Oseberg Viking ship - Norway
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Philosopher's Bead
Stone

L
et me straight away confess: Ancientbead.com is not a scientific site.

I am not a bead scientist and do not make any claims of being even a bead expert.
 
I am just drawn to the idea of seeing the world through the perspective of a hole in a piece of stone. What you will find here is a stream of consciousness passing through that tiny hole.
 
Not to be framed within a traditional scientist mindset gives on the other hand more freedom to explore different theories as ways of stringing together already known information in new ways.
 
Most of the extrapolated thoughts presented here are based on evidence, not evidence from books alone, but evidence validated from my body being present for years together in the countries from where the Beads have been sourced. Knowledge from books and from people who have their information from books alone is not sufficient.


READ ABOUT



Beads and
Baudrillard




Age
definition
of Beads

 


If you don't have extensive 'bodily' experience, your knowledge is in danger of being out of touch with reality. Somehow it is necessary to travel in a third-class bus in a third world country, to come to know that country.
 
I love to store half-baked bread. It can always be heated once more and served fresh. I must admit that not all of my essayistic thoughts are fully backed by sufficient evidence. I do however feel confident that many of them intuitively can point towards right directions which slowly can be substantiated with more evidence. If not so, I will only be too happy to deconstruct my theories.
 
I with this invite you to comment on my writing and give your opinion as a valuable gift for this site and the exploration of ancient beads.
 



 

 
Are you touched by the REAL?

Please have a click on the Early Indus Valley Beads. There I am writing a few words on how many people we were on the whole globe... not many as compared to now. Let us take these thoughts a bit further. How large a percentage, how many people living today will be able to hold something really real in their hands? Just think about it.... By real I mean something ancient made by human effort. It may be a bead or a pot - it does not matter. Today most humans are surrounded by the simulacra of plastic fantastic and digital mirages. Most of them don't mind, but my prediction is that more and more people will wake up from their smartphone slumber and start longing and looking for something that is not a simulation.
 
In this way, the meeting with an Indus bead represents a possibility at least for a split second to leave the matrix of modern materialism. By holding five thousand years of silent history in our hands we might realize how much the sound of our modern world sounds like a CD. Now compare that sound to the sound of an old LP.


Real is rare
In Thailand, the longing for the real is already happening big time! The Thais are passionate collectors of ancient artifacts. I recently visited this wonderful country with its even more wonderful people. To my big surprise, I here discovered a huge community of ancient bead collectors from all walks of life and from young to old. I was invited to a closed Facebook group of Thai bead lovers. Can you imagine how many people there are in this group? 8000!

 
Beads and meta-consciousness

Peter Francis Jr. said: The study of ancient beads is really the study of ancient people.

I also like to explore the one who studies beads and would, therefore, reformulate the above sentence: The study of ancient beads is really the study of the people who study them. That of course, includes the study of myself.

What we see and find in the beads is much more our own projections and modern way of perceiving and thinking. Even the expert often knows far less about ancient beads and the ancient people wearing them than he is willing to admit. I have in my long life been in many walks of life as an academic.

What has surprised me in the bead world is the absolute certainty with which some bead experts proclaim their own private truth as the ultimate. Pride is the shadow side of all walks of life. However, it is more surprising when one experiences it in academic circles. I guess it is the contrast between intellectual intelligence and the lack of self-insight that makes it so embarrassing. I am sure many of you reading this will have encountered such personalities. I must say, even though it might not be a popular statement that I find the bead world to take a high position when it comes to academic pride.
   
Ancient beads are covered in un-knowing. They are small and can easily travel thousand of kilometers away from their place of origin. Hence they often lose their context. Ancient beads hardly carry as much scientific validate-able information with them as other objects of art like a painting. They are more silent than most other objects of art. When you look at the scientific bead books with their timetables, it is quite easy to observe that much of the age definitions in these books are qualified guesswork - not so far from what I have stated is my approach, just hopefully not with the little difference that I am the only one aware of this fact.
  
Peter Francis is of course right, but due to the difficulties of ascertaining the exact age and production place of ancient beads, the beads also easily become projection fields for our own self and in worst cases our pride.
  
Our own unknown observer projects itself into the dark bead holes, and the scientific all knowing attitude becomes, instead of revealing the secret of the beads, a portrait of the shallow ego of the observer himself.
  
No scientist can jump his own subjective shadow in the process of scientific studies. If he himself is not meta-aware about this fact, then the study of beads will point only one finger at the bead and three fingers at his, for himself not revealed ego.
 
So the study of ancient beads is really a trans-historic two-way study of human nature.
 



 

BEAD MEDITATION
How to wear & handle ancient beads in a meditative set and setting
 
Here I don't intend to tell you how you should deal with your ancient beads. That is entirely up to you. However, I would like to present a few ways of understanding the relations between bead and man in a context of meditation. This might inspire you in your personal relation with your ancient beads.
   
INTROVERTED MEDITATIVE BEAD WEARING
In more than 10.000 years dogs and humans have been best friends, they have even shared a few genes. One could say the same has happened in the relation between man and his oldest art creation, beads. Beads became 'humanized' by the slow polishing and chemical reactions between the surface of the stone bead and generations of skin and human sweat. At the same time, our identity got formed by the storytelling power of stones - of course not any Tom, Dick, and redneck Harry-stone, but stones already shaped in the light of our consciousness. Hence beads are signifiers and cultivators of pure consciousness.
  
This ancient symbiotic feedback arose in the close contact between man and bead. The introvert bead wearer does not show her beads in public. She carries them in privacy and intimacy under the clothes in direct contact with the skin.
   
Ancient beads in constant self-remembrance
Meditation can in this set and setting be understood as a skin-sense based form of symbol-communication.
Always to wear beads under the clothes in intimate contact with the skin can act as a powerful reminder in the cultivation of inward flow of attention. One could call it a slow, but prolonged state of meditation. In every situation, eating, walking, talking - every time you feel your bead(s) on your body, you remember your task: to direct your flow of awareness inwards instead of outwards.
   
Gurdjieff called this process of meditation constant self-remembrance. The wearing of your by you personalized ancient beads can be a powerful tool in this life long exploration and cultivation of inner realities and the consciousness that 'awares' them.
    
