Station: [45] Bead Heads

  • Glasmuseum Wertheim


Who doesn’t know the expression “if looks could kill...’“. Such a look can be full of hate, rage, jealousy, or can even be piercing. It is an “evil look,” and its psychological effect is intimidating. Fear of the “evil look,” has existed for a long time, is part of the oldest folk beliefs, and the various methods of protection against it have existed for just as long. Mere eye contact with a person who has the “evil look,” is supposed to cause death or disaster. Hence, the most effective method is to avoid contact with such people, and if that isn’t possible one must carry a suitable amulet. Because strong protection is needed to counteract the power of the eyes that carry the enchantment.


And a bead head is such an amulet. The original that’s supposed to date from the second century BC is in the museum in Carthage. The creepy look of the prominent eyes is portrayed with large concentric circles. According to Thea Elisabeth Haevernick, face or head beads like this small bead head, were only made for a limited period of time. They were first created in the fifth or fourth century BC and it is their cult character that has meant they have survived to this day in Greece or Turkey for example.