Tribal Beading Patterns

Learn some of the significance of tribal beading patterns.

During the early times, man has known to use different beading patterns to add glamour or symbolize something special from them. In some cultures and ethnic groups, beading patterns are used as their way of presenting their status symbol. In this way, other members can identify a tribe member's accomplishments and status just by its beading patterns.

In some tribes, beading a pattern is a very significant symbol. Elders and warriors wear necklaces and bracelet with different beading patterns to show their rank or position. The women also use various necklaces and bracelets with special beading patterns to represent their womanhood. In some cases, women use special beading patterns as their accessories to attract men. Generally, the source of beading patterns from each tribe comes from their ancestors who started to use beads to imply rank or status. Usually, the most common material for creating different beading patterns is from stones and animal bones are used as the primary material for beading in the tribal groups. The huge tibial bones of some animals are perfect for shaping and making them as a pendant while gems and gold are sometimes used by wealthy cultural groups. On the other hand, wooden beads shaped into large circular beads are used by the Chinese. Although these beads do not have any distinguishing patterns, these beads are used as a prayer tool just like a rosary in Catholics.

Beading patterns history

We often see in the movies where shaolin monks usually have large beaded necklace which is called zhu and the beaded bracelets are called nian zhu. Compared to other tribal groups who used beading patterns to symbolize their status, monk beads are used during prayer. The longer beads are used for deeper meditation while the shorter beads are used for shorter meditation. Furthermore, Amazon tribes use different beading patterns in represent the maturity of a man. The beads would tell if the man is capable enough in raising a family and sustaining it. Also, teenagers are presented with a bead that would indicate their transition from teenager to adulthood. Some of them undergo a hard test just to acquire the beads. The beading patterns are often copied from animals and ancient gods that are believed to rule their tribe before. Furthermore, necklaces and bracelets with weird beading patterns are used as a luck charm. They believe that the beading patterns are blessed and will bring them good luck.

How to identify authentic tribal beading patterns

Today, tribal beading patterns are copied and sold to people who are obsessed with this cool stuff. However, genuine beading patterns that came from the actual tribe are considered sacred and must not be used by anyone unless if he or she is a member of the tribe. When choosing a native beading pattern to use we do well to show respect for its heritage and the people who first came up with the pattern.


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