Maklaiheung Gallery

An Extremely Rare Late Phoenician or Hellenistic  Large Glass Bead

An Extremely Rare Late Phoenician or Hellenistic Large Glass Bead

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Directory: Antiques: Regional Art: Asian: Pre AD 1000: Item # 1332690

Please refer to our stock # WA462 when inquiring.
Maklaiheung Gallery
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This bead is huge and heavy, one of the largest and most dramatic ancient glass beads from West Asia I’ve seen. Only a very few have been found. On a core of dark, translucent blue glass three stratified eyes have been composed. Each consists of a layer of yellow, next a layer of blue, then three smaller circles of white providing the base for a final blue pupil. The three large eyes are connected by a trail of white glass. Similar beads have been excavated in Southern Ukraine and at Sarmatian and Scythian sites in the Caucasus such as Tenginskaya where they have been dated to the second century BC. They may have been used as personal decoration, but they also seem to be most frequently associated with horse harnesses. Presumably they were manufactured as highly valued decorative items for the nomadic peoples of central Asia by bead makers at one of the centres of Hellenistic culture around the Black Sea littoral, possibly Kerch in Crimea. This bead embodies a complex cultural history that is still waiting to be unravelled. Size: 3.7 cm x 3.3 cm. Condition: excellent; pitting to the glass as is to be expected, and chips around the perforation (see photos). Purchased from a private Italian collection.