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Indonesia - Part II
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Posted by: Beadman Post Reply
04/27/2009, 03:35:33

Our original plan, after our days with the beadmakers near Jombang, was to travel east and south to Jember—where we hoped to meet the workers who make the realistic (or more-realistic) reproductions of jatim and other ancient beads. Unfortunately circumstances demanded that we change our plans, and we decided to go to Borobudur—the 9th C. Buddhist monument that is one of the ancient wonders of the world. The structure itself is something like a stepped pyramid, but there are relief friezes on every vertical surface, depicting the life of Buddha, symbolically presenting his birth, childhood, adulthood, enlightenment, and cosmic transcendence.

Here are two photos, showing the monument and just one carving that shows people wearing lots of beads.

Jamey

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Prayer Beads
Re: Indonesia - Part II -- Beadman Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Beadman Post Reply
04/27/2009, 03:44:09

There's a shopping area outside the temple grounds, where we walked around for a while. I spotted this GINORMOUS strand of prayer beads, and walked over to take a look and shoot it. Then, I noticed the seller had a variety of prayer beads, and I was very taken by a strand of seeds that I don't think I had ever seen before. I became embroiled with discussing these with the owner, and totally forgot about the really big beads....

I asked what the seeds were called, and didn't really get an answer. But when I pressed the issue, he told me they were called "Demitri" seeds. I said, "they have a Greek name?" He did not seem to understand that what I was hearing sounded "Greek to me." I bought a strand—when I should have bought two or three--but these guys give you such a hard sell, they sometimes defeat their purpose (and yours) by their actions. By pressuring me to buy more, I became determined to just buy one. Such is life. But, oddly, I forgot to shoot the giant prayer beads....

Here are two photos of the "Demitri" prayer beads. If anyone has an idea what seeds or seed-plant these are, I would be delighted to know.

JDA.

618_dimitri_seeds.jpg (41.1 KB)  623_demitriseeds.jpg (38.2 KB)  


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Re: Prayer Beads
Re: Prayer Beads -- Beadman Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: allison Post Reply
04/27/2009, 05:59:41

I bought a strand of these from Matt (Mr. Tiger Tiger) years ago. He said they were rattan seeds. They are not exceptionally sturdy, a falling bead box lid crushed a few, revealing a hard brown seed in the center.

Allison



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THANKS!
Re: Re: Prayer Beads -- allison Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Beadman Post Reply
04/29/2009, 05:00:22

Hi Allison,

Using your lead, I did a search, and have now read something about rattan cultivation and renewal issues. The link below shows a B&W photo of "rattan fruits," that are very similar to the prayer beads we're talking about.

Cheers, Jamey


Related link: http://www.fao.org/docrep/003/x9923e/x9923e06.htm

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Re: Prayer Beads
Re: Prayer Beads -- Beadman Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Stefany Post Reply
04/28/2009, 16:58:17

Hi Jamey I had a sackful of these that had once been a bead curtain. They are rather light in weight I think.
We also had numbers of similar textured "pods" in elongated slightly tapering cone shapes included in East African necklaces of assorted seeds etc.
They are hard to look up if one doesnt have a name!
Stefany



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Thanks Stef. I have seen the longer ellipsoidal versions.
Re: Re: Prayer Beads -- Stefany Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Beadman Post Reply
04/29/2009, 01:48:59



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"Demi Tree" -??
Re: Prayer Beads -- Beadman Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: beadiste Post Reply
04/30/2009, 08:48:41



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Back to Bali
Re: Indonesia - Part II -- Beadman Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Beadman Post Reply
04/27/2009, 03:53:54

The following day, the four of us flew back to Bali, and took up residence in the same charming hotel where I had stayed before Java. I had two additional days, and Fred only one. So, on the first day we all went to visit Ferry (who was still away), and this time I selected a grand variety of beads (to make up for not getting to Jember). Some of the things I found were quite surprising.

These photos include some of the beads I bought or photographed early in the trip.

Here. we see one of the walls of his store, displaying a group of beadwork pieces—a large panel and several decorated hats. This work is typical of Borneo. Next, this is a display of netted or fiber necklaces embellished with seashells (such as nassa shells). This stuff could be from almost anywhere in Island SE Asia, but may be from New Guinea, or around there.

