8 The Bead-makers

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Move your mouse over the image and pause on things to see information 'pop ups' (blue shapes). Click for more when the hand icon appears (red shapes). This illustration has 14 red shapes and 8 blue shapes - can you find them all? The answers can be found here - don't cheat!

Cassava and Mischief (Unit 3)
A strand of best beads is used for quality control
Pump drill
Body painting
Strung beads
Drilled beads
Body painting
Body painting
Body painting
Un-drilled beads
Drilled beads
Drilling board
Shark tooth knives
String cordage
Strung beads
Strung beads
Drilled beads
Basket for storage of tools at the end of the day
Basket of beads
Shark skin
Bowl of water
Stone drill bits
Stone knapping base

The Bead-makers

In the busy village, in the shade of a simple shelter, two beadmakers ply their craft. They have a journey in two days time to a neighbouring island, and are working to create sufficient red beads – made from Chama sarda (cherry jewel box clam) – for trade. They have already prepared large batches of white and black beads, a few of which are loosely strung on cord in the small gourd bowl in the foreground.

On the right, a man positions the bead blank (an un-perforated disk) on a wooden plank, before working the pump drill to create the central hole for each bead. Beside him is a second drill pump as well as additional drill bits, for when the drill in use gets dull. 

On the left, the second man holds a finished bead up to the light, to check its colour and finish. He has just been polishing it, together with the other strung beads. In his right hand he has a finished string of perfectly symmetrical beads that he uses as quality control. A small bowl of beads that have passed his critical review is at his feet. Their hard work is creating a product that will be appreciated and valued by their neighbours to the south. In the background, the women prepare cassava for the evening meal (see details in “Cassava and mischief”).


Unit 8a: Beadmakers (JPG, 0.8 MB)

Unit 8b: Bead Checker (JPG, 0.8 MB)

Unit 8c: Bead Driller ​​​​​​​(JPG, 0.8 MB)