Last Updated: Jan 25, 2021 Views: 56
Glass beads are a critical part of glass history, particularly in the colonial period, that often don't receive the same attention as other glass forms. A good place to start exploring bead history is Beads: Journal of the Society of Bead Researchers (https://www.beadresearch.org/beads-current-issue/), which offers a subject index for the 1989-2018 volumes (https://www.beadresearch.org/our-publications/beads-index/).
Below are some resources that may help to illuminate a more nuanced global history of glassmaking and glass trade. Book titles are linked to WorldCat records so you can locate titles in a library near you. When possible, open repository links have been added.
We recommend that you check out the work of Dr. Abidemi Babatune Babalola, including the following:
- Babalola, Abidemi Babatune. “Ancient History of Technology in West Africa: The Indigenous Glass/Glass Bead Industry and the Society in Early Ile-Ife, Southwest Nigeria.” Journal of Black Studies 48, no. 5 (2017): 501-527. https://doi.org/10.1177/0021934717701915.
- Babalola, Abidemi Babatune. “Behind the Glass: New Discoveries in Early Nigerian Glassmaking.” Filmed March 2018 at The Corning Museum of Glass, Corning, NY. Video, 1:05:15. https://youtu.be/SATzs_5rdEk.
- Babalola, Abidemi Babatunde. “How We Found the Earliest Glass Production South of the Sahara, and What It Means.” The Conversation, July 14, 2020. http://theconversation.com/how-we-found-the-earliest-glass-production-south-of-the-sahara-and-what-it-means-142059. (popular)
- Babalola, Abidemi Babatune. “Medieval Glass Bead Production and Exchange.” In Caravans of Gold, Fragments in Time: Art, Culture, and Exchange across Medieval Saharan Africa, edited by Kathleen Bickford Berzock, 223-240. Evanston, Illinois: Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, 2019.
- Babalola, Abidemi Babatunde, Susan Keech McIntosh, Laure Dussubieux, and Thilo Rehren. “Ile-Ife and Igbo Olokun in the History of Glass in West Africa.” Antiquity 91, no. 357 (2017): 732–50. https://doi.org/10.15184/aqy.2017.80.
Below are some additional works on the history of glass beads in West Africa:
- Gott, Suzanne. “Ghana's Glass Beadmaking. Arts in Transcultural Dialogues.” African Arts 47, no. 1 (Spring 2014): 10-29. https://doi.org/10.1162/AFAR_a_00119.
- McIntosh, Susan Keech, Marilee Wood, Laure Dussubieux, Peter Robertshaw, Timothy Insoll, and Mamadou Cissé. “Glass Beads from Medieval Gao (Mali): New Analytical Data on Chronology, Sources, and Trade.” Journal of African Archaeology 18, no. 2 (2020): 139-161. https://doi.org/10.1163/21915784-20200009.
- Truffa Giachet, Miriam, Bernard Gratuze, Anne Mayor, and Eric Huysecom. "Compositional and Provenance Study of Glass Beads from Archaeological Sites in Mali and Senegal at the Time of the First Sahelian States." Plos one 15, no. 12 (2020): e0242027. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0242027
- Truffa Giachet, Miriam, Bernard Gratuze, Sylvain Ozainne, Anne Mayor, and Eric Huysecom. "A Phoenician Glass Eye Bead from 7th–5th c. cal BCE Nin-Bèrè 3, Mali: Compositional Characterisation by LA–ICP–MS." Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 24 (2019): 748-58. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jasrep.2019.02.032.
Indian Ocean Trade: East Africa, India, and Southeast Asia
In this section, we would draw your attention to the June 2016 special issue of Archaeological Research in Asia: Asia’s Maritime Bead Trade (https://www.sciencedirect.com/journal/archaeological-research-in-asia/vol/6/suppl/C), which provides an update to Asia’s Maritime Bead Trade: 300 B.C. to the Present by Peter Francis (Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2002) and suggests directions for future research.
Other resources to help you understand the history of glass bead production and trade include:
- Abraham, Shinu Anna. "In Search of Craft and Society: The Glass Beads of Early Historic Tamil South India." In Connections and Complexity: New Approaches to the Archaeology of South Asia, 239-261. Left Coast Press Walnut Creek, CA, 2013. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/856801707.
