Re: Name?
Re: What's the beads' name? -- Biya Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Beadman Post Reply
02/25/2019, 23:37:27

Dear Biya,
I have intensely studied beads for over 50 years.

But I cannot say I recall ever seeing your bead, nor one similar.

Regarding names: There are billions of beads, but there are only dozens or perhaps hundreds of names for them. Most beads do not have names. However, within any given culture, there may be local popular names for beads—that would not be common knowledge.

The following are issues of some importance, that confound and confuse bead study.

1) Bead names may change over time—so a single type can be identified by more than one name or identifier.

2) A name can, over time, be applied to different beads—thus confusing one artifact with another. But this happens, in part, because there are so few names for beads.

3) In the historical record, we can sometimes find archaic names for beads—but now no one has any idea what they indicated at that time. A prime example is "oldani"—an old Venetian name for some type of bead.

4) Names are sometimes regional—and make a certain sense in that region, but may not be appropriate elsewhere. Examples: "Sherpa coral" is a popular name in the Himalayas for certain red glass beads. But why-o-why would we call these same beads in West Africa "sherpa coral." It's silly. Historically, certain beads in Mauritania are called "morfia" and "dar verkron." But lately, ALL of these beads have ben called "morfia." And furthermore, now the same beads from Afghanistan have been called "morfia."

5) Names are sometimes misleading or misunderstood. Examples: "Russian trade beads" are called that because they were traded by Russians to Native Americans (for furs, late in the Fur Trade), even though the beads were made in Bohemia. But shallow interpretations would conclude that the beads were MADE by Russians; or FOR Russians; or FROM Russians—because this is an easy and logical interpretation, though it is mistaken. Millefiori beads derive from a specific manufacturing tradition, that has been well-described (particularly by me). Yet 75 years ago, and even more recently, these were called "painted beads"—because the people who looked at them did not understand the technology; and the only thing they could imagine was that the tiny repeating patterns "had been painted" on the beads. Early 20th C. collectors called these beads "painted beads" even when they knew this was mistaken and knew in a general way how the beads were made—because "painted beads" had become their name.

Well, I could go on and on. My brief reply to you is: do not expect beads to have names, apart from possible localized regional names. There just are not enough appropriate names to go around. And, unfortunately, since I do not recognize your bead, I cannot suggest an origin nor time period. I can only say it looks rather recent to me. But I am not holding it to make an examination, determination, or guess. JDA.

Modified by Beadman at Tue, Feb 26, 2019, 09:42:21

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