Sciama, Lidia D. & Eicher, Joanne B.
Beads and Bead Makers


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Beads and Bead Makers: Gender, Material Culture and Meaning

Beads have been used since antiquity, not only to dress the body, but as measures of value in economic and ritual exchanges. For example, at the New Orleans Mardi Gras, women expose their breasts and gay men their genitals in exchange for beads which are hurled at the revellers. The popularity of beads has never waned, and in recent years their trade has enjoyed a world-wide revival. Beads have deep and multiple meanings: in many cultures, together with garments, they reflect age, gender and social status, and are a vehicle through which people store, exchange and transmit wealth.

This absorbing book analyzes techniques and gendered aspects of the making of beads, as well as their role in trade and body adornment, in a wide range of societies, from the ancient Mediterranean to Renaissance Venice, and the southern United States to present-day Africa, where they have become a symbol of cultural survival and identity. Anyone interested in material culture, anthropology, art history, and gender studies will find that this book provides fascinating insights into attitudes toward the body and its dress as well as systems of social classification.

Edited by Lidia D. Sciama, The Centre for Cross-Cultural Research on Women, University of Oxford and Joanne B. Eicher

Beads and Beadcraft, Lidia D. Sciama & Joanne B. Eicher, Berg, 1998

Paperback. Octavo. Previous owners name inscribed on the first page. Minor shelf wear. Very good condition. 317 pp.