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My favorite
Ancient Beads

Ancient Beads

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glass Beads

Ancient Bead production


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welcomes you  -  Genuine old and ancient beads!

 Site owner - Gunar Muhlman - 
Associate manager - Zuzana Illova -

Old Nepali Masks

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Naga Art

Ancient Glass

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Opium weights


Various Old and Ancient Items 



Ancient Beads can be thousands of years old and reach back to the cradle of civilization!

Welcome to, where we journey back in time, connecting you with the oldest form of art known to humanity - ancient beads. These artifacts, thousands of years old, link us to the very cradle of civilization, carrying with them a rich tapestry of history.
Beads surpass even cave paintings in their antiquity. Each bead, unique and full of history, is a testament to human creativity, endurance, and evolution. Wearing an ancient bead is an experience unlike any other. Imagine wearing an artifact that has been cherished for over 100 generations. It's akin to wearing a fragment of history, a piece of a narrative that stretches back to our ancient ancestors.
In this way ancient beads offer a captivating window into our collective past, each one carrying with it a piece of the human story.

Here are some reasons why they are fascinating, at least for me:

Historical Significance: Each bead is a tangible piece of human history, dating back thousands of years. They provide a direct, tactile connection to our ancestors, allowing us to literally hold a man made piece of the past in our hands.

Cultural Insights: Beads have been used by almost every culture throughout history, often taking on significant symbolic meanings. They can tell us about the spiritual beliefs, artistic styles, trade networks, and daily life of the people who made and used them.

Artistic Beauty: Ancient beads are often exquisite works of art. The range of materials, designs, colors, and techniques used is truly astonishing. Each bead represents the creative expression of an artisan, providing a unique aesthetic experience.

Symbolic Meaning: Many beads were used as talismans, amulets, or symbols of status. They can represent divine protection, power, wealth, and spirituality. The eye bead, for example, is a universal symbol of protection against evil across numerous cultures.

Uniqueness: No two ancient beads are exactly alike. Each one was made by hand, with its own unique set of characteristics. Owning such a bead means having a one-of-a-kind artifact.

Mystery and Discovery: Often, the specific meanings of the patterns and symbols used on ancient beads have been lost to time. Researching and theorizing about these designs can be a thrilling intellectual adventure.

Collectibility: Ancient beads are not just historical artifacts, but also collectible items. The process of seeking out, acquiring, and curating a personal collection can be a rewarding hobby.

In essence, ancient beads weave together history, art, culture, symbolism, and personal collecting passion into a fascinating exploration of humanity's past and present. They are small artifacts with big stories to tell.

As you wear these beads, you become a link in an unbroken chain, a bead on the vast string of human DNA, reaching back to the earliest cultural life forms. You embody a living testament to our shared past, a custodian of history rather than merely an owner of an artifact.
The Ancient Bead as a Remedy against Unreality
Consider ancient beads as a balm for the modern world's unreality. For those attuned to their allure, these beads carry the energy of the ancient cultures that crafted them. Wearing them is a tangible connection to our collective history, a symbolic bond that links us to our deepest roots.

In the face of modern civilization's dizzying pace and information overload, ancient beads offer a pathway to authenticity. They serve as a personal navigation tool through our interconnected world, tethering us to our shared heritage and values.

These beads were the currency of ancient times, markers of social status before clothes had pockets. But they were much more than that. These exquisitely crafted artifacts were primarily used for rituals and religious purposes. They were talismans, focal points of mystical power in a world of symbolic self-understanding and social navigation.

The Ancient bead as a Rechargeable Talisman
Today, we see these ancient beads as talismans recharged for the modern age. They are tokens of postmodern magic, embodying a duality that mirrors our complex selves. We are beings of both reason and emotion, logic and symbolic thinking. An ancient bead, worn as a talisman, captures this dichotomy. Charged with our deepest emotions and intentions, these talismans bridge the gap between our emotional instincts and our need for intelligent navigation through life.
At, we invite you to experience these ancient beads in the light of meta-modern magic. This is our philosophy, our unique perspective.