JDA.

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Ferry's Beads - Ducks (Gooses?)
Re: Back to Bali -- Beadman Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Beadman Post Reply
04/27/2009, 04:02:48

Among the most desirable ancient jatim are those that feature millefiori white birds, typically with red beaks and feet. They are sometimes called "ducks." However, they could just as easily be geese, or who knows what birds. Their popularity and importance, of course, has led to they're being copied by modern beadmakers, at Jember. The following shots will present the variety of reproduction beads I acquired with this pattern. (You can see authentic ancient millefiori bird beads in my book, Magical Ancient Beads.)

This pair of beads is more or less like most such beads, having a dark backgound, with scattered birds all around. Once I had time to look around, I realized that, over time, several editions of these beads had been made, and specimens of them were available for purchase and comparison.

The single bead I show here really surprised me, because it was one of a group of beads that have the bird outlined in red glass—making the beads quite distinctive.

JDA.

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More Birds
Re: Ferry's Beads - Ducks (Gooses?) -- Beadman Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Beadman Post Reply
04/27/2009, 04:08:48

The photograph here presents nine bird beads, representing different editions, with different characteristics—the actual canes being different from one another, their relative sizes, placement on beads, and bead sizes and shapes. The final bead copies a rolled-pad bead (though it isn't one), that would have probably been an import (in type), and would not (originally) have had birds on it.

The single bead shows a bead enlarged, with a good view of the bird canes.

JDA.

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Face Beads
Re: Ferry's Beads - Ducks (Gooses?) -- Beadman Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Beadman Post Reply
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."

JDA.

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Another Face Bead
Re: Face Beads -- Beadman Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Beadman Post Reply
04/27/2009, 04:22:36

This is a fragment of a face bead, that I bought because the face itself is so clear..., and so monkey-like....

JDA.

465_ferry_face_frag.jpg (38.1 KB)  


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Really cool bead.
Re: Another Face Bead -- Beadman Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Austin Cooper Post Reply
04/29/2009, 01:45:04



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And More Face Beads
Re: Face Beads -- Beadman Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Beadman Post Reply
04/27/2009, 04:26:59

This is a larger bead, also with a rather primitive face all over it—as we can see from the detail on the right.

The four faceted biconical beads have elaborate (but not traditional) trailed decoration from multicolored canes, and pictorial millefiori images—of which some are faces, and some figures. The figures are said to be "dancing" by my informants.

JDA.

384_ferry_facebd.jpg (41.6 KB)  404_ferry_figuralmille.jpg (41.5 KB)  


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Other Millefiori Beads
Re: Ferry's Beads - Ducks (Gooses?) -- Beadman Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Beadman Post Reply
04/27/2009, 04:36:40

The Jember beadmakers create a variety of other millefiori beads, many based on ancient prototypes, but many also having features that would be anachronistic, or were made differently/inauthentically.

The first photo here shows two beads that would be imports into Indonesia (in all likelihood, if they were authentic), that would be rolled-pad beads (but here are not that). I refer to these as being of the "Mantai style," because these elaborate rolled-pad beads are known to have been found there (near India, on the NW side of Sri Lanka). I don't say this is a good nor appropriate name..., just that it is convenient. I will discuss the artificial aging of these new beads later—these processes making the beads look deceptively old, and can even be enhancing of their appearance.

The next photo presents a variety of millefiori beads with different patterns and color schemes. Since I bought these from Ferry's store, I can't say with 100% assurity that they are all Jember beads. One or a few may be from Jombang. But most are decent repros, and so are most likely from Jember.

JDA.

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More Millefiori Beads
Re: Other Millefiori Beads -- Beadman Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Beadman Post Reply
04/27/2009, 04:42:49

Here are beads that I was able to buy in pairs—so I could use them in necklaces.

The next photo shows two different reproductions of the typical jatim that feature a simple millefiori spot (or "eye") pattern—usually a white center surrounded by green or blue. In this instance, the central more-authentic-looking bead is from Jember; while the smaller flanking beads (that are less convincing) are from Jombang.