Active Bead-staring Meditation
Ancient beads can also be used as valuable tools in a more concentrated and direct form of meditation. Here you hold your favorite or by you for the occasion chosen bead in your hand while you stare at it. Hence you will get sense information from your hands, while simultaneously getting information through your sight. In this meditation, I suggest that you stare at the bead in a focused and defocused way at the same time. This requires a little practice, especially because Meditation should be effortless or what one could term as an effortless effort. If you feel strained by your practice, I suggest you just simply stare at the bead with a defocused look. You can defocus your look by relaxing it in such a way that you 'see without seeing'. At the same time, you in constant remembrance feel the sensation of holding the bead in your hands as an abstract energy-phenomenon.
 
More on Bead Meditation
When you sit in meditation check your position. Symmetry is important. Brain-coherence is closely linked with symmetrical body-positions. For maximum energy flow between brain and body, the spine and head should be in a straight position.

Bead-Hand-Meditation

The brain has reserved a lot of conscious processing power for our hands. Therefore, especially as a beginner, it is advisable to place the bead(s) in your hands if you want to explore bead-meditation.
 
That 'something' is 'energy'
When you sense your bead(s) in your hands, they will start tingling or feeling hot or heavy.
It is difficult for our conditioned consciousness to aware something for which we have no words. A small trick can bypass this language based bottleneck. By using a labeling name with almost without any cognitive meaning, we suddenly can see and feel sensations in the inner body that so far have lived their life without our knowing.
 
That word is energy.
 
Whatever sensation we experience in awareness and consciousness: from now on we label them with the abstract term energy. Whatever sense based information you get from your hands: don't try to analyze them, don't categorize them beyond the abstract word, energy. Just 'know' them as energy in a simple childlike non-intellectual 'aha'-awareness. 
 
The energy phenomenon that you most likely are about to experience in this setting is created in a feedback of sense-amplification in awareness cultivated by Meditation. You feel the energy in your bead-hands. That makes you more aware. When you are more aware more energy will be sensed and so on and so forth.
  
Of course, you can also do this Meditation without beads. However involving an ancient bead will activate our symbol-thinking brain and make it participate in the brain-orchestral symphony of synchronicity in consciousness. Furthermore, it is much more easy to feel the energies in the hands when we have something we conceive as valuable and important 'in' them. Hands were made for that.

Energy as 'one'

In this meditation loop, there will come a moment where you cannot tell where the inner sensation of your hands stop and the bead(s) begins. They melt into each other as bead-hands. This experience of energy as 'one' is directly proportional to the quality and intensity of your awareness and consciousness. After some time you can allow this energy-feeling to transfer itself to the rest of the body. Maybe the energy flows into your body - maybe not. Just stay with what happens with a minimum of interference in the form of intention. Allow this energy phenomenon in relaxation to happen on its own accord - effortless & natural!
  
After doing a few sessions with the hands, you can also try to lie down and place the bead(s) on the areas on your body that you want to explore.

Feelings are energy

Anyone who dares to take a conscious peep into the laboratory that is his own body will discover the mere fact that the body is full of different sensations. Generally we label these feeling sensations as love, anger, joy, hate, worry and so on. Love, hate, compassion or anxiety are, on this level just chemical weather reports from our inner geographical landscapes. Sometimes we also talk about butterflies in the stomach or gut feelings and in this use of language we are quite close to the next level of observation that allows us to discover that all these feelings can be experienced on a more abstract level as "energies". Fear can, in a state of clear awareness, be seen or felt like a chemical energy storm with its center somewhere between the throat and the navel. This energy - whatever form it takes - is the very fuel that makes us able to go on the path of life. To enter this secret world, you have to travel into the inner world of energies and sensations in the cellular landscapes of your own body. Now, what is the practical benefit for us as human beings to become familiar with the inner body? As mentioned before: all body-energies whatever form they take, are fuel for our body-engine to go on running. We cannot afford to forego any of these energy forms away since they represent a valuable source of fuel.
  
From raw oil to petrol
Let us use an oil refinery as a metaphor. We pump raw oil out of the ground. No car engine will be able to go on this fuel. The raw oil needs to be refined into petrol or gas. The same is the case with our inner raw oily energies. So-called lower feelings or impure feelings should not be suppressed. They should instead be refined so that it can fuel our human body machine. Anger or so-called primitive desire, contains, like all basic instinctive feelings, a tremendous amount of energy. Now the million dollar question is: How to refine and transform these raw oily energies?
 
Pure intimate and innocent awareness is the best refinery. Here intellectual understanding will not do alone. The best vehicle for this travel is pure and intimate awareness. This awareness is a pure witness. It just watches the "gut-storms" of the abdominal life. But it is at the same time also an innocent, intimate and compassionate watcher! This simple, childlike and meditative attitude is ignoring everything in full and loving awareness. It does not that unfolds itself by itself. Now the million dollar question is: How to refine and transform these raw oily energies? This process can be strongly enhanced by Bead-Meditation.
 
The largest & most important sense organ – the skin
Of all the five senses the sense of feeling is the most fundamental in the process of meditation. (At least this has been my personal experience.)

Feel 2 heal
The famous psychologist C. G. Jung wrote:

The foundation of all mental illness is the avoidance of legitimate suffering.

It is often not possible to return to a genuine feeling of Inner Calm, Contentment and Well-being without some therapeutic and cathartic work.

During a Bead-Meditation session, you might feel all kinds of strange sensations in your inner body. Some of them may even be painful. Don't worry! This is the best thing that can happen. The secret is that the body heals itself through these energies - especially the unpleasant feelings! Don't analyze what is going on - do not call it anything apart from the abstract and from 'meaning' almost empty word 'energy'.
 
Feel these various energies in a neutral state of mind, not judging or labeling them. Let your awareness dwell in the innocent sensation of these feelings. Feel to heal... Here we can use the slogan body builders have coined in a new context. They say No pain, no gain. This is also true for the indwelling natural healing processes of the body. In our modern life we have come so accustomed to avoiding pain that pain has become a strong demonic force chasing us exponential to the amount of escape routes we have made through various kinds of over stimulation like smoking, excess eating, smart-phoning, partying, drinking and so on.

So.... 

If you can face it, 'God' can fix it.
If you can feel it, God can heal it.


Amplification of feeling-sensations through awareness
Right now… Just feel the many different sensations from your skin: feel your toes, feet’s, legs, hands … feel also how the clothes have contact with your skin. Maybe you can even feel the sensation of your hair on the head and the feeling of your face in contact with the surrounding air. When you direct your innocent awareness to these simple facts of sensation, you will feel an immediate amplification of these sensations. This spontaneous amplification is tremendously important.
 
