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As collecting beads without restriction leads to a never ending story, I specialised in early trade beads from Mali (West-Africa), I divided the examples of my collection shown here in three groups:

An exception being the head pendant and the bead next to it, which were not found in Mali

1     hd01aa.jpg (2135 bytes)  The early period (Persian, Phoenician, Egyptian, 600.BC -100 AD;

          1.1.   phn04ba.jpg (1194 bytes)   Persian eye beads

          1.2.   mos05a.jpg (1334 bytes)   Egyptian mosaic beads

          1.3.   strty10a.JPG (1166 bytes)   Egyptian stratified eye beads

          1.4.   egw01a.jpg (1453 bytes)   Egyptian sandwich beads

          1.5.    rms4aa.jpg (3231 bytes)   Roman S-Beads

2     mos11a.jpg (1191 bytes)  Egyptian? Islamic? Venetian? (300BC?- 1700AD?)

          2.1.    mos31ba.jpg (1319 bytes)     Composite

          2.2.    mil08b.jpg (3236 bytes)     Mille fiori beads

          2.3.     cerml04b.jpg (2299 bytes)     Faience melon beads

3    arcom01a.jpg (1274 bytes)   Islamic glass beads (700-1400 AD);

         3.1.    arfold1b.jpg (2372 bytes)     Combed & folded beads

         3.2.    ary02b.jpg (2398 bytes)   Eye beads

        3.1.     murf01b.jpg (2908 bytes)     Mamaluk glass beads

Although the origin of the beads found in Mali is still under discussion, in particular the so-called Egyptian-Roman eye beads (one stream of thinking attributes them to the Arab period or even to the early Venetian epoch). Some of the beads found in Mali are unmistakably Egyptian stratified eye- Mosaic and Persian beads. In fact, in various literature they are attributed to the period from 600 BC until 100 AD. Trans-saharan trade has been proved to exist well before our era, supporting the likelihood of finding beads dating from before AD in Mali.


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None of the above should be copied in any way without written authorisation from the author

Last revised 26.04.98