Group of ancient eye beads

Object number
Object: Group of ancient eye beads

Material: Polychrome opaque glass.

Period: Beads from the 6th cent. BC to 3rd cent. BC.

Description:    Mixed group of 10 multicolored so-called eye beads. The style points to a production in the Eastern Mediterranean. The magnificent beads all have a central drill hole and could in theory be threaded and worn.

Background: Eye beads were popular in the ancient Mediterranean. Beads of this type are known as eye beads because archaeologists interpret the decorations as a highly stylized face. The circles are the eyes. The beads thus fulfilled a protective function against the "evil eye" (see E. M. Stern, B. Schlick-Nolte, Early Glass of the Ancient World, p. 195).

Dimensions: 9mm to 12mm diameter.

Condition: Very good condition. One bead made professionally restored from fragments. The other beads are complete and intact, apart from minor chips.

Provenance: Acquired by us on the British art market in 2022. Previously in a British private collection. Acquired into it at Christie's London auction 30 April 2008, lot 84. The beads were previously purchased in the 1980ies.

References: Cf. Metropolitan Museum of Art, acc. no. 10.130.3030.
Cf. E. M. Stern, B. Schlick-Nolte, Early Glass of the Ancient World, pp. 198, no. 41.

Literature: For an overview on ancient and antique beads we recommend L. Sherr Dubin, The History of Beads.

Authenticity: We unconditionally guarantee the authenticity of every artefact, all items are subject to our lifetime return policy on authenticity.