A short preliminary definition of the difference between awareness and consciousness
At the same time we note that we can direct our awareness to different locations - contrary to what is here defined as 'consciousness'. In this context, our definition of consciousness is that it is inherently abstract and non-locatable in time and space. Consciousness is also not dependant upon sensations. Awareness is basically rooted in feeling sensations and is direct-able.

Let the bead tell your unknown stories
Let me inspire your bead meditation with a few words now:

Your ancient bead and you have become one. You have become ancient and the story of the bead and your story have become one.
 
Now feel - I am deliberately avoiding the word "look" - deeper into this phenomenon - right at this moment it is taking place in your hands. You will now be able to 'innerstand' several small things so close to you that your eyes have not been able to see them. Nevertheless, these insignificant things have been with you your whole life! And behind the curtain of the obvious, you have been their servant!
 
 
THE 'EXTROVERSION' OF BEADS
It is only natural that we also like to show our beads in public now and then. No harm in that. However, in the 'extrovertation' of beads they loose their power as enhancers of inner life, while at the same time they gain importance as signifiers of social status. In this process, they tend to transform from talismen to jewelry.

This huge magnificent King Bead was most probably created for the purpose of being a royal insignia displaying social power:

Extroverted beads as social signifiers
By showing your ancient beads in public by wearing them outside your clothes, you can tell your story to everyone around you. My friend Arthur from Hong Kong finds the display of Rolex watches embarrassing, since every Tom, Dick and red-neck Harry has one nowadays. To stand out you need something special, maybe even designed and/or created by you. You develop your own identity, not with luxury brands and personalized ring tones on your mobile, but something that is impossible for others to replicate. An ancient bead is full of scars. No other bead has quite the same scars and hence they become the personalized signature that signifies a brand does not own your mind.
 
You have become your own storyteller. You are free to go in and out of the matrix as you like.
 
Meditation and Malas
Group Meditations are both a curse and a blessing. They are often stronger than individual meditations, but they tend to make you a sheep instead of a lion. This happens in the process of conscious and unconscious social imitation, where you sacrifice the parts of your spiritual individuality that stand in the way for you to sync up with the cruder but also more powerful rhythm of the group. However for some periods in one's life participation in group meditation can be beneficial. Here the wearing of malas has been used as signifiers of social coherence. By wearing a certain mala you belong to a certain group with a certain frequency of resonance. The mala is symbolizing a group of beads as you have become an individual strung up with other individuals. You are strong as 'we', but you cannot any longer walk the path of a lion.
 
Malas of the brotherhood of consciousness
However, a mala worn in intimacy under the clothes can also act as a powerful reminder, a tool of self-remembrance of the fact that there always exists a secret sister- and brotherhood of cultivators of consciousness.
 
When you sit alone, you are not alone. You are al-one.
 
However, first of all, this al-one-ness connects you with other beings which cultivate Prometheus fire of Consciousness. In this string of 108, we are beads of consciousness tied together in the mathematical mysticism of the Fibonacci sequence.
 
In fact, this sequence in its progression encompasses all living beings.
Let this be a reminder of the fact that we are not special by being special.
    
 

 

 


A PRAISE TO THE SCARRED BEAD
                ...and a praise to C. G. Jung
 
 

 

18 * 8 mm
This bead is very attractive in the sense that it is has an etched eye in the
already naturally occurring eye. The bead hole is made with the ´new´ drilling technique,
so it is not an Indus bead. My guess is that it was made around 700 B.C.
 
Scan 1   Scan 2    Scan-hole A    Scan-hole B
 
 
I prefer beads with scars and marks of wear and tear. 
Such beads have the wrinkles of old people's faces. They are signatures left by lives lived as time goes by in a micro-level perspective.
A bead with the scars of time has often lived more than a thousand years. It lived in skin distance together with generations of humans, themselves strung as beads in a prayer chain. A perfect bead is therefore not a natural bead in the sense that it cannot mirror the imperfection of the micro signatures of earth, wind, fire and countless generations of human sweat
 
A perfect looking bead can, of course, be beautiful. On the other hand a scarred bead can be sublime.
In Japan, they would call it a wabi sabi bead. Sublime beauty is never found in perfection. Perfect things are dead. Life is in this sense almost a perfectly imperfect mathematical anomaly. 
 
We desperately try to avoid death and pain, and in this fearful flight, we adore youth and the deception of the perfect. I at any time prefer the deep diving meditation that brings me down in my own subconscious darkness:
 

How can we arrive at this place with a perfect bead as our meditation object? We are, thank god, not perfect. Therefore we need 'amulettic' objects of concentration that are perfectly imperfect.
 

The modern human and the Sacred Scar

Of course, not all scarred beads are sublime. That is however entirely up to your decision if they are or not. We are all collectively scarred in fabtastic individual ways. Our scars are both sacred and individual. If the scarred bead mirrors your scars, then it will be a sublime tool, able to open the doors to your own darkness and make it conscious. In this way your heart bestows the gift of the sublime to an object of its own choice.



 

In ancient Buddhist texts, we will not find one word about an individual with a traumatized childhood. The concept of individual human psychological pain and the narratives in which this is expressed is absent.
 
Why?
 
In my view, it is because the notion of human individuality never really was developed in the East. Identity was in the eastern understanding primarily a collective defined construct. It was the Greeks who 'invented' the western concept of the out-standing individual human feeling entity. They invented themselves as individuals in their all-encompassing philosophic search for meaning. Their open and curious passion for questioning and classifying lead them away from their Gods and into the realm of reasoning and science. Most probably this was a consequence of democracy which essentially placed the polis elite citizens in horizontal relationships, where not the strongest god, but the strongest argument would win the way to influence. When humans met in a horizontal exchange of arguments, individuality became visible in the cacophony of different viewpoints: "I" have a different opinion as "you" ... I am not you. Hence democracy, reasoning, and individuality were created in a polyphonic play of interdependency. For the Greek citizens, individuality and logic reasoning was a path into the secular and more emotionally insecure outlook on life without the protection of their Gods ... Gods that anyhow were much more unreliable than the later Christian God.
   
