Africa Direct
Africa Direct

Cylindrical Mudcloth Batik Bone Beads

AvailabilityIn stock
Special Price $12.00 Regular Price $19.00
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Other Names Trade Beads
Type of Object bovine cow bone
Made In Kenya
Traded In Africa
Approximate Age Late 20th-early 21st century
Overall Condition Good.
Bead Size 6-7 mm wide. 2mm hole.See picture with ruler for size comparison.
Strand Length 26 inches (including string/raffia).
Brand Unbranded
Style Mudcloth Batik Bone Beads
Type Strand of Beads

Picture is an example. Yours will be similar.

This strand is not intended to be a ready-to-wear necklace. Although the strand can be worn "as is," the string holding it together is not durable and may break with use. For this reason, we recommend that you restring the beads before wearing them.

Batik Bone Beads are known for their distinctive geometric patterns and contrasting black/white or brown/white colors. The technique used to create these beads is called Batik or mudcloth dying, which is a wax-resist dyeing technique that dates back to the 4th century. Originally used by Javanese tailors for dying cloth, the process has been adapted to create these unique bone beads.

To create Batik Bone Beads, the beads are first exposed to sunlight to enhance their whiteness and increase their porosity. Then, designs are applied to each bead by hand using a thin stick coated in beeswax. Only the areas intended for dyeing are left exposed. The beads are then immersed in a natural dye solution made of peat and water or plant dye, with the process often repeated several times to achieve a near-black color. After the dye has set, the wax is carefully removed, revealing the preserved white pattern.

The motifs found on Kenyan Batik Bone Beads are heavily influenced by animals and the natural environment. Common examples include zebra stripes, leaves, leopard spots, and teeth. Ghanaian Batik Bone Beads tend to be more elaborate and feature Adinkra symbols, such as the three "Adrinkahene" circles that represent greatness, tolerance, and leadership. Each African Batik Bone Bead is made individually, making them unique and highly sought after by jewelry designers.

These beads are not only visually appealing but also represent a rich cultural heritage and craftsmanship. Their historical significance and intricate designs make them a worthwhile investment for jewelry designers looking to incorporate unique and meaningful elements into their creations.