adolescent wearing it. black and red kamata are for adolescents whom are 15 years of age until they become 25. From 26 to 30, a new kamata that is pink and purple is then worn. Men above the age of 30 then wear a yellow kamata. [4]

A kamata for women can communicate to others she is available for marriage. The kamata itself indicates a girl or woman with wealth, and the appendage on the back indicates the wealth of her family and her bride price. The longer it is, the more expensive her bride price is placed. [5]

Impact on Western CultureEdit


Inspired by a picture of the kamata, John Galliano designed a beaded corset for his first haute coture Dior collection haute coture Dior . The design was then by Debra Shaw who appeared with Ling Tan in Christian Dior's Spring/Summer 1998, Vogue US (April 1997) and was present in Gallioano's debut collection that same year. Additionally beaded corset was seen in another design for Christian Dior Haute Couture in 1997.


The production of the lion king involves the frequent use of Kamata for the lion protaganists. The Lion King Musical then released a toyline featuring dolls of simba and Nala. Both of whom wear the Kamata that they wear in the show.