“Seven Star” Eye Bead

Object Name: 
“Seven Star” Eye Bead

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Object Name: 
“Seven Star” Eye Bead
Place Made: 
Accession Number: 
Overall H: 3.1 cm, Diam (max): 3.4 cm
On Display
475-221 BCE
Web Description: 
蜻蜓眼玻璃珠 This bead, with its superimposed layers of glass, gives the appearance of eyes looking back at you. Eye beads were worn as protective amulets and originated in the Mediterranean. Traders transported them eastward, and their design influenced bead production in other regions. Chemical analysis indicates that these beads were made in China because of their high amounts of lead and barium. The protruding horns and the geometric star pattern demonstrate the creativity and skill of Chinese beadmakers.
Karlbeck, Ovar, Source
Primary Description: 
“Seven Star” Eye Bead. Opaque white, turquoise-blue, and reddish-brown glasses; beadmaking. Opaque white glass thinly overlaid with opaque turquoise-blue glass; decorated with nine medallions of stratified layers of (1) circular opaque white glass with a line of reddish-brown, (2) a smaller layer of opaque turquoise- blue glass, and (3) six compound "eyes" of slightly oblate form encircling a seventh, central eye, each composed of a layer of opaque white glass with a center of turquoise-blue; between these nine medallions, knobs of opaque white glass (now devitrified, and one missing) were applied; heavy body, as from high lead content.
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.
A Bead Timeline: A Resource for Identification, Classification and Dating (2003) illustrated, fig 5.5, no. 849; BIB# 75736
Ancient Glass = Koda-i garasu (2001) p. 188, no. 186-187; BIB# 71423