Antique Deep Carnelian Disc Beads from Mali 12th - 16th century.
Carnelian has been treasured throughout West Africa for more than a thousand years. These ancient hand shaped and drilled stone beads were found in Mauritania and Mali, where they are though to have been imported into Africa across important trade routes for Gold, Copper, and Salt at the height of the Empire of Mali.
Their origin was the Indus Valley, which was the location of two major Ancient Cultures; the Harappan and Mohenjo-Daro Civilizations.
These Indus Civilizations had grown in size, wealth and importance since 2300 BC, and were very famous for a thriving Carnelian Trade and sophisticated Metallurgy techniques. This area of river valleys was beneath the Himalaya Mountains in what is know Pakistan, small parts of Afghanistan, and Northern India. The fine and rare precious arts produced in these cultures traveled over important Trans-African Trade Routes to the wealthiest of Kingdoms in West and Northern Africa.
The center of West African World was the Mali Empire, which flourished from 1200 to 1600 AD. The Empire was founded by Sundiata Keita, and was renowned in the Ancient World for it's vast power, size and enormous wealth. The Empire's total area was staggering in size, as it included included nearly all the land between the Sahara Desert and the Coastal Forests of West Africa.
The Empire of Mali spanned the Modern Day countries of Senegal, southern Mauritania, Mali, northern Burkina Faso, western Niger, the Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Guinea, the Ivory Coast and northern Ghana. By 1350, the Empire covered approximately 439,400 square miles of land and resources.
The Empire of Mali flourished mostly on account of Trade in Gold, Copper and Salt; three of most immense Gold mines in Africa were located within it's borders. The Empire of Mali profoundly influenced the Culture of West Africa to this very day, through the spread of it's language, laws and customs, and was the Center of the Trans-Saharan Trade. Rare and Luxurious natural materials, like these Precious Carnelian are mostly found in Mali and Mauritania to this day, where they carry a high Talismanic Value, similar to that of Gold.
Carnelian was thought to impart great strength and powerful blood, as well as act as an agent in continued good bodily health.
Length : Approx. 36"
Bead Size Approx. : 10 x 4mm to 36 x 12mm
These Precious Carnelian Beads are in the same configuration as they were purchased in Mali years ago.