Mosaic Bead

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Object Name: 
Mosaic Bead
Accession Number: 
Overall L: 1.7 cm, Diam (max): 1.6 cm
Not on Display
99 BCE-99 CE
Web Description: 
The mosaic technique originated early in the history of glassmaking, but it was reintroduced by Hellenistic and Roman artisans. Mosaic canes were made from thin rods of glass that were fused, stretched, and cut into tiny slices to form often intricate decorative motifs. These canes were used by the Romans to create glass beads, as can be seen in their famous face beads (e.g.,54.1.154, 62.1.25, and 95.1.4). This example illustrates the advanced skills of Roman glass- and beadmakers. It is one of the most complex forms of mosaic glass beads. The bead includes 18 cane plaques with four different patterns placed within a dark-colored matrix in three registers. The imagery on the plaques is related to the style that developed as the Roman Empire spread into Egypt and blended various iconographic motifs—such as lions, papyri, and rosettes—with its own decorative elements.
Smith, Ray Winfield (American, 1897-1982), Source
Primary Description: 
Mosaic Bead. Opaque matrix, pitted with silver iridescence obscuring color, mosaic inlays are composed of opaque light blue, red, white, purple, yellow and unidentifiable canes; wound and decorated with eighteen mosaic canes. Long ellipsoid bead decorated with three registers of mosaic canes, the central register is a red lion on a white field alternating with a red rosette on a light blue field, the upper and lower registers repeat a yellow rosette on a dark field above and below the center rosette, while a red and white lotus bud on a dark field bracket the lion cane both above and below.
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 from the Ancient World
Corning Museum of Glass 1957-06-04 through 1957-09-15
Verres Antiques de la Collection R.W. Smith
Musee de Mariemont 1954 through 1954
Anthropology: A Global Perspective (2015) illustrated, p. 204;
Glass Beads: Selections from The Corning Museum of Glass (2013) illustrated, p. 13, no. 5; BIB# 134720
Beads: 3,500 Years of Glass Beads (2013) illustrated, p. 10 (fig. 7, top); BIB# AI93926
Pre-Roman and Early Roman Glass in The Corning Museum of Glass (1979) illustrated, p. 275, #823; BIB# 29547
Glass from the Ancient World: The Ray Winfield Smith Collection (1957) illustrated, p. 79, #125; BIB# 27315