Vintage African Brass Bead Very Rare probably Ashanti
I acquired a strand of these beads about 25 years ago. I have never found any more. They were obviously made by the same artist and I have three or four left, hiding in my bead collection! These are real treasures. Heavy, marvelously special. This one is just over one inch long and 23 mm at the widest point. They were really really dirty, so I have cleaned this enough to be wearable and appreciated. I can put it onto a black cord with two sliding knots if you just ask.
The basic method of lost-wax casting has been widely practiced on the African continent for centuries. While it is difficult to establish how the method was developed or introduced to the region, it is clear that West African sculptors were casting brass with this method for several hundred years prior to the arrival of the first Portuguese explorers along the coast in 1484. The technique requires a great deal of skill, involving extensive knowledge of both pottery and metalworking, and a careful attention to changing temperatures to prevent unwanted cracking or other damage to either the clay mold or to the metal sculpture during the casting process. Some of the earliest and most accomplished bronzeworks found in Africa date to the tenth century and are from a site called Igbo-Ukwu.