Akoso Bead

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Object Name: 
Akoso Bead
Place Made: 
Accession Number: 
Overall W: 3.7 cm, D: 2.2 cm
On Display
Web Description: 
Like the bodom, the akoso is a highly valued type of powder glass bead found in Ghana, West Africa. Akoso beads are thought to have been made during the 19th century, but their origins are unknown. This form of bead is no longer being produced by the beadmakers of modern Ghana. The akoso differed from the bodom in its construction, in that it used a dry-core technique. This resulted either in no core or in a grayish core on larger beads. The akoso bead is usually an elongated bicone or cylindrical in form, and it has more decorative motifs than the bodom. It often has a yellow base and is ornamented with crossed loops, stripes, and spots/eyes, executed in various colors. Shades of green and teal are also found, typically decorated with simple stripes of black and pink. Some believe that the pink was made with a variety of crushed Venetian trade beads with red and white layers, known as cornaline d’Aleppo. This high-quality akoso bead has a distinct biconical structure and crossed loops that are well executed in layers of black and blue.
Lamb, Alastair, Former Collection
Primary Description: 
Akoso Bead. Yellow, blue, black, brown glass; Akoso type - long barrel with a yellow body and core; double elliptical trail pattern in blue and black; two longitudinal stripes in brown, blue and black.
Corning Museum of Glass 2013-05-18 through 2014-01-05
For 30,000 years, mankind has crafted beads from natural materials. With the discovery of glassmaking in the second millennium B.C., glass began to be used for this same purpose. Glass beads are universal. They have been produced throughout the 35 centuries of glass manufacturing, and by nearly every culture in the world. The glass beads and beaded objects on view in this exhibition are arranged thematically, comparing the manner in which diverse cultures have utilized beads, frequently for the same purposes, but sometimes for unique reasons. These themes explore how glass beads adorn the body and our possessions; how they convey messages about power and wealth, and identify the stages of human life; how they serve ritual purposes, as well as decorate clothing and objects used in rituals; and how they have been employed across the centuries as a means of exchange, both commercial and cultural. Through the centuries, beads have been made using a variety of processes. Understanding how beads were made has allowed scholars to follow the transmission of beads and beadmaking techniques across the globe. Across time and around the world, glass beads have become a common element of mankind. Through their manufacture and function, they are one of the strings that bind humanity together. “Life on a String” celebrates this common bond while also revealing the distinctiveness of different societies through their use of glass beads to celebrate their unique cultural heritage.
Glass Beads: Selections from The Corning Museum of Glass (2013) illustrated, p. 40, no. 26; BIB# 134720
Krobo Powder-Glass Beads (1976-04) illustrated, p. 39, fig. 33; BIB# AI14479