The exhibition "Powers of African Beads" dedicated to pearls, either precious, semi precious or in wood, and their place in the African society and culture was inaugurated Thursday at the Bardo Museum National in Algiers.
Consisting of the collection of epidemiologist Tonia Marek, who has long lived in several African countries, and of archaeological and ethnographic pieces held by the museum, this exhibition proposes to visitors to go beyond the aesthetic appearance of beads to understand the social and cultural function.
This exhibition opens with the Algerian traditional necklaces, "Skhab" (necklace famous in several regions of the country), "Timeralt" (Southern Cross), "Djouher" (pearl necklace from Algiers) "Aqaran" (adornment from the Aures), all beaded.
Other oldest jewelry, necklaces and bracelets, dating back to the 5th century and belonged to Queen of Tuareg Tin Hinan are also exhibited.
Another part of the exhibition shows Tonia Marek’s collection which is dedicated to pearls and their significance in the African cultures.
This part of the exhibition highlights the use of these items for purposes other than aesthetics: occasionally inquiring about the social status, serving as currency of trading, commercial links between peoples, or as rosary used in many religions.