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Beading techniques


There are several techniques by which beadwork can be produced with thread/wire (either fibrous or metal) as a binding material. In modern times, apart from stringing, crocheting and weaving, knitting with beads is for instance done as well. In ancient Egyptian beadwork stringing, and sewing are (so far) the only techniques attested techniques for making even the most complex objects. Nowadays in Egypt also weaving with beads is practiced, as well as crocheting with beads. Beadwork in ancient times was sometimes also produced without string, for instance by pressing beads into an adhesive surface in order to create a distinctive pattern.


The most frequently used stringing techniques in ancient Egyptian for the production of the (more complex) beadwork objects, seem to be either the brick stitch or netting method, even in producing the tightly stung beaded fabrics. For a more open net pattern, several small beads or tube beads are employed, using the same two techniques. Which technique is chosen, often seems to depend on the shape of the object the beader is producing. This is because the techniques differ in stringing direction; when a long band of small beads is produced a brick stitch may be preferred over a netting method since the beading direction of this technique can be vertical. Why exactly either the brick stitch or netting technique is used, is still a matter of more (future) research.


The image in the middle is from the statuette of lady Tiye, now in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. For a reference click on the image.

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