Antique Chinese Yellow Melon Beads from Irian Jaya Papua CRBM 10143



On offer, are several rare old yellow melon beads from Irian Jaya, West Papua, New Guinea. They are believed to be Chinese in origin, brought to New Guinea by Chinese traders between 1600 and 1850. These beads were incorporated into the tribal money system by the Papuans. They are said to have been used for ceremonial purposes, as well as, apparently, to purchase brides. These beads can be lemon-colored, or egg yolk yellow color like the ones in this listing; the egg yolk-colored ones appear to be the rarer of the two.

In Indonesia these beads are called blimbing (starfruit) as they resemble a starfruit.

The yellow melon beads are also known as "Blini-Blini". Beads like these are described and illustrated in "The Chinese Bead" by Alice T. Williams (G.B. Fenstermaker, 1979), where they are dated to the 18th century, early in the Qing (Manchu) Dynasty. Other references include "Collectible Beads" by Robert Liu (p. 92) and Manik-Manik di Indonesia by S. Adhyatman and R. Arifin, p. 81.

SOLD BY BEAD. Quantity discount embedded into the choice of the number of beads at checkout.

An important note: Indonesia has become home to a more recent glass-making industry, where the skill of imitation of old beads has reached near-perfection. There is therefore always a danger of mistaking reproductions for the old beads. We try very hard to only use reliable sources and find reliable references for the beads we offer. We stand by our products and accept unconditional returns within 30 days of purchase, so if any doubt arises when you hold the beads in your hands, we will accept them back no questions asked.

IMPORTANT NOTE. In the world of beads, and especially ancient and antique beads, errors in identification are common. We do our best to research and classify our beads accurately, however, mistakes are certainly possible. If you are a bead expert and notice any errors in the description, we invite you to please contact us and let us know. We are always grateful for any new information. We also accept returns no questions asked. See our Return Policy for detail.

COLORS: Our photos are taken in different lighting in an attempt to show how beads look in different lighting conditions. We make every effort to show colors as accurately as possible. The white background photos are taken in daylight conditions. The black background photos are taken in the strong lab light and would be representative of what they would look like in the evening electric light. Some of the photos are backlit to emphasize their translucency. Note that monitor settings strongly affect the way the colors look. What you see on your monitor may differ from what you see with a naked eye depending on your monitor settings.

WE COMBINE SHIPPING and will refund any overage. Contact us when placing the order and we will work with you to ensure the best available shipping cost.