For centuries, beads and beadwork have played an important part in many African societies – not only as items of trade, but in social and cultural life. In the beautiful creations shown here, beads have been used in their thousands to create artistic and impactful designs.
What do beads represent in African culture?
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.
Why are beads important in Africa?
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.
Where did beads originate from?
The art of making glass beads probably originated in Venice, Italy. In any case, we know that this area had a flourishing industry in the production of beads by the early 14th century. from there the production of beads moved to other parts of Europe, the most notable being Bohemia, France, England, and Holland.
What do beads symbolize?
Large and colorful beads symbolize wealth and social status, and blue beads are thought to enhance fertility. … African beads might also be associated with Christianity and Islam, just as those religions use prayer beads in other parts of the world.
What do beads Symbolise?
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 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.
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.
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.
What is African trade beads?
Trade Beads are beads that have been used as a form of currency for the exchange of goods and services especially in West Africa. … Some of the more common items that these beads were bartered for include ivory, gold, slaves, and other goods that were in demand by Europeans and colonial overlords.
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.
Why do African men wear beads?
Zulu men wear beads to show commitment to women they intend to marry.