Beads were introduced on the east coast of Africa by Arab and Portuguese traders and reached Xhosa-speaking groups through trade. After the European settlement was established at the Cape, imported glass beads became more plentiful though still expensive – in 1780 one pound of beads cost a cow.
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.
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.
What is the history of African trade beads?
African trade beads originated from Europe and were in the past used for trading purposes in Africa in the period between the 17th century and the early 20th century. Before the abolition of slavery, these beads were historically used by chiefs as currency in exchange for slaves, as well as gold and ivory.
Why are beads important in Africa?
Beads are an integral part of African history from time immemorial. They function as money, they possess power, they indicate wealth, they are spiritual talismans, and they form coded messages.
How are beads created?
Wound beads are produced by winding a hot and molten rod of glass or strand drawn from molten glass around a metal wire called a mandrel. The bead maker sits in front of the heat source, typically a flame, heating the glass and winding the bead. … The most elaborately decorated wound beads are known as fancy beads.
When were beads created?
It is thought that bead trading was one of the reasons why humans developed language. Beads are said to have been used and traded for most of our history. The oldest beads found to date were at Blombos Cave, about 72,000 years old, and at Ksar Akil in Lebanon, about 40,000 years old.
How did the first glass beads come to South Africa?
Glass beads were introduced on the east coast of Africa by Arab and (from the 16th to 18th centuries) Portuguese traders, and reached southern Africa in small quantities through internal trade. After European settlement at the Cape, imported glass beads became more plentiful, though still expensive.
What do African beads symbolize?
Waist beads are a traditional African accessory that consist of small glass beads on a string or wire worn around the waist or hips. … In Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal, and other West African countries, waist beads are a symbol of femininity, fertility, sensuality, and spiritual well-being.
What cultures do beading?
Beading has a very long artistic and cultural history among the Indigenous people in Canada. At least 8,000 years before Europeans came to Canada, First Nations people were using beads in elaborate designs and for trade.
Why did Indians trade for beads?
Most of the beads were made of glass, a material previously unknown to the Native cultures. They often replaced Indian-made beads of bone, shell, copper and stone. Beads were important for early trade items because they were compact and easily transportable.
What are Zulu beads?
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.
Who made the first glass beads?
Glass beads were first created about 3,500 years ago in Egypt and Mesopotamia, and ever since glass bead designs and bead-making techniques grew increasingly complex. The ancient glassmakers were initially making glass from just three simple components – sand quartz, soda ash and limestone.
What are spiritual beads?
Spiritual beads bracelets not only help us connect to higher consciousness, but they also have an amazing connection to earth’s grounding force. Gemstones like Tourmaline, Jade, Amethyst, and Onyx exude essential grounded energies that bring us into alignment and balance with nature.
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.
What are African beads called?
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.