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The History of Beads: From 30,000 B.C. to the Present Paperback – May 18, 2004


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Paperback, May 18, 2004
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Beads have been used throughout the ages and in virtually every culture, not simply as adornment but to express social circumstances, political occurrences, and religious beliefs; as a form of currency; or as symbolic embodiments of curative powers. And they're colorful, made of various interesting materials, and can be combined in endless configurations. With more than 100 crisp color photos and intelligently written text that reaps the benefits of the author's 30 years of research, The History of Beads documents bead styles and uses in Europe, the Americas, Africa, and the Far East. Ranging from prehistoric times to the 20th century, this book stops along the way to consider the magic eye bead, prayer beads, and beads with other special attributes. An eight-page color gatefold section offers a fascinating timeline of the bead's history at a glance. Bead devotees can satisfy their curiosity about their medium of choice and draw inspiration for their own creations from the beautiful photos of necklaces, collars, bags, headdresses, and other beaded ornaments. --Amy Handy --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Beads have played an important role in every major civilization and have traveled widely as valuable and easily portable objects of adornment. This comprehensive and visually stimulating history focuses on the bead in its cultural context as personal decoration, currency, status symbol, magical charm, and form of cultural communication. Complementing the well-documented text are full-page color photographs of beads from museums and private collections; maps showing bead-making centers and distribution routes; and a fold-out chart of every major bead type (over 1230) from the dawn of history to the present. Highly recommended for academic and large public libraries. Janice Zlendich, California State Univ. Lib., Fullerton
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 364 pages
  • Publisher: Harry N. Abrams; Reprint edition (May 18, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0810991764
  • ISBN-13: 978-0810991767
  • Product Dimensions: 11.9 x 9 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,272,499 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Finally I found a copy I can afford.
rotaroter
Although there are two wonderful editions of this book, I recommend the unabridged vesion, as it obviously contains the most amount of information.
Tamber R. Buxton
Reviewing the history of beads through variable aspects and most intreresting historical links.
hoshel@netvision.net.il

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

45 of 46 people found the following review helpful By K. Varraso VINE VOICE on July 16, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book comes in two versions: a concise version and a huge hardcover version. I own both, but find the unabridged version to be head and shoulders above the paperback "bead history lite" one. This huge tome is a labor of love, and is one of the best books available to learn why every culture devised by man has valued these little objects with holes in them.
There are plenty of photos, and the book follows the parallel paths of humans and beads throughout history. It can be startling and amusing to discover that what we consider to be new and exciting has been done many times in the past by people in cultures everywhere. I personally found it facinating to discover that one of the first things that humans do when we discover a new material is to punch a hole in it and wear it as a bead.
Intrinsically, beads are mostly worthless, but this book shows how they bind us all together and add to our knowledge of the people share our planet, both now and in the past. A must read for the serious bead artist.
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35 of 36 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 20, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Lois Sherr Dubin's 32,000 year history of beads book appeals to both lay person and scholar. Gorgeous color photos and striking black and white photos enhance the reader's imaging delight. The author's all-encompassing focus on the multi-faceted technological achievements of the human imagination in creating beads throughout the millennia is both astounding and inspiring. In addition, the comprehensive time line, table, notes, bibliography, and index make this an invaluable research tool as well as an illuminating work of art. I cannot recommend this book more highly
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 6, 1998
Format: Hardcover
This book carefully traces the travels and roles of beads throughout human history. It is organized mainly by geography, but it also has chapters on special bead types (amber, pearls, eye beads and prayer beads). The photos of historic beads and jewelry are worth the price of admission all by themselves, and can be very inspiring for creative folks. It is also an eye-opening history: I was a history major in college, and I learned A LOT from this book. If you create with beads, Dubin's book will show you what the human race has done before you. If you collect beads, you will learn much about the people and places your prizes may have passed through on the way to your hands.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 15, 1998
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I had often borrowed the hardcover edition of this book through inter-library loans, so I was thrilled to see it available in soft cover. It covers the broad scope of world history from the perspective of beads--from materials and processes used, through their purposes and uses. A valuable addition to any collection.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 8, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I hope this edit supercedes my previous review as the author was correct and I feel like an idiot for not doing my own research correctly and voicing criticism very inappropriately. The book is, as described by previous reviewers, quite gorgeous, and, along with Robert Liu's book, one of the few available serious efforts at a comprehensive history.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By KellyAnne on October 10, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I first met this breathtakingly beautiful book several years ago while working at a beadstore. It was an absolute treasure trove of information while I was studying the history of beads and beadwork. The photos of historical and cultural projects are a wonderful source of inspiration and knowledge. The pull-out chart of the bead time line is beautiful. a beautiful coffee table book and useful reference.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Tamber R. Buxton on December 26, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I own a great deal of books on the subject of beads. I can easily say that I find myself returning to this book again and again for both reference and entertainment. Although some information may require a bit of updating, the work itself is easily one of the best books on the subject, making it an absolute 'must have' for anyone interested in beads, jewelry, or the history of adornment in cultures throughout the world. Although there are two wonderful editions of this book, I recommend the unabridged vesion, as it obviously contains the most amount of information. Overall, this book is concise, well-illustrated, and an overall entertaining read!
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Karen T on April 18, 1998
Format: Paperback
This is a handsomely put together paperback--large size format--that is filled with color photos and detailed information on beads through the ages. It was originally a very expensive hardback, one which I would have hesitated to have my elementary students handle. Now we all refer to it--especially the beautiful removable bead time-line poster inside.
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