The impact of Alexander the Great
The notion of individuality as divine was above all constructed by the more authoritarian Macedonian Alexander the Great. Alexander re-feudalized the newly established feeling of being an "I". With him, Divine Individuality became the benchmark of leaders, in the sense that a King's personal life story could transmit divinity. Alexander was in this sense both a super divinity and a human that loved his horse, Bukephalos, and his boyfriend lover, Hephaistion. This concept was strange to people in Greece/Macedonia. However the last country Alexander came to in his wild eastern conquest, India, it was an entirely alien alien way of thinking. It does not require a lot of reading in the more or less contemporary Indian Upanishads to observe the total polarity between the Indian and the Macedonian spiritual software.
  
The hybrid empire of Seleucus Nicator
An almost unknown, but important chapter of western civilization was written in East Afghanistan more than 2000 years ago. It simply passed under the radar of academic attention due to a lot of different reasons from coincidence to political. I am referring to the Seleucid Empire and its succession by the Greco-Bactrian Kingdom and later by a lot of smaller Greek Kingdoms even extending into North West India.
 
After Alexander's death, one of his generals, Seleucus Nicator, came to rule a vast Empire stretching from Hellenized Turkey to the doorsteps of Chandragupta Mauryas India. Two entire polar super cultures, the Indian and the Greek met in eastern Afghanistan. As a result, typical for both cultures and chemicals of opposite nature, great new creative explosions were bound to happen. That new revolutionary socio-cultural hybrids could be born as a result of this meeting was to a significant extent possible due to the open ever investigative curiosity the Macedonians had inherited from the Greek.
  
At that time East Afghanistan was very fertile. It was full of rivers and green meadows. Climate changes beginning a few hundred years before the Muslem invasions transformed the country into the barren regions we see there today. However, in the day of the Seleucid Greek-Macedonian rulers, it was one of the richest areas in the world. A combination of silk route wealth, mineral mining and fertile land was the foundation upon which a hybrid melting pot of social construction could take place that would bring human civilization to a peak. This openness towards foreign cultures was a deliberate policy of Alexander. However, the only General that did not divorce from the foreign princess that Alexander had forced his general to marry was Seleucus Nicator. He was the only post-Alexander King to continue the policy of cultural openness and exchange. Hence the Seleucid Empire, especially towards the east became the ideal place for ideas of east and west to meet. They met on a platform of free Greek dialogue and fructified into new forms of life. Since the days of Alexander the area had been flooded with Greek philosophers, artisans and people in general with entirely different outlooks on life than the area they were now were living in. This influx of popuation, especially from Macedonia continued for several hundred years. Population rise had stained resources in both Greece and Macedonia. The new settlers did not colonize their new lands by spreading over vast territories. Instead they in accordance with the traditional Greek business oriented culture created replica cities, not entirely in the old fashioned Greek style, but also fashioned as political and military powerhouses, first named, from Kandahar in Afghanistan to Alexandria in Egypt after Alexander, later named after Seleucus or his Wife Apama. The Greek way of life was the polis life. The city was the state and the state was the city and especially Seleucos Nicator was using the foundation of new cities as a mean to get political control over his vast Empire. These new cities became concentrated copy forms of Greek-Macedonian customs and culture and they strung themselves together in communication and business the whole way from the Hindu Kush to Syria and Greece via the many caravan routes. Here, far far away from their motherlands, the new settlers made copies of Greek cities with Greek houses and temples, but also temples where caravan people with other religions from far away regions openly could worship their own gods. We must imagine a multicultural polis-life where Greek was the administrative language, but where the surrounding farmland area did not know much about Zeus.
 



Greek stucco of a Buddhist monk
in individualized bliss
Greco-Bactria 100 B.C.
 




Typical Buddhist iconography
Buddha in transpersonal bliss
Japan 1100 A.D.

 

The exceptional piece of stucco art you can see above to the left was created in such an environment. It depicts an Indian Buddhist monk with an Archaic Greek smile entirely different from the transpersonal smile you see on the face of the Buddha to the right. This stucco head was created in Bactria around 2000 years ago. With a little art historical knowledge, one can here observe a unique expression of human individuality, which rivals the best pieces from the 1500 years later Italian Renaissance period. 

The Greco-Bactrians never really got friends with the Hindu culture:

The Brahmans are always too proud to borrow their science from the Greeks, Arabs or any nation of the Mlechchas as they call those who are ignorant of the Vedas.
Sir William Jones

However, The Greeks and the Indian Buddhist seemed to go well together. This friendship began with Seleucus Nicators peace alliance and later friendship with Chandragupta Maurya. Mauryan Jain and later Buddhist India was an open urban trading culture like the Greek, very unlike the feudal and exclusive Hindu societies. Many of the Greeks in the later Seleucid Empire got converted to Buddhism by Mauryan Ashoka the Great, The stucco head above left is a child born out of this extraordinary meeting. The post-democratic area in Greece was not surprising followed by a decline in the quality of their art. In Bactria, the environment for creativity and art at the same time seemed to peak. Both the Bactrian coin making and the making of stucco art surpassed in quality and creativity their Greek/Macedonian motherland and reached a level in art making that according to my view rivals that of the Renaissance. My guess is that the Mauryan Buddhism softened the otherwise war-oriented and Alexander-authoritarian Indo-Greeks, at least so that the Greek and Indian elites had sufficient free and open space to inter-create art and ideas. Below you will see a Bactrian stucco head of an Indian King, most probably King Ashoka himself.
 



 

You might now ask...
 
What has all this to do with scarred ancient beads?
 
Please give me a few more lines to string all these different worlds together. I must admit that the bead I am putting on the string here is almost too heavy, but I guess many lovers of ancient beads also are lovers of history and psychology, so I dare to use this site as a forum for lofty visions.
 
To create a concept and a society of individuals requires an extraordinary amount of economic energy. Today we in the West all more or less have the subjective feeling of being out-standing. Only when a society reaches a point of no return in affluent production capacity, it can afford to construct the notion of "I" in each individual. Before only Chieftains and Kings had been bestowed with the power of "I". In the Greek Macedonian culture, the birth of 'I' of course did not happen for all. It was still a slave and servant culture and even more so in the eastern colonies, but maybe 20% of the elite population had the necessary material and psychological surplus combined with horizontal lines of communication for individualization to take place.
  
However, nothing new comes without a price. Let me in this context quote, Whitehead:

It is the business of the future to be dangerous.
The major advances in civilization are processes that
all but wreck the societies in which they occur.

The creation of the Individual in societies with an accelerating surplus was a major advance that at the same time broke up our sense of unity and belonging. To be an individual is great but is at the same time to live in the pain of being separated from other individuals. Let me here quote Meister Eckhart:

All creatures contain one reflection:
one, that is the denial of its being the other;
the highest of the angels denies he is the lowest.
God is the denial of denials

You don't need to be religious or do any meditation practice to follow this line of logic. To understand Eckhart's God as a metaphor for the always unknown sum total of existence, the whole, is enough.
 