JDA.

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And Yet: More Millefiori Beads
Re: More Millefiori Beads -- Beadman Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Beadman Post Reply
04/27/2009, 04:54:49

Finally, another very typical millefiori type among jatim beads are large (and small) specimens, decorated with canes that have three or more layers of blue and white glass, and very much resemble eyes with dark centers. We see two reproduction beads here, that differ mainly in the proportions of the canes—the left example having a thicker white layer.

These are, again, very decent copies of the prototypes.

JDA.

489_ferry_jatimrepros.jpg (68.1 KB)  


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Pelangi and Zebra Beads
Re: Ferry's Beads - Ducks (Gooses?) -- Beadman Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Beadman Post Reply
04/27/2009, 04:50:10

Pelangi and zebra beads are also jatim, but are not millefiori beads. Instead, they are also derived from decorated canes, but have been striped, twisted, and combed BEFORE being constricted into individual beads.

Pelangi is Indonesian for "rainbow," and these beads are virtually always red, yellow, white, and blue. The "zebra" (pronounced by them "ZEH-bra"—not "ZEE-bruh") are simpler and only have dark blue and white stripes.

These reproductions are so impressively realistic, it would be difficult for many people to distinguish them from the authentic ancient beads. The Jombang reproductions are pretty good too—and I'll show one later.

This is all for tonight—but lots more to come.

JDA.

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Re: Pelangi and Zebra Beads
Re: Pelangi and Zebra Beads -- Beadman Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: alipersia Post Reply
04/27/2009, 10:26:41

hi jamey
i was surprised by pelangi word.becuse pelang in persian means
tiger and pelangi (tiger colour).some of these beads are really
pelangi!
thx for posting these beads



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Thank you. That is interesting information. Do you mean in Farsi?
Re: Re: Pelangi and Zebra Beads -- alipersia Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Beadman Post Reply
04/27/2009, 19:07:52



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Beads for the Fake Antiquities Market
Re: Ferry's Beads - Ducks (Gooses?) -- Beadman Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Beadman Post Reply
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.

JDA.

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More Repros
Re: Beads for the Fake Antiquities Market -- Beadman Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Beadman Post Reply
04/28/2009, 15:11:40

The strand seen here copies ancient gold-glass beads that were devised and made in Mediterranean factories ca. 2,300 years ago (through the Roman Period), and may have been made through the Islamic Period, and at/from who knows how many locations (?). Gold-glass beads consist of a glass tube, covered with gold (or silver) foil, and then insereted into a glass tube to protect the foil. The tube was then formed into beads via the "hot-pinched" method—that we have already seen was a staple technique in Indonesia, for the making of jatim.

Consequently, because gold-glass beads have come into the marketplace from Indonesia, and because the technique has to be accomplished to make good copies of jatim, it is not surprising that beadmakers would make reasonably decent copies of gold-glass beads too. This strand consists of beads that have additional collars on their ends—this requiring that each bead have FOUR constrictions: two to separate the bead from the parent cane, and two to form the collars just inside these separating constrictions.

The next photo shows a strand of beads that really impressed me, that I was gratified to be able to purchase from Mr. Ferry. These are also hot-pinched beads, made from striped-&-twisted canes, copying ancient jatim. Thinking about their structure and appearance, we can easily compare them to pelangi beads—though these are smaller and (usually) not combed. But, perhaps the most impressive thing about them is that the glass has been artificially decayed/distressed, most likely by immersion into an acid bath. This has left the beads delicate and prone to breakage—much like actual ancient glass beads.

JDA.

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Modified by Beadman at Tue, Apr 28, 2009, 15:43:34

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Copies of Trade Beads
Re: Ferry's Beads - Ducks (Gooses?) -- Beadman Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Beadman Post Reply
04/28/2009, 15:22:08

I have shown some of the trade bead reproductions made near Jombang, according to the makers from whom I bought them. At Ferry's store, I was happy to find additional specimens of this work—even though I don't know who the actual makers would have been. However, I am reasonably confident these are also Jombang beadmakers, and represent their past work (that we should not necessarily expect to still be available some years later, directly from them, but only from sellers with big inventories).

