MY FAVORITE ANCIENT BEADS - as seen with my Western eyes
If you are out hunting for the kind of
sublime beauty as seen here, I have to warn you.
The ancient beads displayed on this particular page are not cheap!
They are my favorite beads. I
love them as far as you can love not living art-materials and
would not mind to keep them as a custodian for this lifetime.
Here you can marvel at beads in a huge cultural, geographical and historical variety.
They will come in all shapes, colors and patterns. Some of them
will be scarred, even almost broken. Others will be so perfect
that it is hard to believe, that they are ancient.
What binds them all together.... ?
It is beauty.
Click on the pictures for larger image
RB 1 - 31 * 7 mm - I have named this bead "The Perfection of Organic Symmetry".
What a beautiful and slim bead!
A really rare Ancient Talisman. A multicolored Mauryan eye bead! In a high quality crafted bead like this nothing is accidental. I marvel at the composition. It is a
powerful demonstration of ancient abstract art work. Note the
many different colors in organic and hence not sterile symmetry.
Form, design/motif & color
How a remarkable bead should look like is of course a subjective
What is beautiful is, as stated often on this site, dependent on the eyes of the beholder.
For people in China the bead has to be perfect without damage.
For me an ancient bead in certain cases increases its beauty by
imperfection. I can be remarkable in form, design, motif, color
and/or in the story it can tell us.
The Western bead eye
I look at the bead with a Western eye. A Western eye like mine
is not professionalized to see within a split second if a bead
is fake or not. However it might be more childlike and innocent.
Maybe it sees things that the professional trained eye does not
In fact could it be that the Asian Bead emperor wears no
clothes? Are all our opinions and preferences not like clothes
protecting us from the naked truth of every things impermanence?
As I see it our ways of looking are made of dream material only
to be percieved as real in an eco chamber creating a social
construct of inter-subjective reality.
I know an Austrian bead collector. He will never purchase a
perfect bead. Why? His father was an archeologist. That is why.
Perfect beads are an anomaly boosted by Asian bead greed.
If you look at beads with the purpose of investing in
bit(bead)coins, it is obvious that the perspective of your
eyesight will be narrowed down.
This type of Asian collectors in general have no historical and
archeological knowledge. In a way they are similar to the modern
super rich investor-collector of modern art. Here
plays a larger and larger role because this type of collector
hardly has any interest or knowledge in the art piece he
purchases. It is only seen as an investment.
So let get back to the world of ancient beads. I don't claim to be an
expert. I also like almost perfect beads. However imperfections
and scars are secondary in my choice of beads. If a bead
displays beautiful colors, geometry, forms and shapes I rate
that above all else.
When I look at the patterns in a bead I see holy geometrics.
These poor beads never went to university. Their makers were
also not literate. However, the patterns follow the universal
rules of mathematics and geometrics.
Hence the ancient bead reminds me that the world is not only
governed by blind chaos. The chaos is as intelligent as the
cosmos. It is
just a form of intelligence we have yet not deciphered.
The longing for absolute perfection is often dangerous, especially
when collectively crystallized in politics. It reflects a
Also on the individual level the striving for perfection often
turns out not to be healthy. I guess some of you dear readers
already had some similar thoughts on that subject. I see the
scarred old bead as a perfect projection field for my self. In
me there is spite of my scars and age still Kalos
Kai Agathos . There is still a firm life experienced
belief in the the beautiful good and just.
* 9 mm
I call this bead: Proof of God
Don't misunderstand me. I also love perfect beads, but only set as an
organic part of a mosaic of perfectly imperfect beads. Recently at a bead fair in Bangkok I had the immense luck
to get some for me one out of a million perfection beads. The
mainland Chinese buyers did not even look at these rare and
For me they are out of this world, but totally bypassed in the
blindness that always comes with greed. A great example is the
extremely rareIndo-Parthian bead displayed below:
* 14 mm
The picture below displays some of the absolute unique
translucency in this super sublime bead.
The picture above shows the bead when not lighted up from behind.
general rule rule a sublime ancient bead should display high contrast in both lines and colors. A display of as
many distinctive different natural colors as possible further
adds to a beads 'remarkability' score. This is particularly true
when it comes to agate beads. However this is not the case with
the bead displayed below.
* 13 mm
RB - 38 * 9,5 * 8 mm - I
have baptized this bead 'The Stone Rose'.
I have never seen a bead type like the specimen displayed above.
The top of this awesome multicolored eye agate bead is shining
like a precious stone!
SUBLIME INDUS BEADS In fact I consider all my Indus beads, both
the early and
the late to be remarkable.
However displayed on this page
you will see some of the most outstanding ones within this
* 8,5 mm
Green banded jasper bead
Note the color difference from dark green to lighter green
RB - (EIV 49) -
36 * 12 mm
IV-TBA 7 - 25 * 10 mm
PERFECTION OF IMPERFECTION
Seen with my western eyes, a remarkable
does not need to be perfect to be beautiful. Often I love
the scarred bead more than the perfect one. Scars and cracks can be
of time, both made by man and time itself.
Use a loupe to
discover the hidden
micro world of ancient beads! If
you are in possession of a truly remarkable and ancient bead, I
recommend you to have a good loupe at hand. That will
enable you to dive deeper into the micro world of the bead. Here
you can discover marvelous patterns and colors so far hidden
from the eyes of normal everyday attention. Beads can be like miniature
As displayed above you can see that a
pattern does not need to be symmetrical to qualify for the
sublime. I am not perfect and therefore I cannot see myself
a perfect bead.
When there somehow is an intuitive sync between my imperfection
and the imperfection of the bead, it becomes easier for me to
let the scars of the bead heal my scars - not in the sense that
the scars disappears - on the contrary: The synergy of scars
becomes an existential act of post modern wabi-sabi.
