Fine Agate Bead Necklace probably Mizo People, Mizoram/Assam, Eastern India 19th century
length (approx): 58cm, weight: 96g
This string of outstanding beads mostly comprises some very old agate beads, as well as some glass and terracotta beads. The mix reflects the story of trade beads - it is possible that some of these beads are as early as the Roman period. It is likely that the agate beads originate from South Asia.
Moltzau Anderson (2010, p. 311) illustrates a necklace that includes similar agate beads that were found from among the Kalinga people of Luzon in the Philippines. The author suggests the agate beads originally would have come from south-central Asia. Indeed, carnelian or agate beads in this shape have been exported from India and central Asia for thousands of years.
It is likely however, that this set is from Eastern India.
The set is wearable, stable and very attractive.
References: Moltzau Anderson, E, In the Shape of Tradition: Indigenous Art of the Northern Philippines, C. Zwartenkot Art Books, 2010. Sherr Dubin, L., The Worldwide History of Beads, Thames & Hudson, 2009.
Provenance: private collection, London.
Inventory no.: 4320 SOLD
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A related Yemen necklace on display in the Islamic Art Museum Malaysia. (Photographed February 2017.)