- Daggett, Adrianne, Marilee Wood, and Laure Dussubieux. "Learning from Glass Trade Beads at Thabadimasego, Botswana." In African Archaeology Without Frontiers: Papers from the 2014 PanAfrican Archaeological Association Congress, edited by Sadr Karim, Esterhusyen Amanda, and Sievers Chrissie, 127-42. Johannesburg: Wits University Press, 2016. http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.18772/22016120343.14.
- Dussubieux, Laure, C.M. Kusimba, V. Gogte, S. B. Kusimba, Bernard Gratuze, and R. Oka. “The Trading of Ancient Glass Beads: New Analytical Data from South Asian and East African Soda-Alumina Glass Beads.” Archaeometry 50, no. 5 (Oct 2008): 797-821. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/j.1475-4754.2007.00350.x.
- Kanungo, Alok Kumar. Mapping the Indo-Pacific Beads Vis-à-Vis Papanaidupet. New Delhi: Aryan Books International, 2016. Review: Babalola, Abidemi Babatunde. “Review of Mapping the Indo-Pacific Beads vis-à-vis Papanaidupet, by Alok Kumar Kanungo.” Asian Perspectives 57, no. 1 (2018): 190-192. https://muse.jhu.edu/article/693159.
- Koleini, Farahnaz, Philippe Colomban, Innocent Pikirayi, and Linda C. Prinsloo. "Glass Beads, Markers of Ancient Trade in Sub-Saharan Africa: Methodology, State of the Art and Perspectives." Heritage 2, no. 3 (2019): 2343-2369. https://www.mdpi.com/510516.
- Koleini, Farahnaz, Linda C. Prinsloo, Wim Biemond, Philippe Colomban, Anh-Tu Ngo, Jan CA Boeyens, Maria M. Van der Ryst, and Koos Van Brakel. "Unravelling the Glass Trade Bead Sequence from Magoro Hill, South Africa: Separating Pre-Seventeenth-Century Asian Imports from Later European Counterparts." Heritage Science 4, no. 1 (2016): 43. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40494-016-0113-2.
- Marshall, Lydia Wilson. “Typological and Interpretive Analysis of a 19th-Century Bead Cache in Coastal Kenya.” Journal of African Archaeology 10, no. 2 (2012): 189-205. https://doi.org/10.3213/2191-5784-10224.
- Oteyo, Gilbert, and Chapurukha M. Kusimba. "The Consumption of Glass Beads in Ancient Swahili East Africa." In China and East Africa: Ancient Ties, Contemporary Flows, 147-164. Lanham: Lexington Books, 2019.
- Wood, Marilee, Serena Panighello, Emilio F. Orsega, Peter Robertshaw, Johannes T. van Elteren, Alison Crowther, Mark Horton, and Nicole Boivin Wood. “Zanzibar and Indian Ocean Trade in the First Millennium CE: The Glass Bead Evidence.” Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences 9 (2017): 879–901. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12520-015-0310-z.
Additional resources that are not exclusively focused on glass beads include:
- Dallapiccola, Anna. Reverse Glass Painting in India. New Delhi, India: Nyogi Books, 2017.
- Kanungo, Alok K., and Robert H. Brill. “Kopia, India’s First Glassmaking Site: Dating and Chemical Analysis.” Journal of Glass Studies 51 (2009): 11–25. https://www.jstor.org/stable/24191226.
- Lankton, James W., and Laure Dussubieux. “Early Glass in Asian Maritime Trade: A Review and an Interpretation of Compositional Analyses.” Journal of Glass Studies 48 (2006): 121–44. https://www.jstor.org/stable/24191148.
- Srinivasan, Anjali. “Glass Art in India: Lost and Living Traditions.” The Glass Art Society Journal (2005): 58-60.
China, Korea, and Japan
- Audric, Thierry. Chinese Reverse Glass Painting 1720-1820: An Artistic Meeting between China and the West. New York: Peter Lang, 2020. https://doi.org/10.3726/b16542.
- Blair, Dorothy. A History of Glass in Japan. Corning Museum of Glass Monographs. New York: Kodansha International, 1973.
- Braghin, Cecilia, ed. Chinese Glass: Archaeological Studies on the Uses and Social Context of Glass Artefacts from the Warring States to the Northern Song period (Fifth Century B.C. to Twelfth Century A.D.). Firenze: Leo S. Olschki, 2002.