Here I realize that it is the very scars that makes me beautiful
and alive, I become an out-standing individual
human being thanks to my scars.
Be grateful for your scars!
So Ancientbead.com can in some ways be used as a post modern psychotherapeutic
site! It provides tools for the rare ones that has seen the
tremendous potentiality in cultivating gratefulness for so
called 'negative' things that happened to them in their life. As
C.G. Jung pointed out many years ago we grow by making our
RB - 26 * 16 mm
Another truly remarkable
multicolored agate bead with a dark infinite eye placed within
the boundaries of a
fiery sharp and golden rhombic pattern.
I call this bead The Eye of Mordor.
Beads are like music
I am also a music
composer and producer. When I make live
recordings in multi layers in my digital studio I am often not
able to keep the rhythm in such a way that the sum total of
tracks are in sync. In such situations I am tempted to use a
automatic quantize. However if I use this function the
music becomes sterile and dull.
Perfection often equals death.
RB - 23 * 16 mm
strong contrasts in this
bead in soft blue, strong white and black
I call this bead
Duality in unity.
RB - 21,5 * 17 * 14,5 mm
Here we have a super sharp all seeing
eye bead in a variety of soft autumn colors. I dare to say that
these beads rivals the best contemporary art.
I have named this bead
The Autumn Eye
RB - 24,5 * 11 mm
The patina of this eye-bead is unique in the way it supports and
amplifies the natural lines in the original stone. It is almost
as if the bead is looking at you!
The name of this bead is Concentric layers of 'I'
The patterns in this perfectly
fractal. The same is true for landscapes and continents. With a
little imagination I can see
Africa or South America in the central motif. In the left eye
formation I see a person with crossed legs in Meditation. My
conclusion on a meta level: I am a fractal. It takes a fractal
to know one.
38 * 15 mm
I call this bead
The Fractality of Me
Also this bead displays fractality.
Note how the 'head' in the first photo is repeated in the second
* 9 mm
* 8 mm
RB 13 - 31 * 11 mm Not for
sale A wonderful
ancient translucent natural banded Chung DZI bead with a unique 'patina'.
displays dual, organic symmetrical swirling stripes. The bead has a translucent
fiery orange color,
which gives a marvellous contrast to the natural white
stripes. This color has been made stronger by ancient heat
The repetetive geometric patterns on this variegated jasper
Indus-bead speaks for itself. The bead is scarred, but it still
manages to pass on the ancient message of beauty understood as
order in chaos.
47 * 13
RB -SANAT 1
Click on pictures for larger images
I call this bead The
The largest Yoni bead I have ever seen!
This super rare Indus bead is made out of amazonite.
RB 10 -
39 * 20 * 9 mm
I call this bead The
In the case of RB 8 I have chosen to display it here because
there is an animal engraved in the bead. This is very very rare.
I have only seen one other Indus bead with an engrave. It
displays a bull motif and belongs to Mr. Tira in Bangkok. You
can see it here:
The animal shown on RB 8 cannot
be identified with certainty. However due to its long tail it
resembles a predator, in which case it most probably would be be a cheetah.
Terra cotta - Quetta, Pakistan
The cheetah can as the only member of
of the big cats, be tamed. Note the rope around
the neck of the cheetah. The Indus people used
domesticated cheetahs for the purpose of hunting.
REMARKABLE SMALL AND BIG ANCIENT BEADS The Mesopotamian Mystery
... The worlds smallest 3-eyed bead?
RB 12 - 8,5 * 3,5 * 2,5 mm
How strange it may sound... I found this
tiny 3-eyed bead in a plastic bag of broken beads that followed a lot of
Indus beads I purchased in Bangkok. On the photo above you can see the
content of the bag including this tiny eye bead. The bead is in such
good condition that it even could pass the test of being examined by
I have never seen such a bead before. It was indeed a mystery. However
came when I at the Bangkok bead fair 2017 observed similar beads on a
bead timeline board made by
Li Yu, MA, lecturer at Sichuan University and
Han Muzhe, PHD student, Central China Normal University. They
explained to me that this type of tiny eye beads were manufactured in
ancient Mesopotamia and then exported to the Indus Valley.
I have baptized this bead: The Mesopotamian Mystery
This tiny 3-eyed bead reminds me of
the very small steatite beads, often not more than on
millimeter, found in Harappa. These almost microscopic beads
show extraordinary skill and patience in their manufacture, a
skill similar to the one used in the eye bead above.
The King Bead
RB - KB
- 74 * 64 * 36 mm
From one extreme to the
other... I have named
this colossal bead The King Bead.
This is a highly unusual bead. I guess
this is the only one of its kind. Note how
the color of the backside of the bead has been changed
by generations of contact with human skin. I would call
this a wonderful patina made by sweat of Kings.
This remarkable bead does not stand
out because of its patterns or due to variations in color. On
the contrary it is uniform. However here the pure and
even material becomes a virtue in itself. Such a large pattern less
without any change is in itself an almost impossible
The beautiful green stone is in itself a rare gem. Only
in the most rare cases you will find a pure even and homogeneous
stone in this size!
The shape of this unique ancient bead forms an abstract stylized tortoise. This is no coincidence. The tortoise is an incarnation of the god Vishnu, the God that upholds the balance on earth and in human civilizations, and this is exactly the task for the good king.
My guess is that this huge bead has served as a
Royal Insignia worn by a line of Hindu Kings somewhere in
ancient India. This can be substantiated by the ancient text
Brihatsamhita that states that a King should keep a tortoise
as an auspicious sign.
(Distinctive Beads in Ancient India, Maurya Jyotsna p.47)