ART & EYE BEADS
The marvel of non-etched beads
Non-etched beads can, in the best cases, be like sculptural art.
Each time a hundred or sometimes a thousand ancient beads have
passed through our hands, one or two of them will stand out as
Michelangelo's famous quotes about his sculptures fit perfect in
Every block of stone has a statue inside it,
and it is the task
of the sculptor to discover it.
I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.
In a sculpture, we generally know
what is up, down, front, and back. A bead is more like the moon
or a planet. If a sculpture is a liberated angel, a bead is more
like a spirit carved free. Maybe you already know what central
theme you prefer in the bead, but the bead has dark sides.
And maybe one day you find out that you like the dark side of your
The patterns of beads unfold within the 3-dimensional form of
the stone itself. Due to the spatial condition of the 'canvas', the subject-object position of
observation is liquid. The aesthetic design of a bead is
ever-changing. You turn the bead slightly in your hand, and
voila! You have a new landscape, new motifs with new experiences and
messages. In the light from these shifting viewpoints made by
your fingers, the best beads are
A 2-dimensional scan or photo cannot do full justice to the
fluid beauty of a well planned and crafted ancient bead. You
don't rotate a picture or a painting
while observing it. The dimensional position between you and the
object is more or less fixed.
A web-photo cannot display the true splendor of an ancient art
bead. To state my point, I have backed up the bead scans with
video-recordings on this page. Now, don't look at my dirty
fingers when you enjoy the beads in
the videos below. Look at
the moon! The fingers are pointing there. And don't steal my
Survival of the fittest ... art bead Displayed here, you will find a collection of ancient
beads with highly unusual
I wonder how many kgs of raw stone material it took to liberate
the dormant beauty of these
angels of Michelangelo - or maybe it was just sheer luck or coincidence?
Maybe what is now considered as art-beads made with intention by
their masters, in fact, was a product of pure coincidence. Or
more likely: Beads with rare patterns and colors tended to survive in a kind of Darwinian survival of the
fittest mechanism. In this scenario, all the generations of
bead caretakers became active, selective custodians, always
taking a bit more care of the better and more special beads and
therefore indirectly influencing the evolution of art-beads.
Other, both parallel and contradictory explanations are also
possible: Beads with strange patterns and designs could not be used in
daily life as
nishka, money. You could not buy a new cow for them,
because the man at the exchange office would not accept them.
Hence they were not subjected to so much wear and tear. One
could also imagine a scenario where uniform designed beads acted
as currency while at the same time the more special ones,
intentionally made or created by coincidence, were
picked out from the assembly line of mass production to
facilitate religious and animistic purposes. Art beads would
then be the beads with the
most significant symbolic power.
These thoughts are, of course, speculative. However, I only
present viewpoints for you to use in your own free process of
ideation while swimming in the stream of consciousness.
THE IDEAL ANCIENT ART BEAD - A VIEWPOINT
The small over cooked
sulemani bead displayed below is quite remarkable. It exhibits
excellent contrast patterns and artistic motifs from whatever side it is
This kind of full spatial perfection in designs can only be seen in a very few
lucky beads. The
majority of ancient art beads will only display one central motif, leaving
the rest of the bead's surface more or less uninteresting.
That is why I never went for Dzi-or single line sulemani beads. They all look alike,
which is an advantage for them in their role as a parallel bit(bead)-coin currency. However, they are not art unless you
like mass-produced lithographic-like art objects. Dzi, collected
outside its original context, is in many cases hyped by and for
sheep-like nouveau riche people without any independent and
individual opinions about art or anything. They are the
Rolex-watches of the bead world. The DZI has become a Lama-Rolex,
and as in the case of Rolex-watches. it has become increasingly
difficult to distinguish between a fake and an original. Do I
need to say more?
The beads displayed on Ancientbead.com and especially on this
page are for the tiger-personality. Such a person does not follow the path
created by others. He is a path-creator himself.
A bead for a Tiger-personality
'Multi-motif' beads are in general small because it is more
difficult to 'create' or liberate angels from bigger pieces of stone.
I have named it the Tiger Bead, although its
stripes are not yellow. To state my point, I have set the price
for this bead to 25.000 USD. The person that would purchase such
a bead for such an amount would not think in terms of investment
because most likely he or she would not be able to profit from
it in a later sale. Such a person would be a person of courage
and true artistic taste.... and of course, wealthy.
