African Trade Beads. Circa 1850s. These glass millefiori beads are very dear to me. I bought them from a collector in Bali, Indonesia years ago and have loved them dearly. Their historical significance is quite dark, but their beauty a testament to centuries of glass blowing that speak through the bright colours and patterns.
Millefiori is Italian for a thousand flowers. These are Venetian glass, but the technique dates back to Western Asia in the first millennium B.C.
These beads were brought from Venice, Italy to Africa in the mid 1800s and traded for goods, services, and African slaves. To hold these beads is to touch history, and history is not always easy to grasp or understand.
To me, they represent humanity and the duality between our ability to create something so beautiful but to use for such sinister and self motivated purposes. I have held them in both awe and horror; they have a weight to them that is beyond that of glass.
None the less, they are antique and collectible and looking for a new home. I am reluctantly selling these, and not so secretly hoping that they stay with me, but it is also time to share them.
PM me for any more info that you may require.
Listed in my Etsy Shop. #africantradebeads #freespirit #antique #travel #art #millifiori #calamityandjane #beauty #blownglass #venitian #collect #collectible #beads #bohemian #explore #beadart #history #beadlife