The denial is the root cause of the psychological pain of the modern individual. To be out-standing is to be alienated. We all in a way get traumatized in the process of being "I". To be bestowed with the power of I is at the same time a curse. To bring this dialectic challenge to a new and higher level of harmony, we have to heal the scars created by separation. Let us for a moment return to silent contemplation by watching the face of this Bactrian construction of a Buddhist monk:
 

An individual representation of the Universal
I dare to say that this monk smiles because he has solved the riddle of being introverted alone, all.one and extroverted at the same time. He carries this knowledge as a secret in his sensual asymmetric, yet Greek archaic smile. His serene blissful but fragile face is the face of an individual in spite of the oceanic transhuman feelings it transmits. He is, at least in my field of perceptive projections, full of human essence, an essence ignited as the spark of celestial light coming from beyond his human nature, or maybe more correct, a transcendent glow of presence in a highly humanized form.
 
The monk is both universal in the eastern sense and individual in a western way. He and therefore the culture that created him seems to have solved the riddle of being a separate I, yet still in harmony and unity with the whole. I dare to conclude so radically on the foundation of this single stucco head out of one simple reason: Either a culture can make such a socio-spiritual construction or they can not. You have to make a historical scroll more than 1500 years to the Renaissance to see a Mona Lisa smile like this monk, and yet her smile is far from being oceanic.
  
Here in my view, a unique Greek understanding of Buddhism constructed a counterweight to the Shonyo, the emptiness of the East, striking a delicate balance, a fragile synthesis between being an Individual and being a part of Gods denial of denials. I dare to say that this monk's face holds the key to this understanding - of course only for exalted souls that already are the truth they observe in front of them. I am deeply reminded by  C.G. Jung's controversial book, Answer to Job, where he states that God wants to be a Human being more than vice versa. I am also reminded of the statement that leads to the judgment of Meister Eckhart by the Inquisition. This statement was: What is true about Jesus is true about every good human being.
  
Can we take up the heritage from the Greco-Bactrians?
Now the question is. How to reach or regain that delicate balance between the individual drop and the transpersonal ocean, where the little drop of soul captured in the "I" is not merging with the ocean, because it realizes that the ocean already is within the drop.
 
As far as I can see with 40 years as a meditation practitioner, we in the west are still fumbling in the darks as compared to the Indo-Greek monk above. In our blind copying of eastern meditation philosophy, we are in danger of bypassing our human nature. Instead of cultivating a transpersonal consciousness within the frames of individuality and humanness we are in danger of getting de-personalized in our spiritual quest.
 
Modern man cannot reach this fragile point of synthesis between I and All by blindly following and copying the Eastern Buddhist traditions. Like we in the west don't have a clue about how to cultivate pure consciousness, the Eastern traditions don't have a clue about what it means to be an individual.
Of course there in the east is the notion of Ego, but in my perspective, this ego is just a separation of unity as a consequence of mere biological survival. To be individualized as a human I is so much more profound and delicate. This is the basic challenge of Buddhist traditions practiced in the west. They are in danger of bypassing the existential pain of being an individual by de-personalisation. If we blindly use the eastern spiritual mind software we are at risk of reducing the notion of human individuality to the concept of ego. This is too primitive and reductionistic. It simply does not function every time you have a problem with your girlfriend or your loved ones to say to yourself: The root cause of my pain is desire. Let me seek refuge in Nirvana.
 
The tide is turning. At the time of the Buddha, it was a good survival strategy to avoid suffering by ignoring the human side of ourselves and to strive for impersonal existence as a Nirvanic Zero.
 
The difference between survival ego and human individuality
Most probably the Evolution of Individuality at the time of the Buddha yet was so insignificant, that there hardly was any distinction possible between ego and humanness and this so even more in the east. However, we are now finally able to take up the outstanding and overlooked heritage from the Buddhist Bactrian Greeks. They were able to take advantage of their unique geographical position and make a synthesis of the best from the east and the west. The Greco-Bactrian Kingdom had as an extreme eastern frontier of western mindset the exact and only geographic location for this hybrid to happen. Today we are luckier. Any kind of socio-religious synthesis is now possible everywhere due to cheap airfare and the sharing of information on the location-less location called the internet, which makes it possible for mindsets once divided by distance to meet and fructify into new spiritual software newer seen before.

Why the Greco-Bactrians?
Why taking in something so odd as the Greco-Bactrian culture and expressions of art in this discourse? It seems the Greco-Bactrians were able to facilitate a socio-spiritual construction making it possible for a human to be a sacred individual representation of the Universal truth. To take up and further 'evolutionize' this human spiritual construct we have to follow an entirely new path, inspired by the Buddha's teachings, but as well inspired by the most outstanding personalities from our western world.
 
Now I would like to return to C.G. Jung:
 


Carl Gustav Jung was a visionary. He advocates as you can observe in the above quotation, to embrace pain instead of running away from it in order to Individuate. It is very simple. If you want to be an individual you cannot avoid pain.
   
If we as modern individualists wants to smile the smile of the Indo-Greek monk above, to see the ocean within our tiny droplet-soul, we have to face our scars first of all. However, meditation or not. The point is that in order to reach the higher synthesis level of being both alone, all.one and yet an I in dialogue with a you, there are no short cuts leaving our human existence behind. I have seen too many individuals bypassing their personal life in an attempt to 'Buddhafy' their existence. One way or the other - we have to deal with what Jung calls legitimate suffering:

The foundation of all mental illness is the unwillingness to experience legitimate suffering.

To face pain as a cure for pain
I can from a personal life long Meditative experience state that it is possible to realize that the tiny starlight of human existence contains the holographic information of the cosmos. This Meditation was never in a rush to find the shortest route to Nirvana. Instead, it focused on facing the pain inside the body, not spinning it into a narrative of thoughts but 'pixellating' it into pure psychic energy beyond notions of good or bad and pain and pleasure. You have to face your pain as a cure for pain.
 
However, you might not see much pain in the stucco head of the blissful monk. Let me, therefore, show you another stucco head from the same place, period and culture. Note the elongated earlobes indicating that the peculiar expression of suffering in this imperfect asymmetric face is noble and sanctifying. This face is sublime because of its lack of beauty.
 

