Posted by: napoleone Post Reply
Few years ago I bought a copy of a pelangi bead from a dealer in Milan selling recent “ethnic” crafts from Southeast Asia. He told me that it was bought in the ‘80s in Indonesia by another importer of Asian crafts. I bought it because it was so huge and not too expensive (70 dollars). The size is: length 59,1 mm ca; maximum width (the section profile is not perfectly round) 54,3 mm ca; the perforation is conical and not perfectly round in section, diameter max. 18.5 mm at one end, 13.7 mm at the opposite end.
There are some characteristics of this bead which are unfamiliar to me: a) the margins of the perforation are sharp, as they were retouched with a drill; b) when observed at the microscope the glass looks like a powder-glass, the glass being not uniformly fused but granular; c) the surface of the bead shows numerous bubbles , in part filled with a whitish material (I’ll post a picture taken with my digital microscope).
I’ve seen Indonesian copies of pelangi and jatim beads from Java made in recent decades, and they are quite different. I wonder why retouching the hole with a drill, and who and when made this kind of granular glass with so many bubbles, and what could be this white filling?
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