Synopses & Reviews
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.
"Well-edited and provides rich, detailed material for a comparative analysis of beads world-wide ... The book succeeds in bridging several disciplines, and it should be of great interest to historians, anthropologists, and archaeologists -- and of course to the practical bead enthusiast who wants to learn about the social role of stringed objects.'"--Bead Society Trust Newsletter
"This intriguing work is very fully and helpfully illustrated and will probably tempt quite a few readers to look out for antique beads on their travels." --Oxford: The Journal of the Oxford Society
"Packed with useful information." --Bead Society Newsletter
"Beads and Bead Makers is an important contribution to understanding these often overlooked small bits of material culture that archaeologists have tended to take more seriously than ethnographers." --American Anthropologist
"This is a book which repays dipping into, each essay providing a scholarly and thought-provoking insight into beads and gender in a specific context." --Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute
"The coverage is broad in terms of time and geographic expanse: neolithic and early dynastic China, Mycenean Greece to the streets of present day New Orleans Mardi Gras." --Ornament
About the Author
Edited by Lidia D. Sciama
, The Centre for Cross-Cultural Research on Women, University of Oxford and 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 OHear, 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