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2 "Jack Reese" Trade Beads Ila Translucent Hand Blown Africa

$39.00
Product #: 114533
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Title 2 "Jack Reese" Trade Beads Ila Translucent Hand Blown Africa
Type of Object hand blown glass
Made In Venice
Traded In Africa
Approximate Age Late 19th-Early 20th Century
Overall Condition Good. Some of these beads have traveled at least three continents, and have graced numerous owners. Small chips, corrosion, and pitting are a normal part of their patina attesting to their age and extensive use.
Damage/Repair Moderate clouding to the glass that we could not clean off.
Bead Size 18 mm diameter, 102-103 mm p-p. See image with penny for size comparison.


Additional Information:  These Nigerian glass beads, locally called “ila,” are hand-blown and very delicate. They are also are the subject of a fascinating oral history. The story goes that an “ila” was set to hang over the cradle of a baby named Seleye Fulbara. One day the bead fell off and rolled into the den of a crab. No one could find it. Unfortunately for young Seleye Fulbara, this tragic occurrence meant that his parents would be forced to give him up for adoption. But on the day the baby was to be turned over to another family, the crab tossed the "ila" back out of his den. With the bead found, Seleye Fulbara was permitted to stay with his parents. He grew up and became very rich and was known as Jack Rich or Jack Reese. With his money, Jack Reese traveled great distances to purchase “ila.” Sometimes, just to show how remarkably wealthy he really was, he would break “ila” with his feet. The beads we are selling here may date to the late 1800s. They are only found in the Niger Delta region and are owned almost exclusively by members of the Fulbara clan. They are worn on hat bands and sewn onto vests, but never worn as traditional "beads.”