- Cao, Maggie M. “Copying in Reverse: China Trade Paintings on Glass.” In Beyond Chinoiserie, 72–92.
Leiden; Boston: Brill, 2018.
- Chaiklin, Martha. “A Miracle of Industry: The Struggle to Produce Sheet Glass in Modernizing Japan.” In Building a Modern Japan: Science, Technology, and Medicine in the Meiji Era and Beyond, edited by Morris Low, 161–81. New York: Palgrave Macmillan US, 2005.
- Curtis, Emily Byrne. Glass Exchange between Europe and China, 1550-1800: Diplomatic, Mercantile and Technological Interactions. Farnham, England: Ashgate, 2009.
- Curtis, Emily Byrne, ed. Pure Brightness Shines Everywhere: The Glass of China. Burlington, Vt.: Ashgate, 2004.
- Gan, Fuxi, Robert H. Brill, and Shouyun Tian. Ancient Glass Research Along the Silk Road. New Jersey: World Scientific, 2009.
- Gan, Fuxi, Qinghui Li, and Julian Henderson, eds. Recent Advances in the Scientific Research on Ancient Glass and Glaze. Series on Archaeology and History of Science in China, 2. Hackensack, NJ: World Scientific/World Century 2017.
- Insook, Lee. “Ancient Glass Trade in Korea.” In Korea: The Past and the Present, 382–96. Folkestone: Global Oriental, 2008. https://doi.org/10.1163/9789004217829_034.
- Knothe, Florian. “East Meets West: Cross-Cultural Influences in Glassmaking.” Journal of Glass Studies 52 (2010): 201-216. https://www.jstor.org/stable/24191207.
- Kotera, Chizuko. “Glass Exchange and People in Ancient East Asia.” In Annales du 20e Congrès de L'Association Internationale pour L'Histoire du Verre: Fribourg/Romont, 7-11 Septembre 2015, edited by Sophie Wolf, and Anne de Pury-Gysel, 647-651. Verlag Marie Leidorf GmbH: AIHV, 2015.
- Liu, Lihong. “Vitreous Views: Materiality and Mediality of Glass in Qing China through a Transcultural Prism.” Getty Research Journal 8 (January 1, 2016): 17–38. https://doi.org/10.1086/685913.
- Maxwell, Christopher, and Shelly Xue. Asian Glass: Selections from The Corning Museum of Glass (Corning, NY: The Corning Museum of Glass, forthcoming).
- Screech, Timon. The Lens within the Heart: The Western Scientific Gaze and Popular Imagery in Later Edo Japan. 2nd ed. Richmond, Surrey: Curzon, 2002.
- Song, Min Jeong. “Mechanisms of In-Betweenness: Through Visual Experiences of Glass.” Ph.D., Royal College of Art, 2014. https://researchonline.rca.ac.uk/id/eprint/1657.
- Tanizawa, Ari. “The Yayoi-Kofun Transition as Seen from the Exchange Network of Beads in the Japanese Archipelago.” In The Art and Archaeology of Bodily Adornment, 77–100. New York: Routledge, 2019.
- Xue, Lu (Shelly). “The Investigation into the Development of Glass as an Expressive Medium in China through Direct Contact with Western Methods of Making, Decoration and Forming.” Ph. D., University of Wolverhampton, 2009. https://wlv.openrepository.com/handle/2436/123593.
- Carboni, Stefano. Glass from Islamic Lands. London: Thames & Hudson in association with the al-Sabah Collection, Dal al-Athar al-Islamiyyah, Kuwait National Museum, 2001.
- Carboni, Stefano, and David Whitehouse. Glass of the Sultans. New York, Corning, Athens, New Haven and London: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Corning Museum of Glass, Benaki Museum, Yale University Press, 2001.
- Curtis, Emily Byrne. Chinese-Islamic Works of Art, 1644-1912: A Study of Some Qing Dynasty Examples. Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate, 2016.
- Duckworth, Chloë N., David J. Mattingly, Simon Chenery, and Victoria C. Smith. "End of the Line?: Glass Bangles, Technology, Recycling, and Trade in Islamic North Africa." Journal of Glass Studies 58 (2016): 135-69. http://www.jstor.org/stable/90000972.
