Click on the image to enlarge

In our collection you will find a wide variety of beads used in Africa for all kinds of purposes. These beads were used as trade currency, as a sign of dignity, neccesary for a tribal chief or just to wear nicely around your neck. Beads were used on statuettes or embroided on leather or cloth. Some beads were made as imitations of more expensive originals. Often European beads were exported to different regions of Africa, where tribes wore different, distinctive beads. These exports can go back quite some time; the earliest beads in our collection are blue and white glass beads manufactured in Holland in the 17th-18th C. The earliest African-made beads are pre-historic stone beads found in the sands of the Sahara.

Beads could be made from all kinds of materials: clay, shell, stone, coconut, amber, glass, iron, coral and even of plastic. Toguna has all these beads on display...