The 1st photo here presents a hank of about ten or twelve strands of small blue chevron beads. They are not dissimilar to beads we looked at earlier, and clearly copy Venetian beads of the 20th C.

The 2nd photo presents more unconventional chevron beads, in that the external colors are green and three tones of opaque red. I found these "hidden away" on a back wall, where I suspect few people go to search for beads to buy. I feel lucky to have them.

JDA.

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Can You Believe This?
Re: Copies of Trade Beads -- Beadman Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Beadman Post Reply
04/28/2009, 15:27:27

I was really surprised (almost SHOCKED!) when I came across strands of drawn red-on-white overlay beads—clearly copying the famous cornaline d'Aleppo beads of Venice. I don't believe I had ever had any suggestion that these were made in Indonesia. And, their appearance is different enough from Venetian, Czech, or ersatz Indian beads, that they are distinctive. They tend to be more rounded (spheroidal or oblate), and larger than most Venetian white-heart beads—and they look like juicy little fruits or berries. I quite like them!

JDA.

ferry_whthrt_bds_comp.jpg (49.6 KB)  


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A Mamuli
Re: Ferry's Beads - Ducks (Gooses?) -- Beadman Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Beadman Post Reply
04/30/2009, 05:47:33

I photographed this gold mamuli pendant at Ferry's store, as well as other gold pieces. The Mamuli is made and worn by the people of Sumba (an Indonesian island). It symbolically represents a vulva (female generative organ)—and you might think it would be worn only by women. However, "male mamuli" are those that feature a horizontal projection at the bottom, that often includes charming little figures. In this instance, we can see a pair of male steers with large horns. Mamuli were originally ear ornaments, but are now worn as pectoral pendants.

JDA.

839_ferry_gold.jpg (52.8 KB)  


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Jeff's Beads
Re: Back to Bali -- Beadman Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Beadman Post Reply
04/29/2009, 02:09:50

The day after the four of us went to Ferry's store, Fred departed for Thailand, and the three of us went to Jeff's store. I'll show some of the beads I documented and bought then, and some from the earlier time spent with him.

You will recall that I showed a H U G E zebra reproduction bead bead earlier. Here's a photo of me holding an nearly-as-large (though more spheroidal) pelangi reproduction.

Next is a photo presenting two views of a single bead, also similar to some I bought from Ferry, that is a biconical faceted bead, with trailed decorations and figural canes, depicting a white man who is "dancing."

JDA.

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More Millefiori Beads
Re: Jeff's Beads -- Beadman Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Beadman Post Reply
04/29/2009, 02:12:15

Here are two more millefiori beads from Jember, made to resemble ancient beads, but not really accurately reproducing any particular beads. But the effect is pretty good.

JDA.

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Modified by Beadman at Wed, Apr 29, 2009, 02:12:33

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Red Beads
Re: Jeff's Beads -- Beadman Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Beadman Post Reply
04/29/2009, 02:20:49

While we were with Jeff, a friend of his was there who offered to show us some beads to buy. He had two strands of the beads we see here. At first, he said these were 'found in the ground, and recovered one-by-one.' I scoffed at that, and probably said I didn't believe it. He then said, 'the beads are new, but made from old glass.' I didn't believe this either.

At some point, Jeff told me they were just new beads, but that the chap would be firm on the price if I wanted to buy them.

All the time this was going on, I was looking at the beads with my hand-lens—and I was surprised by what I saw in the enlarged view. All of these beads are peppered with tiny hemispherical indentations—like gas bubbles that have broken. The beads were so odd, I decided to buy them, even though I instantly recognized that the red glass was not the opaque copper-red or brick-red of antiquity—but rather is some modern red glass.

JDA.

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Old Red Beads
Re: Red Beads -- Beadman Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Beadman Post Reply
04/29/2009, 02:26:30

In contrast, I bought this necklace from Jeff, that is made from the only ancient beads I acquired on this Indonesian trip (recalling that my purpose was not to buy old beads, but to study and acquire NEW beads that become misrepresented as "ancient"). These are plain jatim, also made via the hot-pinched method, and are essentially like the bases of decorated beads, without the decoration. Although I thought the combination of red and lime-green beads together was not exactly stunning, I felt this was a necklace that had been around for a while, had not sold, and that I could get for a good price—which turned out to be the case. I won't feel bad about taking it apart to make something else.