Our collection draws from various parts of the world, with a special focus on Asia. Many of our beads have been sourced from Nepal, while others hail from my native Denmark. My father, a sailor and a traveler, also contributed to this collection during his journeys in the Far East in the late '50s, unearthing these treasures in the far East at a time when few recognized their historical significance.

Greater India
Our collection at is heavily influenced by the rich bead-making traditions of 'Greater India', an area encompassing modern-day Nepal, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Tibet. This region, a cradle of civilization itself, was at the forefront of stone bead-making, exporting mesmerizing lapis lazuli and carnelian beads as early as 2000 BC. Consequently, our collection is significantly populated with beads from the Indus Valley Civilization, stretching up to 1000 AD.

Collectors united in love for ancient beads
Ancient beads have found a place in the hearts of people worldwide today. Some find solace in their historical significance, some are charmed by their aesthetic appeal, while others are intrigued by their potential as talismans or ancient currency. Regardless of your interests or affiliations, we invite you to explore our vast online gallery of authentic ancient beads.

In our quest to bring out the innate beauty of these ancient masterpieces, we've adopted a 'homeopathic' approach to their visual representation. We utilize careful scanning and subtle digital enhancement to highlight the artistic message each bead carries. Our goal is to facilitate a deeper appreciation for newcomers to the world of ancient beads, ensuring that the silent whispers of these timeworn artifacts don't go unheard in our bustling, information-rich modern era.

However, this process does bring the beads' natural imperfections to the fore - the scars and cracks that bear testament to their age and journey. While these marks may seem unappealing to some, particularly to those from Eastern cultures who value flawless aesthetics, we view them as a testament to each bead's unique history. It's a bit like using a macro lens to photograph these beads; the lens doesn't create the imperfections, it merely reveals them. But in doing so, it uncovers a depth and authenticity that is too often overlooked in our pursuit of perfection.
It reminds me of the following incident. I once gifted a bead selling friend of mine a professional macro lens to put in front of his Iphone, so he could take super sharp close up photos of his beads. After seeing what this macro lens was able to do, his comment was: These pictures are too good! You see all the imperfections. If I send such pictures to my customers, they will not buy from me.

At, we celebrate these beads not despite their imperfections, but because of them. We invite you to do the same.

The difference between Chinese and Western (and Japanese) ideals when it comes to antiques
During a recent engaging dialogue with a Chinese collector of beads and antiques, we explored the diverse cultural and psychological factors that inform our preferences for collectibles. I suggested a theory that aimed to shed light on the distinctive preference among Chinese collectors for items preserved in perfect condition, a tendency that sets them apart from their Western counterparts.

This theory proposes that their inclination towards perfection is closely intertwined with their personal and national histories. For many generations, the Chinese population was mired in extreme poverty. The contemporary generation stands as the first to break free from these challenging circumstances and experience relative prosperity and enhanced living conditions. Consequently, this demographic might seek to epitomize their aspirations for an 'ideal' life by curating a collection of pristine and flawless artifacts. These immaculate collectibles serve as more than just aesthetic objects; they could be viewed as tangible representations of their personal evolution and the nation's dramatic rise, with each artifact symbolizing their hard-fought achievements.

On the other hand, Western collectors often exhibit an attraction to items that carry the patina of time. For them, these signs of age and wear reflect a dynamic narrative of surmounting adversities, embracing change, and accumulating wisdom through diverse experiences. Rather than considering these blemishes as flaws, they are valued as physical embodiments of life's rich mosaic of trials, victories, and transformations. An antique bearing the marks of use and wear stands as a testament to resilience, echoing the Western cultural paradigm of perpetual transformation and growth.

A prime example highlighting this dichotomy is the Japanese practice of Kintsugi. Broken pottery is lovingly repaired with gold lacquer, not to hide but to highlight the damage. The resulting artifact, more beautiful and valuable for its flaws, serves as a metaphor for resilience and rejuvenation. This ethos finds resonance with many Western collectors, who appreciate the beauty and significance hidden in the storied lives of their collectibles.

