Quick Answer: What are Native American trade beads?

The first European explorers and colonists gave Native Americans glass and ceramic beads as gifts and used beads for trade with them. The Indians had made bone, shell, and stone beads long before the Europeans arrived in North America, and continued to do so.

What is a trade bead?

Trade beads (sometimes called aggry and slave beads) were otherwise decorative glass beads used between the 16th and 20th century as a token money to exchange for goods, services and slaves (hence the name). Trade beads were used to purchase African resources by early Europeans.

What were Native American beads used for?

Traders soon moved to satisfy the market for smaller beads. Native American beadwork, like quill work before it, is a decorative art form. Utilitarian goods such as clothing, dwellings, horse gear, and utensils were at one time ornamented with quill work and beadwork.

What did Native Americans make their beads out of?

Most of the beads were made of glass, a material previously unknown to the Native cultures. They often replaced Indian-made beads of bone, shell, copper and stone. Beads were important for early trade items because they were compact and easily transportable.

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Where did trade beads come from?

The beads’ history dates to the 15th century when Portuguese trading ships arrived on the coast of West Africa to exploit its many resources, including gold, slaves, ivory and palm oil. At that time, glass beads were a major part of the currency exchanged for people and products.

How do you identify trade beads?

How to Identify Trade Beads

  1. Hold and examine the bead. …
  2. Look for signs of how the bead was crafted. …
  3. Examine the bead for signs of natural aging. …
  4. Consider the style of the bead. …
  5. Familiarize yourself with the different varieties of handmade beads.

What is a crow bead?

Crow Beads. Crow beads are similar in shape to seed beads and pony beads, but much larger and more squarish. They are cut from tubes of glass or plastic and tumbled and polished to give a smooth rounded, slightly oval finish. Crow bead size is commonly 9mm (with 5mm hole) or 6mm (with 3mm hole).

What are the two different types of Native American beadwork?

There are many styles of beading, but two very distinct types include the lazy stitch—often called lane stitch, and the tack or flat stitch.

Are waist beads Native American?

Waist beads are a traditional African accessory that consist of small glass beads on a string or wire worn around the waist or hips. They come in different colors and shapes and may also include decorative stones, crystals, or charms.

What is the difference between seed beads and Delicas?

A delica bead (right) is a bead in the shape of a tube. The thickness of the bead is the same on the whole bead. This also means the hole of the bead is bigger than the seed bead. The 11/0 size is the most common size and this bead has a height (the hole goes from left to right) of 1.6mm and a width of 1.3mm.

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Can non natives bead?

Beadwork is a part of many cultures not just North or South American Indigenous peoples. … Non-Indigenous people can bead if they’re not appropriating Native design or symbols, but be aware that the tassels and designs that you see from many makers are actually still Native originating designs, not European!

What do colors mean in Native American culture?

They believed the white mountains signified mornings, and the yellow stood for dusk. Black signified the night and blue signified dawn. The Apache tribe consider the colours green, white, yellow and black to be important as they represented the four sacred mountains for them.

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