Miao Silver Necklace. Cultural handicraft. Hand made. Fenghuang China.
Archaeologists say the Miao were some of the first settlers in China . . . long before the Qin Dynasty. This culture has survived for millennia. The Miao is one of the 56 officially recognized ethnic groups in China. The Miao are also comprised of many sub-groups.
Silver handicraft – especially personal accessories – are part of the Miao culture. For more than 400 years, it’s been the custom to decorate oneself head to toe, with silver. A full set can weigh over 20 pounds in weight. The purpose of wearing all this silver is – in most cases – aesthetic, to ward off evil, and as symbols of wealth. Designs provide a strong cultural message with patterns ranging from ancient totem to historic legends. Historians view it as the “Wearable History Book”.
Craftsmen, scattered through the Miao villages, make silver accessories by hand in a traditional way. In some villages, every male is trained in silver-work. Each ornament is an exquisite work of art and sparkles with the wisdom of the Miao people. Miao silver accessories include hats, horns, combs, earrings, neckbands, necklaces, bracelets, and a lot more.
This gorgeous and massive ceremonial necklace – with tons of bells – was handmade in a village just outside the ancient city of Fenghuang in the Hunan Province. There are many Miao festivals there and silver is the element of choice.
Regarding silver QUALITY, it comes in two forms: percentage of silver and extent of craftsmanship.
Miao silver varies with alloys of copper, cobalt, nickel and tin. Silver content is 2% and up depending on age. This particular necklace has white brass.
For the Serious Collector of beauty!
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