My purpose in writing this article today was to explain to you what “Warring States” beads were and a little bit of history about them. However, in my research, I have learned that Ancient Chinese History is very complicated to write a little blog post about! I will try to do it justice by keeping it in very simple terms and if you are further interested, I suggest you start at Wikipedia or search for a text on the subject! (The following images were obtained by googling “free warring states beads images” – sources are unknown but all are of ancient warring states beads).
Warring States refers to the time in Chinese History just after the Spring and Autumn period (approx. 1045-256 bc), and ending with the beginning of the Qin Period (which begin in 221 bc) which created a unified China. The Warring States refers to the period when many states existed and were fighting to gain control of China. Warring States beads are called that due to the time period in which they were made.
It was thought that China did not produce glass beads because artifacts found were made mostly from metal and ceramic. The glass found was not only produced much later in history than in Egypt , but was also made up of differing chemicals than the typical soda lime glass that was found then and is used today. It was made up of mostly lead and barium oxide.
The warring states beads are characterized as “eye” beads, or “dragonfly eye” beads and consist of mostly dots. Dot patterns are very prevalent in all types of glass beads and can make some very complicated designs!
Another glass bead guru who makes warring states beads is Tom Holland. This is a photo of a bead of his in my personal collection.
There are many other glass bead makers who use warring states beads as influence in their work, and I hope you take some time to do further research if you are interested.