Face Beads
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Posted by: Beadman Mail author
04/27/2009, 04:20:55

A very few jatim from ancient times depict human faces—and Jim Lankton has promoted the idea (first from Karen Karn at The Bead Museum), that the face may be a portrait of Buddha. (See his paper in the IBBC Proceedings.)

Around the world, people seem to understand the importance of face beads—these coming first from the Roman Period, and now internationally garnering huge sums of money from collectors.

The Javanese copyists have made several editions of face beads—some of which look something like the Indonesian prototypes. However, others were inspired by the Roman Period beads (from photos seen in books); and in the extreme full human figures have been made (for which I know of no prototype in Indonesia).

The three beads grouped together here are based on Egyptian beads from the Roman Period. They are not convincing fakes, but the comparison is easy to make. I wondered about the bulbous noses on some faces..., and later saw that masks made for tourists often have a similar-looking character—making me conclude this is the image of a traditional personage of Indonesian folklore or tales. (Confirmation required, of course.)

The next image shows two face beads, these being more elaborate and including other millefiori canes, but one is larger than the other. Again, not really authentic, but perhaps made in order to seem "special."


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