Beads have been used since antiquity, not only to dress the body, but as measures of value in economic and ritual exchanges. Their popularity has never waned, and in recent years their trade has enjoyed a world-wide revival. Beads have deep and multiple meanings: in many cultures, together with garments, they reflect age, gender and social status, and are a vehicle through which people store, exchange and transmit wealth.This absorbing book analyzes techniques and gendered aspects of the making of beads, as well as their role in trade and body adornment, in a wide range of societies, from the ancient Mediterranean to Renaissance Venice and present-day Southern Africa and West Africa, where they have become a symbol of cultural survival and identity. Anyone interested in material culture, anthropology, art history, and gender studies will find that this book provides fascinating insights into attitudes toward the body and its dress as well as systems of social classification.
About the Author
Lidia D. Sciama The Centre for Cross-Cultural Research on Women,University of Oxford Joanne B. Eicher Regents' Professor, Department of Design, Housing and Apparel, University of Minnesota
Table of Contents
Lidia D. Sciama, Introduction Helen Hughes-Brock, Greek Beads of the Mycenean Period (ca. 1650 - 1100 B.C.): The Age of the Heroines of Mythology Elena Kingdon, Ornament and Belief Margret Carey, Beads and Beadwork in African Societies Ann O'Hear, Women and Men in the Production and Uses of Lantana Beads Francesca Trivellato, Women at Work: Venetian Glass Beads in the International Markets. An Historical Perspective Penny Dransart, A Short History of Rosaries in the Andes Carol Wills, What Beads Mean to Craft Producers Supported by Oxfam Stefany Tomalin, Bead Terms and their Definitions Joanne B. Eicher, Beads, Gender, and Hierarchy among the Kalabari of Nigeria Index