Bodom late 20th Century Masterwork Heirloom Beads from Ghana

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  • Bodom late 20th Century Masterwork Heirloom Beads from Ghana
  • Bead Size Approx. 
  • Small 34mm to 36mm
  • Large 40mm to 42mm
  • Origin is Ghana, West Africa
  • These are African-made powder glass beads which are historically called "Bodom" and "Akoso Beads". The origins and date of manufacture for these beads is still in dispute but bead scholars have dated most examples to the late 1800's to the early 1900's
  • Antique Akoso and Bodom Ghanaian powdered glass beads are recognized as usually having a thin yellow outer layer sometimes covering a dark gray or black core (Akosa Beads do not always have a dark core). They often display trailed cruciform designs and other hot worked decorative patterns possibly executed over updraft furnaces. The exact methods of Akosa and Bodom bead making is now a lost and forgotten technique which is no longer practiced by the current bead makers of Ghana.
  • Bodom and Akoso Beads were created from antique recycled glass trade beads of European origin (which were broken or damaged and considered no longer high value beads on their own) which were ground to a fine powder. There are also theories that the outer shell of Akoso and Bodom Beads were created from powdered "Hebron Beads" which traveled over Islamic Trade Routes into Sudan, and later Nigeria; the rich yellow ochres and vibrant teal blues and greens seen in Akokso and Bodom Beads might certainly support that theory. The powder was then placed in a mold and fired in open air ovens until the powdered glass fused into solid glass. Many of these old Akoso Beads have fragments of old Venetian Trade Beads that were melted still visibly imbedded in them.
    The larger and more sought after "Akoso" beads have double "U" shaped criss-cross patterns. How this pattern was applied is another controversy. Some scholars say this pattern was pre-formed of molten glass and hot worked onto the beads, while others say they were formed in the molds or transferred from secondary molds prior to the beads being made.
  • The larger Bodom Beads are most often associated with the Asante People and Kingdoms, whereas the Akoso Style is often referred to as "the Beads of Ewe Kings". Most of the older African powder glass beads like "Akoso" and "Bodom" Beads are still somewhat of a mystery and research on them continues today. In Africa, especially Ghana (where they originated), these beads are held in the highest esteem and usually only worn for celebrations, funerals, and are often buried with the dead. The Asante and Ewe People believe these Bodom beads when buried have supernatural powers to multiply themselves and protect their owners. To the Asante and Ewe People of West Africa, Akoso and Bodom Beads are "worth their weight in gold", and are relegated to use and ceremonial wear of the elite and wealthy in Ghanaian Culture and Kingdoms.