Beads for the Fake Antiquities Market
Re: Ferry's Beads - Ducks (Gooses?) -- Beadman Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Beadman Mail author
04/28/2009, 14:57:43

It seems clear that a primary reason modern glassworking has prospered in Indonesia, directly and/or indirectly, is that reproductions of collectible beads are a desirable commodity, and sometimes they can be passed-off as the real thing for a higher price. In the years I have discussed these issues with important collectors who have worked in Indonesia, it was insisted that beadmakers did not make reproductions to fool anyone—but rather for the art challenge and to have a desirable product to sell. And I was told that it was often COLLECTORS, or middle-men, who mistakenly or intentionally took new Indonesian beads into the marketplace, misrepresented them, and sold them to unsuspecting collectors. In past years, this was much less of a problem—because it was EASY to demonstrate that the copies were not authentic at all. However, every year the reproductions have become better and better.

And, unfortunately, I believe it is largely because I have publicized how the original ancient beads were made, and how they can be distinguished from the fakes, that has also educated beadmakers regarding authentic or authentic-looking techniques that allow for better reproductions—that can be successfully passed-off as authentic. Then, when these beads are artificially aged, it becomes difficult to not think the intent of these actions is to be successfully deceptive about origins.

Here, I want to show a few other products I bought from Ferry, that can be seen in various books, or are interesting pieces.

The 1st photo here shows two sides of a single bead—a so-called "duck bead," that is sculptural. Similar pieces can be seen in Manik-Manik, and in my book on the Beck Collection (Magical Ancient Beads). From the time I first saw these, I recognized these were fakes, and that they were composed from other beads or the recycling of parts of glass beads—fused together and shaped into a bird. I don't believe there is any real prototype for these bead sculptures (though I could be mistaken, and can only say I haven't seen "a real one" yet). Ferry had a number of these available for sale. Because they have been published a number of times, even though they are rank fakes, they are somewhat pricey. I decided to buy one —as I often do—for educational purposes, and to document this situation for posterity.

The next photo also presents a sculptural bead, in this instance a small figural piece, that is shaped like a man or god, in the round. I'm showing the front and back. The glass is ochre yellow, and thus resembles a natural stone—so that it might be mistaken for a stone carving. I don't know of any particular glass prototype that it copies. I think that, like the ducks above, it is just something to make that is cute, and MIGHT be passed-off as something special in the antiquities market. In any event, the workmanship is cunning, and the bead itself is attractive.


022_ferry_duckbd.jpg (40.4 KB)  043_ferry_firurebd.jpg (42.7 KB)  

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