How are African beads made?

Recycled glass beads are fashioned by the Krobo tribe in Ghana. First, recycled glass is crushed and compressed into dry grain. The grain is heated, fusing the glass pieces together. The recycled glass is then rushed into a cast – the bead maker uses cassava leaf stems to create bead-holes.

Where do African beads come from?

Beads were first made in Africa from organic materials – like bone, shells and seeds – many thousands of years ago. In more recent times, imported glass beads dating back to the mid-11th century have been found in present-day South Africa and Zimbabwe.

How are African trade beads made?

Millefiori (thousand flower) beads from Venice, Italy were one of the most commonly traded beads, and are commonly known as “African trade beads.” They were produced by creating flowers or stripes from glass canes, that were then cut and moulded onto a core of solid color.

How is beadwork made?

Beadwork is the art or craft of attaching beads to one another by stringing them with a sewing needle or beading needle and thread or thin wire, or sewing them to cloth. … Beads, made of durable materials, survive in the archaeological record appearing with the very advent of modern man, Homo sapiens.

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Where do Kenyan beads come from?

They were imported from Europe in the 19th century. Long distance traders, like the Kamba, acquired the beads from the coastal regions of East Africa and traded them with communities in the interior of the country.

What do Zulu beads mean?

Zulu beads were historically used as a language between men and women, to express their feelings, relationship status, or to convey a message on the appropriate behaviour expected from the opposite sex. … Two triangles joined at the points in an hourglass shape represent a married man.

What do beads symbolize?

Beads, whether sewn on apparel or worn on strings, have symbolic meanings that are far removed from the simplistic empiricism of the Western anthropologist. They, or pendants, may for instance be protective, warding off evil spirits or spells, or they can be good luck charms.

Why are beads important?

Beads are used to mark family status, special occasions, and the important rite of passage of girls to puberty, called the “Dipo.” From the ship, head north to Agormanya in the Eastern Region (a 1.5 hour drive) to visit the Cedi Bead Factory.

How old are African trade beads?

The beads’ history dates to the 15th century when Portuguese trading ships arrived on the coast of West Africa to exploit its many resources, including gold, slaves, ivory and palm oil. At that time, glass beads were a major part of the currency exchanged for people and products.

How are beads used today?

More people are now using beads as a material for decorating household ornaments or art that they create, too. For example, boxes, crafts, bird feeders, doorknobs, and even drawers, are being decorated as amateur artistry. They are made of a variety of natural and synthetic materials.

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What is African beadwork?

Beadwork, a craft practiced by women among the indigenous people of southern Africa, grew and flourished through contact with people from outside of Africa. Vast quantities of glass beads were imported from Europe during the 19th and 20th centuries and were used to make items unique to the region.

How were beads first made?

History of Beads. Beads have been made of glass for over 5,000 years. The discovery of fire was the essential step in glass bead making. There is evidence as early as 2340-2180 BC in Mesopotamia of a method known as “core-forming” where they used a metal mandrel with pieces of glass held over a flame.

What items are made from Zulu beadwork?

Materials like Ivory, Carved Stone, bones, seashells, teeth, hair, eggshells, and wood was what they first gathered to create such unique and beautiful jewelry. Later on in time, they started doing trades, for Amber and Glass to use those items as well.

Why do people wear beads around their necks?

Maasai beadwork is worn according to the age and social status of an individual. Unmarried females wear large flat beaded discs around their neck when dancing as a sign of grace and flexibility.

Why do the Maasai wear red?

RED is the most important color for the Maasai community. It represents cow blood – which the Maasai drink mixed with cattle milk for added nutrition, power and strength – especially in times of famine. It is also considered important for Maasai warriors to wear it as a way to protect themselves against wild animals.

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Why do the Maasai wear necklaces?

Colorful Necklaces with Meaning

Cattle are the main food source of the Maasai and they sustain a deep connection with them. Red symbolizes bravery and strength, but above all, unity as it is the color of the blood of the cow that is slaughtered when the community comes together during celebrations.

Across the Sahara