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.
What are African beads made from?
Krobo powder glass beads
Formerly used as a trading currency, these beads are named after the region where they’re made. They’re possibly the most popular African beads. The beads are created from layers of powdered glass mixed with dyes and poured into moulds.
Why are there African beads?
Waist beads have a long history in Africa and are worn for various reasons and purposes. They are a symbol and celebration of womanhood, sexuality, femininity, fertility, healing, spirituality, body shaping, first menses, protection, seduction, and wealth, amongst other things.
What are African beads called?
Trade beads (sometimes called aggry and slave beads) were otherwise decorative glass beads used between the 16th and 20th century as a token money to exchange for goods, services and slaves (hence the name). Trade beads were used to purchase African resources by early Europeans.
What do beads mean in Africa?
They’re also referred to as belly beads, waistline beads, or beaded waist chains. In Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal, and other West African countries, waist beads are a symbol of femininity, fertility, sensuality, and spiritual well-being.
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 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.
Which country is famous for beads?
Although we may not be able to visit Africa, Venice, or the Czech Republic in the near future, we can enjoy looking at gorgeous examples of the types of beads these countries are famous for, and so can you! Enjoy! Beads from Afghanistan are often made of Gillit, a coin based alloy metal with a low silver percentage.
What are beads used for today?
Today beads are used to express our identity in fashion and jewellery and used decoratively within textiles, craft and design. Beads are now readily available across the world in a whole host of colours, styles and sizes.
What do different color beads mean?
Gold – Good health, power and wealth. Green – Abundance, fertility, nature and prosperity. Orange – Courage, self confidence and vitality. Pink – Care, beauty, love and kindness. Purple – Royalty, spirituality and wisdom.
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 African men wear beads?
Zulu men wear beads to show commitment to women they intend to marry.
Where did beads originally come from?
The earliest known European beads date from around 38,000 BC, and were discovered at La Quina in France. The beads – made from grooved animal teeth and bones – were probably worn as pendants, and represent a time when homo sapiens were replacing Neanderthals and living more complex lives.