ART & EYE BEADS
The marvel of non-etched beads
At their finest,
non-etched beads can embody the essence of sculptural art. Every
now and then, as hundreds, or even thousands, of ancient beads
cross our paths, a select few emerge as truly extraordinary.
In this context, Michelangelo's insightful musings on his
sculptural creations perfectly encapsulate this experience:
block of stone, a statue lies waiting to be discovered,
the sculptor's task to unveil it.
I saw an
angel within the marble and
continued to carve until I set it
With a sculpture,
we can typically discern its orientation – what is up, down,
front, or back. However, a bead resembles more closely a
celestial body, like the moon or a planet. If a sculpture is an
angel granted liberation, a bead resembles a spirit carved free.
You might have already discerned what attracts you most to a
particular bead, but remember, like the moon, a bead also
possesses unexplored facets. And who knows, one day you might
find that the undiscovered aspect of your bead intrigues you
intricacies of a bead's design unfurl within the
three-dimensional space of the stone itself. As a result of this
spatial context, the observer's perspective is fluid and
ever-changing. The aesthetic charm of a bead is dynamic; a
slight shift in its position in your hand can unveil a whole new
panorama, revealing fresh motifs that generate new insights and
interpretations. As your fingers guide its motion, the finest
beads morph into a form of kinetic calligraphy.
A two-dimensional scan or photograph can hardly capture the full
spectrum of a well-crafted ancient bead's fluid elegance. Unlike
a bead, a picture or painting doesn't invite you to rotate it
during observation. The dimensional relation between you and the
image is relatively fixed.
A web image alone can't truly express the magnificent splendor
of an ancient art bead. To underline my point, I've supplemented
the bead scans with video footage on this page. Please focus on
the beads in the videos below, not my unadorned fingers.
Remember, the moon is where the fingers point. Also, kindly
refrain from duplicating my fingerprints!
Survival of the fittest ... art bead The exhibition you see here represents a collection of
ancient beads with extraordinarily unique designs.
I find myself pondering how many kilograms of raw stone were
necessary to extract the latent elegance of these Michelangelo's
angels - or was it all a matter of pure happenstance?
Perhaps these pieces, now regarded as art-beads intentionally
shaped by their creators, were simply the product of pure
serendipity. Alternatively, it might be that beads with unique
patterns and colors endured through a sort of Darwinian
selection process - survival of the artfully fittest. In this
perspective, successive generations of bead caretakers acted as
discerning guardians, always taking extra care of the more
unique and striking beads, thereby indirectly shaping the
evolution of art-beads.
Other explanations, both complementary and conflicting, could
also be posited: beads with unique patterns and designs might
have been impractical for everyday use as nishka, or currency.
They wouldn't be suitable for buying a new cow, as the exchange
broker might not accept them. Hence, they were spared from the
usual wear and tear. We could also conceive a scenario where
uniformed, designed beads served as currency, while the more
unique ones, either intentionally crafted or birthed by chance,
were singled out from the production line for religious and
animistic purposes. In this case, art beads would be the ones
endowed with the most potent symbolic power.
Of course, these ideas are speculative. However, my intent is
merely to offer viewpoints for your own creative ideation
process as you navigate the riveting 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's why I've never been drawn to Dzi or single line Sulemani
beads. They're too similar to one another, a trait that aids
their role as a parallel bead-currency, much like a bit coin.
Yet, they don't really qualify as art, unless you appreciate
mass-produced, lithographic-like art objects. Outside their
original context, Dzi often appeals to those newly wealthy
individuals who prefer following trends rather than forming
their own individual tastes in art or otherwise. They are the
Rolex watches of the bead world. The DZI has evolved into a kind
of Lama-Rolex, and just like Rolex watches, it's becoming
increasingly challenging to tell the authentic from the
counterfeit. Need I say more?
The beads displayed on Ancientbead.com, particularly on this
page, cater to those with a tiger-like personality. Such
individuals don't follow trails blazed by others. Instead, they
are trailblazers themselves.