 
THROUGH THE BEAD HOLE ONCE MORE
 



In all chaos there is a cosmos, in all disorder a secret order.

C.G.Jung

Finally we are ready to tie the string. I prefer, since this is a site about beads, to the enter perspective of the bead hole once again. In order to face your pain as a cure for pain, it can be helpful to set ritual time aside for doing that. Here a scarred bead is a perfect mirror to look into or simply just to hold in the hand.
 
The scarred bead is a Broken Beauty like you
The scarred bead is a broken beauty like you. How can something perfect mirror your sacred scars?
What must not be broken is the mirror in which you recognize your Self. This mirror is your consciousness, you self-awareness and the medium for your meta-cognition. It is the mirror that mirrors your mirror. It constitutes the GPS in which you can observe and navigate your body from a higher perspective.
 
Quasimodo and the sublime
It is in the acceptance and even love for the eternal, almost mathematical set inner and outer occurrence of Quasimodo as an archetypical consequence of being alive we have the possibility to recognize ourselves as sublime. Esmeralda is beautiful. Quasimodo is sublime. Without Quasimodo life would be less dynamic and less surprising and there would be no existential possibility of true amor fati.


A sublime hunchback bead

Post-modern placebo
Our scars are however not sacred before we chose to look at them that way. To sanctify your scars so that the light of your own essence can shine out through their cracks you need, in a post modern frame of mind deliberately to choose your own placebo.
  
Take one to know one
Just as a play you can go through all the scarred beads displayed on Ancientbead.com and find exactly the scarred bead that mirrors your own scars. Maybe you already have an ancient bead. By recognizing the beauty in that particular bead you sanctify your wounds in an act of self love. By accepting and choosing to see the sublime perfection in the scarred bead you also acknowledge what makes you out-standing, what makes you individual: It is the signature of your scars that makes you stand apart as a sublime being.
  
EPILOGUE - How to avoid fake beads (and fake people)

Do you want to be sure that you do not have a fake bead? Chose a scarred imperfect bead that the Chinese would not like even to touch.
The perfect looking 'ancient' beads are more easy to copy than a bead full of personality. It is far more difficult to fake a bead like the ones displayed above. The wrinkles are too many and too personal for the faker to replicate in a convincing way. In this way the scars also act like ancient signatures guaranteeing that what you hold in your hand is real. Fake beads don't have scars. They are tough to replicate and most collectors even in the west don't like them. We identify with youth and immaturity. The fakes are made to satisfy the immature far eastern demand for perfect ancient beads.

Sources


Seleukos Nikator, Constructing a Hellenistic Kingdom - John D. Grainger

The Greek Kingdoms of Central Asia - P. Bernard

Mes Aynak - An Ancient City at the meeting point of civilizations
- Tibor Paluch

Buddhism in North-western India and Eastern Afghanistan, Sixth to Ninth Century AD
- Giovanni Veradi

Hellenism in ancient India - Bannerjee, Gauranga Nath

The Art and Architecture of India - 1996. B. Rowland
 
The Buddha Statue - Leonhard Adam - 1925

Buddha in Indien - Kunsthistorisches Museum in Wien - 1995
 
Alexander the Great - Robin Lane Fox

A History of Christianity - Diarmaid Mc Culloch

The Story of Civilization  (II til V) - Will Durant
 
Works of C. G. Jung
 

Wikipedia.com

 



 


SOME THOUGHTS ON THE POWER OF DZI
In this little essay I will take the opposite stand and praise the perfect bead. I deliberately do this to sabotage my own tendency to make a religion out of a thought produced insight. yes, we use narratives, but we are so much greater than them. So it is better ultimately to play with narrative in a meta narrative that does not believe in narratives.
 

 



Click on picture for larger image

 


New or not?

Take a look on the wonderful Burmese Beads displayed above. If one looks at the line of light the aged patina produces across these beads, it has exactly the right softness of shine and is uniform across all the beads. This soft patina is impossible to reproduce in modern faking. A new bead has after polishing a hard shine. When fakers try to hide this hard shine, they often tend to make the surface of the bead look 'dusty'.

Faked beads often come in a lot and they all look alike. Here all the beads are different in shape, making, and patterns.
 
If one observes the beads under a magnifying glass, all the small marks where the beads were sanded with extremely fine emery paper or something similar are still visible. Kevin Ball, a friend of mine and a bead expert is of the opinion that these beads are new. He states:

If they had been buried for thousands of years, I don't think the marks would be as clearly defined if visible at all, as natural acids present in the soil slowly etch the beads over millennia, and marks that fine would long have disappeared.
  
 
I went back to the bead people in Myanmar with this valuable information from Kevin. The bead diggers then told me that these beads were found in PH-neutral, sandy ground, and that is the reason for their seemingly new surface.

Burial beads in neutral chemical environment
The chemical composition of the earth also changes the air surrounding the beads. If the air and earth is neutral it can be very difficult to distinguish between burial beads and new beads. The bead sellers offered me to take the beads back, but summing up all the evidence I so far had got, I chose to keep the beads. On my next trip, I encountered a lot of fake beads made by contemporary Burmese bead makers, and they were all of altogether a lower quality seen from the level of craftsmanship.

As passionate bead collectors, we will often come across beads where there is doubt concerning their age. 90% of the ancient beads we encounter, we can see within a split second if the beads are ancient or not. In the case of the remaining 10%, there will always be a doubt.
We have to live with that doubt. In the case of the beads displayed above I chose to believe in the beads, but I can not be sure. 

Furthermore fake new beads tend to be mass produced in larger quantity and over flood the hungry bead market from all corners. This has not been the case here. I have not come across beads like the unique beauties anywhere else. If you dear reader have done so, please give me a note.

The price matters

Additional we always have to consider the cost price of the beads. If the price is low, it is a good indication of the absence of fraud. No one would bother to work hard to produce an extraordinary beautiful fake ancient bead and then sell it for 3 USD.
 
 




 
 


Alone seen from the level of artistic skill, it would be quite costly to produce the wonderful beads displayed above today. To select out of tons of raw material the right piece of agate and then call out the particular artistic and/or divine patterns would be a challenging job for a contemporary bead maker.

Only a few people today master the art of 'invoking the divine patterns' out of the stone chosen to become a bead. Generally, fake beads are made in a lot where they all look mass produced and identical.

To make a high quality ancient fake bead is a rather costly affair.

