Re: Names
Re: TV beads et. al. -- Luann Udell Post Reply Edit Forum Where am I?
Posted by: Beadman Post Reply
12/21/2020, 17:57:08

Hi Luann,

The name and identifier "trade bead" was devised in North America by archaeologists and anthropologists, to separate native-made beads from imported beads. The imported beads are trade beads. Calling "all beads from Africa "trade beads rather defeats the purpose of the termóbecause many many beads are and were made in Africa, and were not traded there.

As I define it, the Trade Bead Period ran from CE 1400 to 1950. And, of course, not every bead made in that time would be a "trade bead." Within Europe, or any country of origin, the domestic use of beads would just be a commercial pursuit. "Trade bead" is only a useful term if the context is one of contrast between one group of beads and another. And those others are "native-made beads." The practice of trading beads for commodities and services can be assumed to have ended by 1950 at the very latest. By that time most nations had and used actual currency to pay for things.

I'm not sure how powderglass beads got stirred into the conversation. I guess because Hans said your beads are not powderglassówhich is correct. But it was powderglass beads (many of which have been made in West Africa), that were mistakenly called "sand-cast" beads from the 1970s (and still today by people who are slow to understand and alter their perspectives and terms).

I'm going to assume the beads you have are lapidary-worked glass beads, made from available glass. If they are marked "Indonesia," they are almost certainly not powderglass. This is not a technique the Indonesians (we're talking about Java, here) exploit for beadmaking. But the reuse of available glass for lapidary-made beads is well documented.


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