Of course, as it happened, I paid less for these beads than I did for the two strands of new beads I just showed. Go figure.

JDA.

624_jeff_jatim.jpg (37.8 KB)  


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Jeff's Face and Figural Beads
Re: Jeff's Beads -- Beadman Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Beadman Post Reply
04/29/2009, 02:32:17

The two beads I bought from Jeff that day that I like the most are these specimens from Jember:

One is a millefiori bead that includes face canes (similar to a Ferry bead shown earlier); and the other is a barrel-shaped millefiori bead, entirely decorated with humanoid figures in white. Again, they are not very authentic, but have compelling techniques and elements that demonstrate some effort to approach authenticity.

JDA.

671_jeff_face_comp.jpg (36.5 KB)  663_jeff_man_repro.jpg (50.7 KB)  


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Ancient Overlay Beads
Re: Jeff's Beads -- Beadman Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Beadman Post Reply
04/29/2009, 02:43:22

Over the past thirty-something years, I have occasionally pursued the issue of the origin of drawn overlay beads—and how ancient specimens may have affected the manufacture of similar beads, and thus spurred the invention of white-heart beads (cornaline d'Aleppo) by Venetians.

Here's a strand of various beads that Jeff had, that includes some orange-over-black drawn beads. (I say "black" euphemistically, because I didn't determine what their true color is.)

JDA.

872_jeff_oldjatim_overlay.jpg (34.6 KB)  


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The Reproductions
Re: Ancient Overlay Beads -- Beadman Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Beadman Post Reply
04/29/2009, 02:46:31

Jeff noticed me taking an interest in and photographing the beads just shown. When I made my purchase, as a gift he gave me this strand of reproductions of those overlay beads—that I think are reasonably impressively authentic-looking.

JDA.

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Correction/Additions
Re: Back to Bali -- Beadman Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Beadman Post Reply
05/05/2009, 15:30:31

Yekti informs me that the large beadwork panel seen in this photograph, and the boxes, are from the Lampung region of South Sumatra, and not Borneo--which is helpful information. (Since Mr. Ferry is from Sumatra, this is not surprising.)

Yekti also confirms that the seeds I showed are rattan, and come in several varieties (some as large as ping pong balls)--and she notes that Java is the home of the rudraksha seed, valued in India by Shivaites and imported from Java for many centuries. (I expect many of us own these malas and know the story. I do.) Yekti also confirms that the shell pectoral is from New Guinea, used by members of the Dani tribe.

Jamey



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Questions
Re: Indonesia - Part II -- Beadman Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Beadman Post Reply
04/30/2009, 03:08:58

Russ asked if I had anything new to say on the topic of using old/ancient beads as sources for glass in the manufacture of new beads.

Frankly my opinion has not changed very much!

I do not think it would be fair to say it never happens—if only because I don't know what all may happen in Indonesian glass-beadmaking. But I would bet that this idea is tossed around and asserted much more often than it would be true.

Let's take the red beads I showed that I bought at Jeff's store. They are just the wrong color to be old glass from a source such as Indo-Pacific beads or jatim (because these beads are always opaque brick-red, ranging from carmine to chocolate in color). JIm Lankton told me that he had been advised that Jember beadmakers want to use "old red glass" in their modern reproductions, because the red glass available to them does not present an authentic effect. This shores-up my disposition, but also says that sometimes they DO use old glass, because it provides certain colors that would be almost unattainable otherwise.

There are MANY instances where we can tell a bead is a recent fake, BECAUSE the color of the red glass is wrong for the period of the beads in question. Just three years ago, the new Chinese chevron beads that copy Venetian prototypes could be distinguished because the red they used was wrong—it being too red-red and translucent, and not like Venetian brick-red at all....

I still have to think that a major and practical consideration would be the compatibility of different colors, if old/ancient glass were to be combined with new glass. I suppose there may be some way around this problem/issue—but because I am (most certainly) not a glass chemist, I can't discuss it with any authority.