The insane prices for DZI beads and to a lesser extent etched beads have done the trade and collection of this type of beads vulnerable to high-tech copy production, especially from Taiwan.

The exquisite fakes are made only for these types of beads and primarily in the price range of 20.000 USD and above.

However, it is still impossible to make a perfect fake DZI-bead that can elude a real Tibetan DZI-dealer or a professional western collector. (Maybe one day the cheaters will succeed, and that will be the day when DZI-bead owners will lose billions of dollars.) To produce a contemporary bead with the right excavation patina is even more challenging.

When the fake-makers produce DZI-beads, they try to copy the patina of wear and tear made by generations of use. They do not bother about making 'new' excavation beads. I dare here to say that it is harder to recreate excavation patina than to simulate patina from wear and tear. Furthermore, potential new collectors and buyers with lesser experience will look at the beads displayed above and think that they are new. They will tend to prefer the old dusty and worn out look of the fake bead.

There will be more excavation beads in the future
My guess is that the global community of bead collectors will encounter more and more of newly excavated beads in the future. The number of passionate bead collectors is increasing worldwide, and the number of beads that have been in permanent circulation and hence have marks and patina made from constant use is more or less constant. When the increasing demand for ancient beads drives up prices, it becomes more and more interesting for unauthorized diggers to excavate ancient sites to look for beads. Here they will find a lot of beads who were never used, but rather stored away as treasures or just kept in the home as animistic protections against evil eyes and bad spirits.

Whether this new kind of digging is either a good or a bad development, I leave to people who think that this world can be understood, captured and controlled with strong unison opinions.

Beads are the perfect dialogue partners for having philosophic thoughts. It is amazing to watch how the biggest and most self-blind egos often can hide in the smallest of bead holes. I could in this context easily mention some names in the global bead community. However, I will start with myself. When I look into a bead hole, I peep into my own nature.

 
 



 


To know that one does not know is essential in life and in Bead collecting too.

Bead greed
That is why I can say about myself that I can only truly SEE a new bead arrival in my collection after a time span of minimum 6 months. Before that time my evaluation is colored by the excitement of the hunt and even greed. I WANT to believe that this new trophy is a genuine ancient catch. After half a year it becomes evident that is was NOT an ancient treasure, but the patina of 'Maya'.

So, let’s return to the newly excavated 'new-ancient' beads we are going to encounter in the future from all kind of shady sources. Is it bad? Is it good?

There are many examples where former colonial countries have been collecting old or ancient artifacts outside their borders, especially in third world countries.

Was it bad or was it good?

Bad things can pave the way for good things to happen
Had we not in the nineteen century done this 'looting', many ancient artifacts would have been lost today.

When Denmark 'stole' the ancient saga scriptures from Iceland, they saved these scriptures from annihilation. Some of the sagas written on leather were at that time transformed into boots by the local population. They did not at all appreciate their own cultural heritage.

The Acropolis in Athens is deteriorating due to air pollution. Only the statues and frescos that were 'looted' from there are spared from this sad destiny.

In Afghanistan, even at this moment, the Taliban is actively destroying the country’s abundant Grecco- Buddhist art heritage. If they come across a Buddha statue so far hidden in the sand, they will repeat the story from Bamiyan.

I recently went to the National Museum in Rangoon in Burma. All rooms in the museum were covered in darkness. There were no light bulbs to display the sad fact that there was nothing there worth looking at, at least not compared to the living pagodas of the country. At least they shine full of light, gold and devotion and have continuously done so since ancient times.

Private versus public collections
Around 90% of the world’s ancient art is on the hand of private collectors.

Only 10% of the world’s ancient artifacts are displayed in museums. Many of these museums, especially in third world countries, are not capable of taking proper care of these precious objects. They are far better off in the hands of private collectors.

The possibility of having private collections of old and ancient art is also an important factor in the cultivation of the interest in global history. Collectors go to museums. They write books about their interest. They read history books. They make websites with a lot of information. In this way, they generate a field of historic awareness that resonates into the media and internet world too. They make ancient art valuable and history an interesting subject for even the lower middle class. Furthermore, due to the hype it makes when enormous sums of money are offered for ancient art, a ring of preservation and protection is created around it.

One could argue that all collecting of ancient art should be open and legal, so that scientists, archeologists, public and private institutions and museums could collaborate with private collectors in gathering maximum information about our global world heritage past. The archeologists tend to view their subject as a 'private-public' affair, not for the common man to participate in. However, these people cannot exist without a general public interest in ancient history and their work as such. If people collect antiques, they create awareness, also political. They influence governments to fund more money to museums and historical and archeological institutions.

In my case, I am only talking about old beads. Nobody seems to bother about these small insignificant stones...

Good things pave the road for bad things to come and vice versa. On these roads of silk and robbery, beads have always traveled, even if they had a stopover for a thousand years one meter below the molded surface of the obvious, politically correct and fixed opinions.

So here is 'my opinion', written on a fleeting globe as my desk: Beads were meant to travel... from generation to generation as visual ambassadors, as a relay handed over from generation to generation, reminding us of something we have in common since the days we lived in caves: When we look at an ancient crafted stone bead, we, here in the oldest human art form, can recognize beauty!

That is why I have made www.ancientbead.com

My joy of collecting made me interested in ancient history, and my website make others interested too. I guess it worked the same way for Kevin Ball too. This is our way to walk the talk.

Actually, we don't own these beads. We are their custodians in the sense that they will outlive us by far. We will disappear, and they will travel on. Yes, beads are great travelers!

Let me here give a good tip to the western collector. At the same time, it can serve as a warning to the eastern collector: 'Board the train before it is too late once again!'

Collecting mainstream beads or beads of beauty
It is still possible to purchase ancient unetched beads of unheard esthetic beauty in Asia and the east for reasonable prices. The rising third world middle class collectors have yet not cultivated an eye that makes them able to recognize the refined artistic skills of their ancestors.  The nouveau riche middle-class man of the East will, with a little over generalization, go for the etched bead, the black bead and the big bead, no matter how it looks seen from an artistic point of view.

Furthermore, this new type of first-generation middle-class collector is parroting the trend of Tibetan Buddhist traditions, but without the deeper knowledge, these traditions incorporate.

Let me here make a related comment. Most bead collectors are as mentioned, primarily collecting etched beads. However, in my view, the making of etched beads marked a fall from the peak of artistic bead production.

