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Richly Hued Dark Blue Glass Ancient Indo Pacific / Nila Beads - Rita Okrent Collection (AT0611p)


14 items in stock

Deep Richly Hued Cobalt Dark Blue Glass Indo-Pacific / Trade Wind / Nila Beads

This group of beads was found in the Gao district of Mali, in between Gao and Niger. Circa 1600 AD.

Nila beads are the small monochrome Islamic glass beads than can be found in colors ranging from blue, green, red, black, white to yellow that are widespread in West Africa. They are also referred to as Indo-Pacific or Trade Winds beads, in reference to the ocean streams and winds that, for centuries, were used by the Arab merchant ships bringing them from India to Africa. They often have oxidization patina from burial and age. Large quantities have been found along the river banks of the Niger river in Mali and buried in large quantities in clay pots, used as a form of currency. They are also found in the ground in parts of West Africa and Southeast Asia. The name "Nila" comes from the Sanskrit term for indigo.

Strands include beads measuring 2-6mm diameter. Approximately 22-23” of beads per strand.

Each strand is unique and may vary  in size and color from strand(s) pictured. Strands sold individually. Price is per strand.

As per bead expert, Jamey Allen: Islamic Period beads are ca. 1000 years old. Dating from between ca CD 900-1200. They might be as early as CE 700, and as late as 1400. In 1400, Western Asian glass industries were destroyed by Tamerlane. And soon after, Egypt desisted as well. This is when Venice stepped in and became the glassmaker for all of Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean.

Some useful reference articles:

African Trade Item 0611p

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