Found by a trader friend amongst a collection of mixed beads from
The Casamance, South
Sénégal. Although a fascinating area, it is not renown for having many old or valuable trade beads, but one which very occasionally comes up with a rare treasure.
From the 1st century BC - 1st century AD in Ptolemaic Egypt, a series of amazingly realistic mosaic
glass portraits were produced. But with the development of glass blowing, the fall of the Roman Empire and the passage of years, the time consuming, labour-intensive techniques used to create these tiny masterpieces
In the mid to late 1800's Giacomo Franchini, a highly skilled Venetian glass
lamp-worker, recreated exquisite figurative facial imagery canes.
Sadly, at the young age of 33, Franchini entered a mental institution and the complex techniques he employed at that time in the execution of
his fine work, generally remain a mystery.
-The above information is credited with thanks to Dinah Hulet
From our researching and the generously given advice of many experts in the field, the two face
canes on this bead are most likely the work of Franchini.
A similar face ( # 41 ) can be seen on the inside cover of Picard's Volume VI
Millefiore Beads from the West African Trade.
A very special miniature work of art.