ART-SAN 2 -
* 17 mm The Tiger Bead
The ancient smile of the Joker
Now have a look at the bead below. A bead does
not need to be interesting from all sides if it can demonstrate
one powerful single motif. As you can observe on the video,
this bead does have a comparatively dull backside. However, who
needs an exiting backside on a bead with such a motif on
the front side! In my view, this bead is just awesome. What do you
ART-SAN 3 -
14 * 10,5 mm The smiling Joker
WHAT DO THE ANCIENT PATTERNS SIGNIFY? I adore the visual complexity of ancient beads. The patterns
in the layers and the aged and crazed surfaces seem to speak to
me. What do they say?
It is difficult for modern secular western humans without
extensive travel experience to
understand the importance of symbolic thinking in ancient
cultures. I have been living with
tribal people in the East. They think in symbols where I try to
understand through cognition.
It is almost for sure that specific patterns in beads had
symbolic meanings in ancient times.
Beads were, in this context, archetypical communication
systems. They became inter-subjective realities as far as there
was a collective consensus given in time and space for what they
Furthermore, they represented a cultural evolution in the
animistic relation the ancient man could have to nature - in
this case, to a stone. He picked up that stone and made a beautiful bead out of it. In this
sense, he now could claim a symbolic control over the otherwise
merciless nature that surrounded him.
Apart from the universal eye, an archetypical symbol present in
almost all cultures at all times, it is, however, difficult to
'read' and understand the specific language of ancient bead patterns. Once lost, it becomes
virtually impossible to revive this sign language written in and
Even the obvious and not deniable eye symbols, so often
displayed on ancient beads, gets complex once we start to ask
further questions. What did that eye mean for a particular
culture in a specific time? Was it an all-seeing eye? Was
the all-seeing eye a symbol of pure non-dual consciousness or
was it a moral big brother eye watching you. Was it a protective
eye or an evil eye casting out spells? Or was it more like the
shamanistic third eye
of the ancient Rishis and shamans, being able to see things in
We need to be careful about interpreting the patterns of ancient
easy it becomes wishful thinking to see pictographic symbolic
representations of yoni's, lingams, bindi's, five
elements, and other divine or magic forces.
The same is, of course, the case with the patterns of etched
beads. Therefore in a way, I love that beads with the etching
displayed below on the net is called military beads. It is
Post Modern Bead Magic
This viewpoint, however, in no way lessens the impact and the
symbolic beauty of an art bead. Anything that opens up our hearts and minds is
beautiful! Whether intended or not the bead can reveal sacred dimensions
as they are in your soul right in this present moment.
This is post-modern magic. You
make the bead magick by looking at it with concentration and
energy. It becomes a mirror for your soul when you decipher the secret pictographic language of the bead as it feels
right for you, and hence you create your own divine world right
You have the right to do so!
Because you created God in your own image as he created you to do.
DOUBLE EYED BEADS
Nothing more rare and powerful as a double eyed bead! No
matter to which side the coin flips, you win! The eye, in whatever form it takes, is a trans-cultural symbol throughout
history of humankind. When you look at this
marvelous eye-bead, it with inspiration from Nietzsche,
looks back at you.
Eye-beads with concentric circles seems for me more
powerful. What do you think?
ART-SAN 4 -
* 6 mm
ART-SAN 5 -
* 5 mm
Sold to Arthur
ART-SAN 6 -
10,5 * 5 mm
ART-SAN 7 -
11 * 10 * 8 mm
ART-SAN 8 -
12,5 * 10 * 9 mm
This multi colored agate bead is one of the most
beautiful beads I have ever seen. What does it say to me when I
look at it with esthetic adoration? It tells me that there is a
higher order in everything. This order is ruled by what I would
term holy mathematics and geometrics.
FAB 77 -SANAT 2 - 34.5
* 9 mm
Symmetry can play a great role in inducing this
kind of calmness in the soul. However, as the bead below
demonstrates that also fractal forms can tell us the tale of the
worlds perfect imperfection. The lines on this bead could be a
map of a sea shore as well.
ART-SAN 9 -
* 17,5 mm
A powerful crystal formation within concentric
contrasting circles of black and white.
This bead is indeed looking at the one that looks at it.
ART-SAN 9a -
* 15 mm
The Superman bead
I call this bead the Superman Bead. According to my
Post Modern Symbolic Magick thinking, this bead gets charged
like a battery with my inner subjective reality. What I believe
comes true if there is enough energy and concentration behind
it. However I get help from the pattern in the stone because it
resonates with my thought form.
If I would call any other bead a Superman bead it would not work
because the pattern would not inspire the parts of my brain that
still thinks in symbols, no matter how rational the other parts
have been trained to be.