Bead traditions in Uzbekistan.

Beads are still culturally significant in so many ethnic groups. Apart from their decorative value, beads are treasured for their connection to previous wearers. They were also prescious for the technology to make amd mold coloured, translucent glass was very special.

The silk road was one of the trade routes linking the Middle East wth Asia. Intrepid seafarers sailed fom India across the ocean to Africa. Somehow the ancient trades would travel from Egypt or Mesopotamia to the Northern countries, trading their glass for amber which was treasured because it was regared as having trapped the sun.

In this image of an Uzbek woman she sits in front of her precious textiles wearing three necklaces that are obviously treasures, and over her shoulders she has an elaborate ornament made out of new seed beads.

For Veronica the bead world is centered on Indonesia which has had beads coming from India in one direction and China in the other for at least 2000 years. And then with the arrival of the European from the 17th century beads were traded for spice. Veronica also had a strand of beads that came to us via Ambon. The story we were told was of Portugese privateers who sailed around the Cape to evede the Dutch who fiercely protected their monopoly of nutmeg. These bold, cheeky sailors filled their vessel with the cargo of spices and sailed back to Europe.

As time passes I find amazing connections of trade going back thousands of years. A Roman bead in a Japanese grave, beads from Mesopotamia in a 600 BC grave in Norway. Baltic amber in 4000 year old Egyptian pharaoh's tomb. Over the next few blogs I shall explore some of these facets.

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