History of Adornment – Part 4

21st Century Alchemy - When sneezing attack happens

21st Century Alchemy – When sneezing attack happens

You have to read aaaalllll the way to the end to understand the significance of the intro photo.




China!!  I’m so excited!



Jewelry in Asian countries, such as China, has a history of about 5,000 years old and it was very much a part of their culture.  Jewelry was worn by both sexes to demonstrate status of nobility and wealth. Women wore an assortment of jeweled adornment, which might have included an ornate headdress. The most common piece of jewelry worn by the Chinese were earring(s), worn by both men and women. I found mostly pics of headdresses.

Adornments were often placed in the graves of the dead upon burial. Rulers and high officials were buried with jade items to “protect” them in the afterlife.

In China, jewelry was preferred in silver as compared to gold and often decorated with blue color – glass enameling.  As I recently learned in some history study with my daughter, the Chinese had vast stores of silver and it was a primary metal of trade and highly prized at the time. When you consider the time frame, also, it was not sterling, it was pure or fine silver – Han dynasty (206 BC-220 AD). China’s use of silver as a medium of exchange is reflected in the name for bank “銀行” (literally “silver house” or “silver office”) and for the precious metal and jewel dealer “銀樓” (literally “silver building” or “silver shop”). (1)

The most prized of materials used in Chinese jewelry was jade. Considered not only beautiful, but also tough, jade was often used as a talisman to protect the wearer from evil and as a symbol that prominently indicated the morality of the adorned. It was and still is a sign of luck and when received as a gift, ought to be considered with a great deal of respect.

I want you to take a look at this site: http://primaltrek.com/loopcharms.html.  It is an excellent article on ancient Chinese charms and there is simply not enough time in my life to reframe it for you . . . it is just that delightful.

Additionally, please review this blog.  Stunning pictures and a stunning trip for the blogger: http://www.theglamourai.com/2013/10/historic-adornment.html

So I realize I am kinda phoning it in today :).  I’m having the worse sneezing attack right now and it’s super hard to type. If you haven’t guessed already, I am researching on the go and sharing my discoveries.

I close with this.  For many years I’ve come to see the Chinese culture as something filled with plastic things and melamine in food.  I have known in the back of my mind, that, the ancient people of Asia gifted us with incredible art and adornment, – I use Chops in my work sometimes –  and yet that plastic stuff kept popping up. And the judgment that went with it.  It’s been a lovely journey in revisiting a culture that really delights me in so many ways.  I find fireworks to be a special kind of bling. May you find some of the same delight.

Much love and light,


OH!  And go make something, it will feel good.


(1) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silver_standard#China



About Phoenix

I am a mom, artist and teacher!
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