Beads, the Bead Trade and State Development in Southeast Asia

Beads are some of the few remaining traded objects to be found along the immense silk routes. Like ceramics, they also reveal innovations in the development of their means of production, as well as changing tastes and uses. Four types of beads have been found in Southeast Asia: 1. Indo-Pacific monochrome beads (2nd century BC to 1200 AD), which were made by Indians and Tamils; 2. Segmented, folded and mosaic eye beads (9th – 11th century AD), which originated in the Islamic West; 3. Java beads (10th century AD), consisting of a variety of shapes and designs, often made from sintered or low-fired glass; 4. Chinese beads (12th – 17th century AD), primarily made in Shantung Province and Canton, using a winding process, and which later contained lead. 

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