Beads designed for a Tiger-personality 'Multi-motif' beads are generally small, as it is more
challenging to 'create' or set free angels from larger stone
I've aptly christened it the Tiger Bead, despite its stripes not
being yellow. To emphasize my point, I've set the price for this
bead at a hefty 25,000 USD. Anyone who would purchase this bead
for such an amount would not be thinking about it as an
investment, because they would likely not profit from it in a
resale. This individual would be someone of courage, genuine
artistic taste... and, of course, considerable wealth.
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
UNDERSTANDING THE SYMBOLISM IN ANCIENT PATTERNS My admiration for the visual complexity of ancient beads is
immense. The patterns within the layers, the age-worn and crazed
surfaces – they seem to communicate something profound. But what
exactly do they convey?
For modern western individuals, especially those without
extensive travel experience, understanding the significance of
symbolic thinking in ancient cultures can be challenging. Having
lived with tribalcommunities in the East, I've observed that they perceive
the world through symbols, where I attempt to comprehend through
There's a strong likelihood that specific patterns in beads
carried symbolic meanings in ancient times. Beads, in this
context, served as archetypal communication systems. They
evolved into intersubjective realities as long as there was a
collective consensus, grounded in time and space, about their
Moreover, they signified a cultural evolution in the animistic
relationships ancient peoples had with nature - in this case, a
stone. A person picked up a stone and transformed it into a
beautiful bead, thereby asserting symbolic control over the
otherwise unforgiving natural environment surrounding them.
However, deciphering the language of ancient bead patterns,
aside from the universal eye symbol prevalent across cultures
and time periods, can be challenging. Once this symbolic
language is lost, reviving it becomes a daunting task.
Even the conspicuous eye symbols frequently found on ancient
beads become complex when we delve deeper. What did the eye
symbolize for a specific culture at a given time? Was it an
omnipresent eye? Did this omnipresent eye symbolize pure,
non-dual consciousness, or was it a moral overseer? Was it a
protective eye or an evil eye casting spells? Or did it resemble
the shamanistic third eye of ancient Rishis and shamans, capable
of perceiving other dimensions?
It's crucial to exercise caution while interpreting the patterns
on ancient beads. It's all too tempting to project wishful
thinking onto them, perceiving pictographic symbolic
representations of yonis, lingams, bindis, the five elements,
and other divine or magical forces.
The same caution applies to the patterns on etched beads. That's
why I find it amusing that the etched beads displayed below on
the internet are often referred to as 'military beads'. The
designation is truly laughable.
The Meta-Modern Magic of Beads
This perspective, however, in no way diminishes the symbolic
beauty and impact of an art bead. Anything that opens our hearts
and minds is beautiful! Whether it's by design or accident, a
bead can reveal the sacred dimensions that exist within your
soul at this very moment.
This is meta-modern magic. You make the bead magical by
observing it with focus and vitality. It serves as a mirror for
your soul when you decipher its enigmatic pictographic language
in a way that resonates with you, thereby creating your own
divine world in the here and now!
You have every right to do so!
After all, you've created God in your own image, just as He
DOUBLE EYED BEADS
There's nothing more potent and rare than a double-eyed bead!
Regardless of how the coin lands, you're always a winner! The
eye, in all its myriad forms, has been a universal symbol
throughout human history. When you gaze at this exquisite
eye-bead, it gazes back at you, drawing inspiration from
Eye-beads with concentric circles appear more powerful to me.
What's your opinion?
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
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've dubbed this bead the Superman Bead. According to my
meta-modern symbolic magic perspective, this bead functions like
a battery, charged by my personal subjective reality. What I
believe becomes reality when it is backed by enough energy and
focus. However, the pattern within the stone aids me because it
resonates with my thought forms.
If I were to name any other bead the Superman bead, it wouldn't
have the same effect because its pattern wouldn't inspire the
parts of my brain that still engage in symbolic thinking,
regardless of how rationally trained the other parts might be.