Beads of Life

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Beads of Life explores the ornamental bead work of eastern and southern Africa, through pieces found in the collections of several Canadian museums and universities. The author examines the functions and meanings of traditional bead work and looks at the socio-religious principles upon which many aesthetic choices were based. The book also describes materials used in traditional clothing and adornments before the arrival of glass beads, materials that both provided protection to the wearer and indicated social status. The book concludes with an examination of contemporary bead work, particularly as seen through the eyes of Canadians from eastern and southern Africa.