As evidence for this 'opinion' or fleeting viewpoint, I refer  to the late Indus beads on ancientbead.com

Most etched beads, thank god not all, are NOT as beautiful as the older ones without etching. The etching was substituting the original bead maker’s hunt for the right stone so he here with the right technique could bring forth the original, almost Platonistic idea so far hidden in the stone. When etching became the main trend, the bead maker could take almost every 'Tom, Harry and Dick stone' and make the desired patterns with a little etching. They did not any longer have to search through literally tons of stone to find the right piece.

This etching trend of not manifesting the inner stone beauty, but cultivating it by superimposing 'divine meaning' on the stone only managed to reach an acceptable artistic level in the Tibetan DZI- and the Burmese Pyu-beads.

Most of the ancient Indian made etched beads are not made with loving care.

Still, they are interesting seen from a historical point of view.

They point at a growing, most probably Buddhist, middle class and lower class demand for mass-produced stone beads with divine protective powers. Bead etching became mainstream hand in hand with King Asoka’s successful transformation of India into a Buddhist empire. In the late Indus and early classical Indian time, skillfully crafted beads without etching were still dominant as jewels for the few.

That is why I elsewhere on Ancientbead.com advocate for the hypothesis that the stone bead culture is linked particular to the Buddhist culture and its predecessor, the Indus culture. Stone beads are not an integral part of the Arian Hindu culture.

Because of the craze for etched beads I have chosen another strategy for the last ten years: Hunting the beauty no one seemed to see in their crave for main stream tokens of social convergence and accept.

The above-mentioned trend has polarized beads into two distinct groups. We have got a group of uniform and easily identifyable beads that have reached insanely high prices in opposition to all the huge variety of beads outside this small banded category. The Tibetans have had the honor of defining these two categories. What does not fit into the Tibetan sphere of interest has remained relatively cheap. Today you can get a beautiful non-etched ancient bead for the lower or same price as a low quality etched bead.
 
B
eads as money - big money!
The reason for this division is also that beads have again become what they already were in ancient time: money... Big money! Some types of beads have increased their value by a hundredfold within the last ten years!!

In the modern trend of beads again becoming money, it is confusing with too many types of currency. Hence a huge variation of beads is left in the dark and only a small bandwidth of beads are defined and within some circles almost accepted as equal to hard cash currency.

The Tibetan culture is the only continuously living bead culture
One of the reasons for that the Tibetans got the honor of defining what is a valuable stone bead or not, is that they are the living custodians of the world’s only continuous living stone bead culture.

Another reason is that the same Tibetans got their country robbed away by the Chinese.

If the Chinese had read global history, they would maybe have noted a curious tendency repeating itself all over in all places in history. They may have been more cautious in their handling with Tibet and Tibetan culture. It is the old tale of the conquers getting conquered by the culture they conquer.

This happened for the victorious Normans in Sicily. It happened for the moguls, especially under the glorious reign of Akbar.

The Kushans
It happened for the Kushans, once called the Yuezhi people from China when they entered into what is now Pakistan and Afghanistan and defeated the Grecco-Buddhist kings who were the rulers at that time. And what happened to the Kushan people? They converted to Buddhism and became the greatest mass producers of Buddhist artifacts ever. The ancient art called 'Gandhara' is made by the Kushan's!

So when you conquer someone... take care that you might not be defeated your self! In world history, only the stiff English upper lip was too resistant to get under the sway of Indian gurus or any other foreign culture they occupied.

Now, what is happening with the old Tibetan Buddhist culture of compassion?

At the time being it has like a virus been laying dormant waiting for its chance to infect the stone bead hard Chinese bureaucrat hart with love and compassion. However, this hart is nowadays only in tune with greed. So compassion has taken the form of stone to attract this stone heart in the form of some small beads.

The power of DZI
Therefore this new kind of old DZI-money is particular in demand in China where corruption among the leaders of the Communist party has become an increasingly risky task.

You cannot any longer present your local party leader with a gift in the form of a suitcase with one million dollars inside. This kind of bribe is far too obvious and hence dangerous. If you want green political light today for your Chinese project, you discretely hand over a little piece of stone. You give the party boss an ancient DZI-bead.

It is a truly beautiful example of the irony and humor of history: The ultimate spiritual and vibrational token of Tibetan Buddhism arrives as a virus in the very heart core of the rotten Chinese corruption apparatus. These so-called socialist and atheist 'corruptocrats' make an animistic dance of greed around the golden calf, a new dance, but as old and empty as the hole in a DZI-bead.

Again, lets us have a peep into this small bead hole. This time we can see the most fantastic mega-ego in the form of greed. DZI-beads have become D.ZI.RE-beads. Hence they absorb the evil spirits of the corruptocratic animal nature into their 'shoonyo' and thus pave the way for a new ancient China.

Here comes my second prediction in this essay. China will again rise to what it once was: A glorious and highly cultivated Buddhist civilization under the guidance of the spiritual masters of Tibet.

Yes... Dzi are secret Tibetan 'nano' weapons with a mission impossible: to transform greed and power into love and kindness.

Seen in this light nobody can deny the spiritual powers of the DZI.

Just ask Madonna who has recently followed the Chinese party line and have become an ardent collector and devotee of DZI. Maybe the small black DZI-holes can even swallow up the megalomaniac stars of Hollywood!

By the way .... Bead money has modern advantages. This will be my second advice to bead collectors, but only to the people living in the matrix of Beverly Hills. Beads are, as beads always have been, great travelers. They also like to fly.  As I have mentioned earlier, no one seems to bother about small insignificant stones ... also not governments...

I know persons who have traveled all over the world with an innocent chain of stone beads... so at least it must have looked in the eyes of the customs officers. However, the necklace was made of ancient DZI beads. In this way, you can easily have 10 million dollars hanging around your neck. Imagine that you transfer the same amount of money in your hand luggage through the airport security and no one stops you to ask questions.

You do not need to be a rich DZI-hunter to get beauty
Here at the end of this stream of words in consciousness I feel obliged to tie up all the loose ends in this essay about almost everything. Hence I go back the beginning where I was talking about excavation beads. Collecting and hunting for DZI and etched beads is a sport only for the filthy rich. Seen from the angle of income, I am a solid representative of the world’s middle class. My third and last advice is: Middle-class collectors and lovers of beads. Widen your search to all kind of beads, glass beads, terracotta beads, odd beads and especially excavation beads... Look for any bead that has not (yet) become a part of the pyramid money game.

 
 

 

 

   
   

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Contact: Gunnar Muhlman - Gunnars@mail.com