i’ve stumbled into a the world of beads and have become enchanted by african beads. actually, not only by those from my Motherland but globally…be it from Venice to India.
the first level attraction was physical (of course)…the brilliant pops of color are so engaging. then the graphic designs, how they vary so from bead to bead. i wonder what the story is behind each line (digging further to find more info on this)..then the organic form they take. most, at least the particular ones i am attracted to, are far from refined. rather they come as they are, and are even more beautiful for it.
as i explore past my initial physical attraction, i discover the depth of history they possess. at one point in time they may have traveled throughout continents such as from Venice, traded with African countries for commodities. what a distance to travel for these little lovelies. some like the dZi bead, known as a “precious jewel of supernatural origin”, from Tibet is said to have been adorned by the gods who discarded them when they became blemished, thus explaining why they are seldom found in perfect condition. (info about dZi bead found in the book titled “The History of Beads” by Lois Dubin”)
as i work on my collection, my interest for them grows. i love that not one is identical in shape, making pairing them together sort of a match-making game (i guess i am more like my Mom, a natural matchmaker, than i realized,). so far i’ve scored some pretty interesting pieces from Ghana through my Mom, flea markets i regularly filter through, and i still feel like there are more out there that are calling me to find them.
beads, specifically Bone Beads, have become essential for family planning in the country of Senegal. Georgetown University is said to have “pioneered” the use of Cycle Beads, which were handed out in Senegal. the beads are strung on a string and replicate the female reproductive cycle in days. each color denoting the various stages of the cycle, with the purpose of educated women about their cycle stages thus allowing her to be more in control of her fertility and family planning responsibilities. (want to read more on this, click here for the article this info was found).
who would have thought…you see how these little lovelies are pulling me into their world!
more to come, enjoy!