- Fiorentino, Sara, Barbara Venezia, Nadine Schibille, and Mariangela Vandini. “Streams across the Silk Roads? The Case of Islamic Glass from Ghazni.” Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports 25 (June 1, 2019): 153–70. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jasrep.2019.04.002.
- Henderson, Julian, S. D. McLoughlin, and D. S. McPhail. "Radical Changes in Islamic Glass Technology: Evidence for Conservatism and Experimentation with New Glass Recipes from Early and Middle Islamic Raqqa, Syria." Archaeometry 46, no. 3 (2004): 439-468. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1475-4754.2004.00167.x.
- Hess, Catherine, and Linda Komaroff. The Arts of Fire: Islamic Influences on Glass and Ceramics of the Italian Renaissance. Los Angeles, CA: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2004.
- Neri, Elisabetta, Bernard Gratuze, and Nadine Schibille. “The Trade of Glass Beads in Early Medieval Illyricum: Towards an Islamic Monopoly.” Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences 11, no. 3 (March 1, 2019): 1107–22. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12520-017-0583-5.
- Schibille, Nadine, Bernard Gratuze, Eric Ollivier, and Étienne Blondeau. “Chronology of Early Islamic Glass Compositions from Egypt.” Journal of Archaeological Science 104 (April 1, 2019): 10–18. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jas.2019.02.001.
- Walton, Michelle, and Marc Pelletreau. Imperfect Perfection - Early Islamic Glass. Doha: Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation, 2012.
- Ward, Rachel. “A Mamluk Enameled Bucket and Experiments in Glass Productions.” In God Is Beautiful and Loves Beauty: The Object in Islamic Art and Culture, edited by Shiela Blair and Jonathan Bloom. New Haven [CT]: Yale University Press; Qatar: in association with the Qatar Foundation, Virginia Commonwealth University, and Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Qatar, 2013.
There is no indigenous tradition of man-made glass in the Americas prior to the Colonial period beginning in the 1500s. However, obsidian (natural glass) was an important economic and symbolic material. Below are some resources that explore the importance of obsidian:
- Dillian, Carolyn D., Charles A. Bello, and M. Steven Shackley. “Long-Distance Exchange of Obsidian in the Mid-Atlantic United States.” In Trade and Exchange: Archaeological Studies from History and Prehistory, edited by Carolyn D. Dillian and Carolyn L. White, 17–35. New York, NY: Springer, 2010. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-1072-1_2.
- Levine, Marc N., and David M. Carballo, eds. Obsidian Reflections: Symbolic Dimensions of Obsidian in Mesoamerica. Denver: University Press of Colorado, 2014.
- Saunders, Nicholas J. “A Dark Light: Reflections on Obsidian in Mesoamerica.” World Archaeology 33, no. 2 (2001): 220–36. https://www.jstor.org/stable/827900.
- Shackley, M. Steven. Obsidian: Geology and Archaeology in the North American Southwest. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2005.
- Ahlberg Yohe, Jill, and Teri Greeves. Hearts of Our People. Minneapolis, MN: Minneapolis Institute of Art: University of Washington Press, 2019.
- Gordon, Beverly. The Niagara Falls whimsey: the object as a symbol of cultural interface. Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1984.
- Hammel, George R. "Trading in Metaphors: The Magic of Beads: Another Perspective on Indian-European Contact in Northeastern North America.” In Proceedings of the 1982 Glass Trade Bead Conference, 5-28, edited by Charles F. Hayes III. Rochester, N.Y.: Research Division, Rochester Museum & Science Center, 1983.
- Jordan, Kurt A., and Peregrine Gerard-Little. “Neither Contact nor Colonial: Seneca Iroquois Local Political Economies, 1670-1754.” In Indigenous Persistence in the Colonized Americas: Material and Documentary Perspectives on Entanglement, 39-56, edited by Heather Law Pezzarossi, and Russell N. Sheptak. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico, 2019.
- Phillips, Ruth. Trading identities: the souvenir in native North American art from the Northeast, 1700-1900. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1999.
We would also refer you to the North American Trade Bead Bibliographies made available on the site of the Society of Bead Researchers: https://www.beadresearch.org/resources/north-american-trade-beads-bibliographies/.