Well, you may have noticed that we recently listed a smattering of OLD Javanese glass beads. Naturally, this elicited some research about these ancient beads. Here’s the down low:
Majapahit refers to a vast, powerful empire based in Java that spanned many other islands from approximately 1293 to 1500 AD. According to Nagarakretagama (Desawarñana) written in 1365, Majapahit was an empire of 98 tributaries, stretching from Sumatra to New Guinea. In consisted of present day Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei, southern Thailand, Sulu Archipelago, Manila, and East Timor–wow, that’s HUGE!
Jawa Timur is Indonesian for ‘East Java’. The Indonesian slang for Jawa Timur is ‘Jatim’ or ‘Javanese’ (yes, you have probably seen this painted all over our website).
How does this all relate to beads? Well, the beads from the Majapahit era have various specific details to them such as mosaic patterns (similar to those in Millefiori beads), feather trails, and bird designs. Additionally, beads from this era show great influence from Roman and Middle-Eastern beads before 700 AD. More interesting about these beads are the historic uses for them. They were naturally worn in necklaces, but they were also used in place of jewels in rings and other jewelry, and supposedly Javanese Millefiori beads were used to cover the eyes, nose, ears, mouth, navel, and genitals of corpses (Collectible Beads, Robert K. Liu). Beads from this area may have been traded from India, China, Europe and the Middle East based on similarities between beads from these regions, but it is not certain.
Category : Beads, Beads, Beads