Bina - Slave Beads
This is my narrative and relevant references from the Books where Slave Beads are mentioned.
I make no pronouncements on these matters, but report them as I find them.
Arrive at your own conclusions.
I wish you well,
The word Bina, in Gorean, means slave beads.
Slave beads are necklaces of usually wooden, but sometimes glass beads. The beads are cheap, common and simple. Usually these beads are painted bright colors of yellow, red, purple, and others. The size of the beads range from tiny to about half a hort (5/8") in diameter. The beads are strung on as simple as thread to as tough as binding fiber. These necklaces are different lengths and usually more than one strand is worn at once.
But in all cases, slave beads are just cheap, insignificant baubles.
Notice though that I didn't say they are worthless. Because, to a slave, slave beads are probably worth more than almost any other tangible object. In fact, a handful of glass or wooden beads may confer a prestige that among free women might not be garnered with diamonds. Sometimes slave girls fight fiercely over such beads.
Slave beads are also well known for their effect in arousing the passions not only of the slaves themselves, but interestingly enough, sometimes too of their masters.
"Orders I gave," said she, "that you were to be presented to me this night in yellow slave beads.
Near the red silk I had cast aside, when donning the desert garments of the guard, on the tiles, I saw the vulgar, wooden, rounded, yellow slave beads, the necklace, which I had not chosen to permit being placed upon me.
She carried, in her hands, several strings of beads, simple necklaces, with small, wooden, colored beads. They were not valuable.
She held the necklaces up for me to see. Then, with her finger, moving them on their string, she indicated the tiny, colored wooden beads. "Da Bina," she said, smiling. Then she lifted a necklace, looking at it. "Bina," she said. I then understood that 'Bina' was the expression for beads, or for a necklace of beads. The necklaces and beads which Eta produced for me were delights of color and appeal; yet they were simple and surely of little value.
I went to the cave, Eta following. I lifted one of the chest's covers. I took from the chest a string of pearls, then one of pieces of gold, then one of rubies. "Bina?" I asked, each time. Eta laughed. "Bana," she said, "Ki Bina. Bana." Then, from another box, Eta produced another necklace, one with cheap glass beads, and another with simple, small wooden beads. She indicated the latter two necklaces. "Bina," she said, pointing to them. Bina, I then understood, were lesser beads, cheap beads, beads of little value, save for their aesthetic charm. Indeed, I would later learn that bina were sometimes spoken of, derisively, as Kajira bana. The most exact translation of 'bina' would probably be "slave beads." They were valueless, save for being a cheap adornment sometimes permitted imbonded wenches.
The expression 'Bina' in Gorean means slave beads.
On this table had been strands of thread and, in small cups, beads, slave beads, of various colors, red, yellow and purple, and other colors. I understood, somehow, that I must make a necklace.
"Bead a necklace, Slave Girl," said the voice. "Yes, Master," I had said. Then my hands had reached toward the strands of thread on the table, and toward the cups of tiny beads.
I assumed Tup Ladletender would rope the slave beads on my neck, fastening them behind my neck. They were of wood, and cheap and pretty. I would be pleased to wear a decoration.
I saw that at the foot of the dais, before me, before where I now knelt, released by the men who had held me, there was a low table, and, on this table there were strands of thread and, in small cups, beads, wooden slave beads, beads of various colors, of many colors.
I looked down at the low, wooden table, the beads in the tiny cups.
The word "bina" is generally used to designate very pretty beads, but beads which, nonetheless, are cheap, common, and simple. They are usually of painted wood or glass. With such beads common slaves, if they are sufficiently pleasing, might hope to be permitted to adorn themselves. Sometimes slave girls fight fiercely over such beads. The best simple translation of "bina" is "slave beads."
She was naked, except for her collar, and some beads, colorful, cheap wooden beads, slave beads, and her bells, on her left ankle.
About my neck had been slung several strands of beads, large, colorful wooden beads, slave beads, of different lengths. To some extent they concealed me, but they, other than my collar, were all I wore.
Sita was lifting the strands of slave beads from my neck, placing them, too, in the box.
Sita lifted the last strand of slave beads from about my neck and put it in the box.
I also wore a triple necklace of coins, together with necklaces of slave beads, of both glass and wood.
"Look," I said, reaching into my wallet and drawing forth a handful of slave beads, "are they not beauties?"
He looked at them, in the moonlight.
"They are cheap," he said.
"Of course," I said, "but pretty, very pretty, and strung on binding fiber." They were large and round, about half a hort in diameter, of brightly colored wood.
"You are a merchant," he said.
"Come here, by the fire," I said. I there displayed the beads.
"Yes," he said, "pretty."
"I am to deliver these to the tent of Borton," I said. I had decided that.
"He does not own slaves," he said. "He rents them."
"These need not be, at first, for a slave," I said.
"True," laughed the fellow.
"Imagine them cast about the neck of a stripped free woman," I said, "and her then ordered to writhe in them at his feet, in fear of his whip, hearing them clack together, knowing they are strung on binding fiber and such."
"Yes!" laughed the fellow.
"When he then puts his hand on her," I said, "I wager she will be well ready for him."
"Indeed," said the fellow.
"And may later be branded and collared at his leisure."
"Of course," said the man.
Slave beads are commonly cheap, made of wood and glass, and such. Who would waste expensive beads, golden droplets, pearls, rubies, and such, on a domestic animal? Still they are very pretty, and slaves will wheedle and beg for them. Indeed, they will compete desperately, zealously, sometimes even acrimoniously, for them. And they, such deliciously vain creatures, know well how to use them, adorning themselves, enhancing their beauty, making themselves even more excruciatingly desirable! Among slaves a handful of glass or wooden beads may confer a prestige that among free women might not be garnered with diamonds. Slave beads, too, and such simple adornments, bracelets, earrings, cosmetics, slave perfumes, and such, are well known for their effect in arousing the passions not only of the women themselves, but, too, it must be admitted, sometimes of their masters. Indeed, some masters will not permit such things to their women for fear they will make them too beautiful, too exciting and desirable, so much so that there might be a temptation to relax discipline. This fear, however, in practice, in my opinion, is illusory.
I looked at the beads. They were pretty, that double strand of insignificant baubles, those lovely spheres of colored wood strung on binding fiber, enough to bind a slave hand and foot.
I had left some slaves beads in recompense, of course, pretty beads of cheap wood, such as are cast about in festivals and carnivals, sometimes even being seized up secretly by free women who put them on before their mirrors, in secret, as though they might be slaves. In many cities, incidentally, a woman who is discovered doing such a thing may be remanded to magistrates for impressment into bondage.
'Bina', in Gorean, is a common word for slave beads, usually of colored wood, with which a low slave might be permitted to bedeck herself.
"I am the Lady Bina," she said.
"That is an odd name," said his fellow.
I thought it odd, as well, for 'bina' is a common word for beads, generally cheap beads, of colored wood, slave beads.