As I said, what I really think is that this is a story that is told to garner a sale. And, it gets told between the "these beads are ancient" story (when the buyer doesn't believe it) and the admission that the beads are just new (when the "old glass for new beads" story is not believed). Some years ago, beads were being sold out of Indonesia that were said to be "obsidian" (natural volcanic glass)—that seem to actually be just glass. Because they are really neat beads, the fake story is usually forgiven. But, in point of fact, when you make neat beads, there is no need to rely on a fake story. Go figure.

So, my conclusion is this: it is possibly sometimes true, but not nearly as often as it may be suggested. Meaning it is mostly not true.

Jamey



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How Faking is accomplished—and Its Ramifications
Re: Questions -- Beadman Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Beadman Post Reply
04/30/2009, 03:43:22

I demonstrate in my paper for the IBBC Proceedings that Javanese beadmakers have come a long way, in twenty years, in making reproductions of jatim, from the standpoint of technique. At Jombang and Jember, they now make canes, decorate them fairly appropriately, and (most importantly) constrict them to form individual beads. Because of this, the latest generations of reproductions have the potential to passed-off as authentic ancient beads.

However, since most ancient jatim display some degree of glass decay, and the fakes would be frankly new-looking, steps are taken to artificially age the new beads to make them appear old. Two things are done to accomplish this.

While the beads are still on their mandrels and still warm/soft, they can be plunged into water—which makes the outer surface crackle, but (ideally) does not deeply affect the interior of the beads. This is a technique practiced at Venice about 100 to 200 years ago, in the creation of "ice glass." So we can understand that it is potentially doable. Next, the beads are soaked in a solution of hydrocloric acid, that attacks the glass, and results in a decayed and usually discolored surface. There's a range of effects, varying from slight to profound—the latter appearing almost white.

These two treatments result in beads that appear old because the glass has become crackled and leached of its constituents (whitened).

One of the things I was told in Jombang that most surprised me was that beadmakers expect somewhere between forty and fifty percent of loss, due to beads breaking upon cooling—because there is no technical annealing of the glass. If they were to introduce and practice good annealing, their failure rate would probably be five to ten percent at the most.

When beadmakers take the practice of quenching a bead in water, to crackle it, I have to think that ninety-nine percent of them are "time-bombs" (a designation American glassworkers use for unannealed glass, that is sure to break—whether it's this week or next century, but sometime—because unannealed glass simply cannot survive for very long).

I myself lost a number of beads just in the process of getting them home—most of which were hand-carried by me. Although my desire, when I returned home without going to Jember, was to return as soon as possible to accomplish that..., once I thought about it for a while, I began to ask myself "WHY?" Why should I return to Java to buy beads that statistically are going to break in the short-run? I think I have plenty to study now—and thankfully I have photographed most of them BEFORE they spontaneously fall apart. I would still like to go to Jember and document beadmaking there, and interview the glassmakers and workers, but it has become less of a priority. But we have to ask ourselves, "what is the point of owning a beautiful and technically proficient bead that is going to break on us?"

What I would really like to do is to get them ALL to use a decent annealing oven, and thus produce many many more sound beads. This bypassing of their breakage numbers would make their efforts rather more successful than they are currently (with such a huge failure rate).

I will try to answer any other questions that readers may want to ask.

Jamey



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Re: How Faking is accomplished—and Its Ramifications
Re: How Faking is accomplished—and Its Ramifications -- Beadman Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: jake@nomaddesign Post Reply
04/30/2009, 11:57:22

Quickly jotted:

Hmmmm...... so much to learn..... Thanks for all the info you impart Jamey. I don't know if you remember the first time we met in person, you were teaching an amber identification course at the Natural History Museum in Denver. I brought an agate that I had left in ammonium bifloride (Dip n Etch) over night, to see your response! You called it.... I actually enjoy making fake antiques, for my own edification, never to misrepresent. Some of my thoughts on the subject:

I know that mineralization can be intentionally added to fake antiques, but I suppose that there must be some tests to reveal the type of mineral on a bead. Furthermore, I would also suppose that the minerals attached to glass over centuries, verses a day or so plus would differ somehow?



Modified by jake@nomaddesign at Thu, Apr 30, 2009, 12:16:47

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Re: Meeting, Etc.
Re: Re: How Faking is accomplished—and Its Ramifications -- jake@nomaddesign Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Beadman Post Reply
04/30/2009, 14:57:14

Hi Jake,

I know that when we met again last year, you mentioned being at my Amber Seminar a few years previously.

In the case of glass, when it's artificially decayed, as with acid, what is happening is essentially a leaching process. In making glass, lime is added to the batch to stabilize the glass. If the lime is not included, the resulting glass will actually MELT (or dissolve) when it gets wet. Consequently, if you can subject glass to something that will attack the lime, the glass will tend to fall apart.

What this means is, there is no "mineralization" of the glass (though it may look as though there is), as may happen with many materials from exposure to or association with other objects or substances in a burial/interment environment. I have occasionally referred to the white look of decayed glass as having a "contamination" or "deposit." This, of course, is technically incorrect, but makes a visual point. Nothing is deposited onto the glass. The glass is just decomposing.

I am sure there is a big different between mineral deposits and chemical decay that take place over centuries, and the effect that results from an acid bath. However, I could not begin to characterize what these differences may be. (I was not brilliant in Chemistry in school. Far from it. I excelled in Biology—and specifically invertebrate biology.) But, for many collectors, the important thing may be to recognize that artificial effects that mimic great age are possible, and are applied to beads with an intent to present a deceptive idea about the age of those pieces.

Jamey



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Re: Re: Meeting, Etc.
Re: Re: Meeting, Etc. -- Beadman Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: jake@nomaddesign Post Reply
05/11/2009, 14:13:58

Hi Jamey, and all else~
.........I get what you are saying about the leaching effect, a good point for me to remember. Thank you.

My question was:
"I know that mineralization can be intentionally added to fake antiques, but I suppose that there must be some tests to reveal the type of mineral on a bead. Furthermore, I would also suppose that the minerals attached to glass over centuries, verses a day or so plus would differ somehow?"

The reason for the question is that I had a strand of new stratified eye beads from China, they were coated with something to appear as calcium. I am sure there are easy tests to see if the coating is in fact calcium, or just some facsimile. We have all seen calcium build up on coffee pots, plant vases, shower heads, etc, it seems easy to do intentionally. Some of the beautiful roman era (etc.) glass have other minerals attached, I do not know what they are, and would love to be informed. Thanks, Jake.



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Lime IS Calcium
Re: Re: Re: Meeting, Etc. -- jake@nomaddesign Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Beadman Post Reply
05/11/2009, 15:08:31

Hi Jake,

When fakers want to make a new bead look like an old one, or to make an artificial product that realistically resembles a prototype, they have the best success if they reproduce the actions of nature and the technology of older times.

Then, it becomes up to us to make some distinction. I have already said that I can often visually tell the difference between the appearance of an ancient glass or stone bead, and a recent copy that has been trumped-up. However, I am not confident that I can characterize these differences in a way that communicates what I'm seeing and how you can see it too. But if we we can't tell the difference, we can't distinguish between authentic glass decay, and an ersatz treatment.

Part of the problem with what I hear you saying is that you don't seem to understand that lime and calcium are (essentially) the same thing. In natural/environmental glass-decomposition, if the lime is leached out, a white "deposit" (let's call it) evolves on the surface. This IS calcium. If a faker artificially decays some glass, it likewise will have calcium on its surface. Or, he/they may drip the bead into some concoction that places a calcium deposit onto the beads. Whatever it is, distinguishing between these is a lot harder than determining whether it's calcium or not—because it's ALL calcium. I expect it would take a chemist/glass expert to distinguish, probably using a handy microscope to examine the nature of the crystallization/structure. I think if you can see the difference with your unaided eye, an aided eye would be better. Then, there are probably lots of laboratory skills, about which I know nothing. (I watch all the CSI shows on TV every week—because they fascinate me and are well produced, even though they don't reflect reality very honestly.)

