Dian Cui, Traditional Chinese Jewelry Making Crafts

Dian Cui (literally translated from Chinese mandarin) is a traditional Chinese crafts for making gold and silver jewelry. It plays the role of embellishment and beatification for jewelry. Cui, is the feather of Kingfisher namely. The technique is the perfect combination of traditional metal workmanship and feather crafts, which is produced as the following procedures: firstly make base of different patterns with gold or gilded metal, then inlay the bright blue feather-like materials carefully in the base to be made into all kinds of jewelry items.

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Colors of the feather-like material would vary with the location and crafts, due to the natural texture and dreamy color of the material, the finished works will be vivid and lively. Though without the gorgeous beauty of gem products, accessories made with Dian Cui have its own plain beauty, which would embody the spirits of paying attention to details and emphasizing on fine and implicit beauty of oriental area.

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Materials of the crafts

Kingfisher is also called “emerald” as well. The bird which is of blue body and ventral brown would perch and wait next to the water for long time with straight posture. Whenever seeing a fish or shrimp pass by, it would dash into water to capture the creature with mouth rapidly and fiercely. Sometime it would fly above the water about five to seven meters high with bowing head to look at the water, which looks like it is hanging on the half-air. The bird would have it nest built in the sand of field and embankment, which is created like a tunnel and about 60 centimeters deep. The kingfisher gained its name “Cui Niao” in China due to its dazzling and glittering characteristics of the feather. Due to the protection of the bird recent years, the feather of the bird is avoided, and some other alternation which is like this kind of feathers is applied.

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Producing crafts

Jewelry made with Dian Cui is of excellent gloss and bright color; what’s more, the color will never fade. However, the crafts are not that easy to be accomplished. Firstly, a base made with gold and silver metals which are arranged in the shape of flower would be needed, with a groove welded with gold wire along the edge of flower shape follows, then paint right amount of glue in the middle section and skillfully paste the feather-like objects onto the base to form auspicious and exquisite patterns. More elements such as gate, red coral, jade and pearls would be added, which would add more charm of elegance and nobility to the wearer. The crafts was alternated with special ribbon or papers in Qing dynasty, while substitutes would be used in contemporary society.

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Historical development

The Chinese ancient costume of the emperor took the feather of kingfisher as decoration. After long time of development, the skill can still bring us much shock. Therefore, the crafts “Dian Cui” prevails a long time in the gold and silver jewelry manufacturing industry and its techniques has been improved continuously, which reached the highest point in the era of Qian Long, one greatest emperor of Qing dynasty. Due to the national animal protection reasons, feathers of the kingfisher are banned to be used, substitutes of the feathers of current Dian Cui jewelry are applied. However, like many age-old techniques, people who can manipulate the crafts becomes less, it risks being lost forever.

by Xiao Xiao @ InteractChina.com

P.S. We need people with similar passion to join or partner with us in promoting ethnic handicrafts! Please contact us at interact@interactchina.com to make any suggestions that you may have in co-operating with us, or join as Affiliate.

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Tibetan Jewelry

For Tibetans, jewelry plays an important, traditional role in dress, spirituality, and life. Under the stylish design, Tibetan jewelry implies the archaized style and a unique charm and appeal of art, and they can not be replaced by any other ethnic style jewelry.

Tibetan Jewelry

 

Style

 

Handmade Tibetan Jewelry reflects rich Tibetan ethnic cultural connotation and bold styling. In contrast with India, where a piece of jewelry is valued for the preciousness of the metals and gems that go into making it, Tibetans value their jewelry based on its color, size and symbolism.

Tibetan Jewelry Tibetan Jewelry

Tibetan jewelry has a rustic, almost unfinished look to it. In contrast with the perfectly symmetrical and flawless appearance of, say Italian silver jewelry, Tibetan silver pieces are individually made in a process that usually involves hammering and chiseling. No one will ever confuse Tibetan jewelry as machine mass produced because of its simple beauty! Tibetan jewelry, including silver and gold jewelry, also tends to be much larger in size than the jewelry made in most other countries and regions.

 

Material

 

Tibetan Jewelry

As for materials, Tibetan jewelry is usually made of copper or silver, although gold jewelry is also produced. Tibetan jewelry also makes extensive use of gemstones. Turquoise and coral are their favorites, but rubies, sapphires, agates, coral, amber, copal, carnelian, garnet, lapis lazuli, amethyst, and jade are also used. Yak bone is also a popular material for jewelry-making.

 

Silver and Gold Work Traditions in Tibet

 

Documents in China from the 7th Century were written in praise of Tibetan silversmiths and goldsmiths, which were believed to be one of the wonders of the medieval world. It is not clear where these skills came from or whether they originated from within the Tibetan region. It is known that Tibet has long been subjected to influences from foreigners. It was a stop on the famed Silk Routes that ran from the Mediterranean to China. Trading is known to have taken place between Tibet and such nations as Turkey, Iran, India, China, and all regions of Central Asia. It is possible that silver and gold workers in Tibet had associations with metal workers from other regions.

 

Silver Jewelry

 

Tibetan Jewelry

The Tibetans have been skilled silversmiths for many hundreds of years. Silver containers have been found in temples that date back to 600 AD. Ancient metal work exhibiting advanced skills have been also uncovered, usually in the form of Buddhist sculptures.

 

Gold Jewelry

 

Tibetan Jewelry

Gold was thought to have restorative qualities in addition to increasing longevity and dispelling demons. In Tibet, gold jewelry has always been rare, a luxury limited to the rich and the powerful.

Gold jewelry reflects not only the personal wealth of the owners, but also social and political status. It also reflects the traditions of Buddhism and Hinduism. Gems and jewelry often serve as a metaphor for the ideals of faith, and Himalayan deities were richly adorned with abundant gold jewelry- crowns, earrings, necklaces, armlets, anklets, finger and toe rings.

by Xiao Xiao @ InteractChina.com

P.S. We need people with similar passion to join or partner with us in promoting ethnic handicrafts! Please contact us at interact@interactchina.com to make any suggestions that you may have in co-operating with us, or join as Affiliate.