Search by Subject
Search by Institution
A String of Glass Beads

Tags: glass beads | Spring and Autumn Period | Warring States Period

Glass beads are also called marbles. This string of glass beads is a artefact of the late Warring States period. It consists of 27 different sized glass beads. The biggest glass bead is short and cylinder-shaped, dotted around with blue and white spaces, and inlaid with reddish brown. There are dents in parts where these have come off. Most of the glass beads are dark blue and spherical, with the eye of dragonfly pattern with light blue and white spaces inlaid on the top, and white dots lined up on the surface of the beads. The quality of this string of glass beads is high, and the thread holes are also very orderly. Glass beads were very popular in the Spring and Autumn and Warring States periods. We know that at that time the smallest glass bead was 0.2 centimeters in diameter, and the biggest was 4.2 centimeters, both transparent and non-transparent. The surface of the beads often had a “fish-eye design” that consists of many blue dots and white circles, some of them having many colors inside and outside of the circles, which is also called “dragonfly eye”. This decoration was often used with crystal, agate, jade and stone for the burials, and was worn on the deceased's neck, ears or wrists.

National Museum of History