Beadwork Statistics

Just as heaven’s order is reflected by images such as Cartesian designs in the beadloom, the tangle of earth’s living disorder is sometimes given visual representation using random or nonlinear designs. A labyrinth of unpredictably branching forms can be seen in tunnels below Mayan temples, and in stories such as Octavio Paz’s Labyrinth of Solitude. At left you can see labyrinth motifs in the face painting of the Shipibo people of Peru, Brazil and Bolivia.

These “disorder designs” sometimes make an appearance in beadwork, although that is more rare than the geometric variety. In the Mayan design at left, labyrinth-like branching frames random variations of color. Here the color variation is subtle-- from dark blue to light blue-- but artists can control the range of variation to suit their own tastes or those of their customers, as we see in this Mayan beaded purse: