Bead with Cane Eyes

Object Name: 
Bead with Cane Eyes

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Object Name: 
Bead with Cane Eyes
Place Made: 
Accession Number: 
Overall H: 2.9 cm, Diam (max): 3.4 cm
Not on Display
Credit Line: 
Gift of Carl Berkowitz and Derek Content
Web Description: 
The use of mosaic canes to simplify the production of eyes on glass beads was probably developed during the Hellenistic period. Before that time, eyes had been made by layering glass in different colors, creating what are known as stratified eyes. The newer technique was employed in combination with other decorative motifs, as can be seen in this large bead, which presents trails forming a geometric framework encasing the eyes. It was probably crafted in the Islamic world. Examples have been found in Syria and Iran. Islamic makers of glass beads had the skills necessary to produce multicolored canes, and they were known for their use of the trailing technique. This bead exemplifies the enduring use of the eye, which was incorporated into diverse cultures, made in complex patterns, and employed as a source of protection.
Smith, Ray Winfield, Former Collection
Berkowitz, Carl, Source
Content, Derek, Source
Primary Description: 
Bead with Cane Eyes. Opaque "black" (amethyst), white, yellow, turquoise, red and white glasses; wound, trailed, canes. Cylindrical "black" matrix with white crisscross pattern, yellow blobs at all corners of crisscrosses and 12 red and white striped with turquoise center cane pieces applied to turquoise spots in voids of crisscross pattern.
Corning Museum of Glass 2013-05-18 through 2014-01-05
For 30,000 years, mankind has crafted beads from natural materials. With the discovery of glassmaking in the second millennium B.C., glass began to be used for this same purpose. Glass beads are universal. They have been produced throughout the 35 centuries of glass manufacturing, and by nearly every culture in the world. The glass beads and beaded objects on view in this exhibition are arranged thematically, comparing the manner in which diverse cultures have utilized beads, frequently for the same purposes, but sometimes for unique reasons. These themes explore how glass beads adorn the body and our possessions; how they convey messages about power and wealth, and identify the stages of human life; how they serve ritual purposes, as well as decorate clothing and objects used in rituals; and how they have been employed across the centuries as a means of exchange, both commercial and cultural. Through the centuries, beads have been made using a variety of processes. Understanding how beads were made has allowed scholars to follow the transmission of beads and beadmaking techniques across the globe. Across time and around the world, glass beads have become a common element of mankind. Through their manufacture and function, they are one of the strings that bind humanity together. “Life on a String” celebrates this common bond while also revealing the distinctiveness of different societies through their use of glass beads to celebrate their unique cultural heritage.
Tracing Eye Beads Through Time (2013-03) illustrated, p. 25, fig. 10, upper right; BIB# AI92488
Glass Beads: Selections from The Corning Museum of Glass (2013) illustrated, p. 21, no. 11; BIB# 134720
Life on a String: 35 Centuries of the Glass Bead (2013) illustrated, p. 8; BIB# AI94015