B E ADWORK OF ISLAND SOUTH E AST ASIA Hwei-Fe’n Cheah – TAASA Review June 2010

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This article was originally found in the June 2010 edition of TAASA Review (Volume 19, Issue 2, Page 7).

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T he protective powers of beads and their symbolic association with durability, fertility and wealth are manifest in the regard with which beads and beadwork are held in so many parts of island Southeast Asia.

Shell beads, employed in Southeast Asia since at least the second millennium BCE, were often applied in combination with imported glass beads.

While some beads were made locally, beads from India and China were widely traded through the archipelago ports and were exchanged for local produce...