By the way, Robert Liu produced an excellent article on glass decay for Ornament some years ago. I was happy to give him a bit of help with that. I highly recommend it. When glass decays (or is treated to decompose), depending on circumstances and and techniques, a lot of different-looking result may happen. But mainly, the glass is being attacked so that it falls apart (in different manners).

In the instance of stone beads, the story is similar. Constituents can be leached-out, and mineral deposits added. The so-called "etched agate" beads of antiquity and modern times are a great example of using a chemical (washing soda) to apply a desired pattern onto and into the surface of the bead (or object). We could think of this as "controlled partial patina," or something like that. When fakers want to artificially "age" new stone beads, they try to copy nature. If they place a calcium deposit onto the beads, this will look a lot like the natural/environmental effect found on ancient beads. And chemically it might be very similar.

As I said—I am no chemist. So I'm not the guy to say much more than the above.

Jamey



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OHHH,
Re: Lime IS Calcium -- Beadman Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: jake@nomaddesign Post Reply
05/11/2009, 15:34:26

Synapse complete! I should have realized, especially since the lime used with betel nut is from heated shel!



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OHHH,
Re: Lime IS Calcium -- Beadman Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: jake@nomaddesign Post Reply
05/11/2009, 15:36:27

Synapse complete! I should have realized, especially since the lime used with betel nut is from heated shel! Calcium carbonate.



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Re: Indonesia - Part II
Re: Indonesia - Part II -- Beadman Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: will Post Reply
05/16/2009, 14:18:20

Dear Jamey,

This has been a fascinating and enjoyable read. Thank you. I just got back from Southeast Asia and you took me back there all over again. I particularly enjoyed your descriptions of what was going on in the workshop pictures - they were clear enough even for me to follow.

I know a number of potters in Thailand and in Zhejiang province in China who make very convincing reproductions/fakes, and I find their attitudes quite similar to these beadmakers in Java. There's a real pride in what they're doing, which comes from their technological expertise on the one hand and from a sense of keeping a cultural heritage alive on the other. But they want to separate themselves from the dealers who exploit and market their skills, even though they all know perfectly well what their work is being used for.

I get the impression that it's the fake Jatims that have allowed the beadmaking industry there to establish itself, and they've gotten scarily good at perfecting them. The attached picture is of a fake pelangi that sold for nearly $500 in February - I wonder how much of that the beadmaker got. Perhaps a little more than the Sumatran factory worker who makes high-priced running shoes.

Will

fakejatim4a.jpg (56.9 KB)  


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Thanks Will. Yep—it's scary!
Re: Re: Indonesia - Part II -- will Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Beadman Post Reply
05/16/2009, 18:33:24



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Great looking fakes
Re: Re: Indonesia - Part II -- will Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Joyce Post Reply
05/16/2009, 21:35:22

Will, the surface of the bead you show is pseudo-aged so professionally - there is surface crazing and a "crackle" that I see on genuine jatim. When beads such as these are aged in such a way to so closely duplicate an ancient bead, the intent can only be...........well, you know. It is going to be a real problem for collectors of ancient Java beads. It already is.



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Hello Joyce and Jamey, are these fakes too?
Re: Re: Indonesia - Part II -- will Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: paeonia Post Reply
05/17/2009, 12:29:52

Well, I really never knew if these are fakes or not but i just liked their size and texture.
i haven't payed much for them and the seller was honest saying that these are quite common beads in Indonesia. As I had no idea anyway... Thanks for your comment!

1_jatim.jpg (111.4 KB)  jatim2.jpg (41.8 KB)  


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Yes, these are reproductions.
Re: Hello Joyce and Jamey, are these fakes too? -- paeonia Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Beadman Post Reply
05/17/2009, 15:48:43



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Bead Factories in Central Java: Indonesian Glass Beads by Jamey Allen
Re: Indonesia - Part II -- Beadman Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Joyce Post Reply
05/16/2009, 21:41:31

But you saw it here first, on bcn! Many thanks for sharing this great travelogue, Jamey! It's important to document this industry as it evolves.

Hoping to be at the meeting Tuesday night down in Emeryville.


Related link: Bead Factories in Central Java: Indonesian Glass Beads by Jamey Allen

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