The Chinese buyer, upon hearing this theory, remarked that it was a novel perspective he had not considered before. However, he found it compelling and could relate to it, especially in light of the challenging living conditions endured by his parents and grandparents. The theory provided a broader cultural context to his personal and familial experiences, enhancing his understanding of the subtleties of his own collecting habits.

As the saying goes, 'All good things must come to an end.' After more than 40 years of passionately amassing a trove of ancient beads and fascinating artifacts, I find myself ready to pass on these cherished items to others who will appreciate their unique character and rich history.

I'm not quite ready to part with this world yet, but I've come to realize that those around me might not fully appreciate the timeless value these beads hold. I'd hate to see these tokens of human history relegated to a local flea market, sold for a pittance, or worse, landing in places where their historical significance and artistic beauty go unnoticed.

So, it is with a mixture of melancholy and excitement that I extend an invitation to you to explore and acquire pieces from my personal collection. Reach out for pricing details, and together we can ensure that these ancient beads continue their journey in the hands of someone who values their past and cherishes their future.

May the bead-force be with you in your journey of discovery and connection with our shared human heritage.

Warm regards from Gunnar Muhlman!  - 


 Gunnar Muhlman -    

Beads and Baudrillard
Ancient Beads as an antidote to the simulacra

There was once a photographer capturing images of journalists, who were being filmed by a TV crew as they reported on a PR event, and then there was me, writing about the entire spectacle. (Victor Lewis Smith - Grasping the Zeitgeist with the ace fashionistas, 2007)

In the late seventies, French philosopher Jean Baudrillard introduced the term 'simulacra.' Baudrillard described simulacra as the generation of real models without origin or reality.

In our media-saturated and internet-driven world, humans find themselves increasingly detached from the 'real world.' Instead, they are more connected with the signs that replicate this real world. In the realm of cyberspace and modern media, these signs begin to reference each other rather than the actual things in the physical world. This proliferation of signs referencing other signs results in a simulation of reality, a hyperreality. For instance, news channels report incidents from 'reality TV shows' (an ironic term indeed) in the same manner as they cover news from Gaza.

Baudrillard argues that the real is gradually consumed by the hyperreal, an unreal world that attempts to replace the real:

It is no longer a question of imitation, nor duplication, nor even parody. It is a question of substituting the signs of the real for the real. - Baudrillard

In a nutshell, we exist in a hyperreal world, an unreal world shaped by media and the internet that masquerades as reality. This world can be described using the ancient Indian concept of Maya or the contemporary notion of the Matrix.

In this plastic (or perhaps silicone) world of simulacra, Baudrillard predicts an intensifying, desperate craving for what is truly real. However, he remains pessimistic, foreseeing only rapidly evolving fakes, or simulacra, being provided to quench this thirst, which only exacerbates the longing.

While I align with Baudrillard's fundamental philosophy, I am far less pessimistic. I envision a world where our yearning for the 'real' redirects our quest towards our ancient history, discovering 'tokens' or symbols of reality that can emanate 'reality' themselves.

Any ancient artifact can remind us of the real within us.

In my case, this thirst for the real is satisfied when I hold an ancient bead in my hand. A genuine ancient bead simultaneously serves as a symbol and a slice of reality.

This bead was crafted over a thousand years before the advent of the world wide web, during a time when time itself seemed to stand still a period when a bead of this kind could only be created. After its creation, it has become one with human life, marked by the sweat of countless generations or baptized by the sweat of the earth for millennia.

This bead serves as a tuning fork. It resonates with what is real within me. This timeless bead, in my hand right now, brings to mind my favorite monk, Meister Eckhart, when he says:

The happenings of a thousand years ago, days spent millenniums since, are in eternity no further off than is this moment I am passing now; the day to come a thousand years ahead or in as many years as you can count, is no more distant in eternity than this very instant I am in.

Everything else is simulacra especially fake beads!