ANCIENT 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 remarkable.
 
Michelangelo's famous quotes about his sculptures fit perfect in this context:

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 Moon more.



Jupiter

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 morphing calligraphy.
  
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 fingerprints, please!
  
Survival of the fittest ... art bead
Displayed here you will find a collection of ancient beads with highly unusual
designs.
 
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 had a tendency 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 hence 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 to 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 observed.
 
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.
 



ART-SAN 1 - 8 mm

 
 
 
 

 
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.
 
However, the massive over cooked sulemani bead displayed below manages to do the job quite well.
 
What do you think?
 
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 - 27 * 17 mm
The Tiger Bead
Price 25.000 USD
 

 

 
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 think?
 



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 seems 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 intersubjective realities as far as there was a collective consensus given in time and space for what they signified.
 
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 on stone.

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 other dimensions.
  
We need to be careful interpreting the patterns of ancient beads. All too 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 hilarious.

 

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 heart and mind 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 now!
 
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 what ever form it takes is a trans-cultural symbol through all history of mankind. 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 - 13 * 6 mm


 



 



 



ART-SAN 5 - 12 * 5 mm
 

 


 


ART-SAN 5 - 10,5 * 5 mm
 
 

 



 


ART-SAN 6 - 11 * 10 * 8 mm

 
 




 


ART-SAN 6 - 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.
 



ART-SAN 7 - 23 * 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 8 - 24 * 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 9 - 23 * 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.
 




ART-SAN 10 - 27 * 17 mm
 


 



 


ART-SAN 11 - 26,5 * 19,5 mm
 

 



 


ART-SAN 12 - 21,5 * 16,5 mm
 

 
 


 


ART-SAN 13 - 18 * 14,5 mm
 

 



 


ART-SAN 14 - 16 * 12 mm
 

 



 


ART-SAN 15 - 18,5 * 12 mm
 

 



 
 

ART-SAN 16 - 12,5 * 9,5 mm
 
 

 



 


ART-SAN 17 - 19,5 * 16 mm
 

 



 


ART-SAN 18 - 10 * 9 mm
 

 



 


ART-SAN 19 - 20 * 21 mm
 
 

 



 


ART-SAN 20 - 21,5 * 18,5 mm




 



 


ART-SAN 21 - 16 mm

 



 



ART-SAN 22 - 17 mm
 
 
 



 



ART-SAN 23 - 15,5 * 14 mm


 



 


ART-SAN 24 - 15 * 14 mm


 


 



 


ART-SAN 25 - 18 * 16,5 mm
 

 



 


ART-SAN 26 - 14 * 11,5 mm
 

 



 


ART-SAN 27 - 12 * 7 mm
 
 

 



 

'
ART-SAN 28 - 13 * 11,5 mm
 
 

 



 


ART-SAN 28 - 15,5 * 13 mm
 
 


 



 


ART-SAN 28 - 11 * 10 mm
 
 

 



 


ART-SAN 29 - 13 mm

 


 



 


ART-SAN 30 - 12 * 13 mm

 


 



 


ART-SAN 30 - 12 * 9 mm

 

 



 


ART-SAN 31 - 9 mm

 

 



 


ART-SAN 32 - 16,5 * 1 mm

 
 



 


ART-SAN  33 - 19 * 17 mm

 

 



 


ART-SAN 34 - 16,5 * 14 mm

 


 



 


ART-SAN 35 - 10,5 * 9 mm

 

 



 


ART-SAN 36 - 9.5 * 8 mm

 

 



 


ART-SAN 37 - 14 * 10 mm

 

 



 


ART-SAN 38 - 13,5 * 8 mm



 



 


ART-SAN 39 - 9,5 * 8 mm

 


 
     


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Contact Gunnar Muhlman - gunnars@mail.com