Mysterious Tibetan Jewelry

To some extent, Tibetan jewelries convey a traditional cultural tint of Tibet. That is why the Tibetan jewelries look more mysterious and exotic, and why there are so many people like Tibetan jewelry very much.

 

Religious Symbol

 

Tibet is a Buddhist nation, which is reflected strongly in its jewelry. Some Tibetan style pendants, which in Buddhism are ritual instruments for subduing demons, believed to dispel all sins and bring people power, courage, and intelligence. Many pieces have Sanskrit inscriptions of a religious symbolic nature.

These are the most common symbolic forms that you will definitely see in Tibetan jewelry:

Tibetan Jewelry

Om . The om symbol is the sound of the universe. It has great significance to Buddhists and Hindus.

Tibetan Jewelry

Tibetan Jewelry

Mantras . The most common mantra is “Om Mani Padme Hum,” which means “The Jewel Lotus Flower within the Heart.” When chanted, this ancient harmony connects us to the tune of the universe.

Tibetan Jewelry

Auspicious Symbols . There are eight auspicious symbols in Tibetan thought. These symbols serve a pedagogical function, teaching Buddhist principles to the people in a form that is easily remembered.

Tibetan Jewelry

The auspicious symbols are as follows:

Conch shell: the sound of the sacred path (Dharma)

Dual fish: spiritual abundance

Interwoven knot: representing the eternity of Lord Buddha’s teachings

Lotus flower: transformation of life into pure spirit

Treasure bowl: symbolizes spiritual jewels

Umbrella: protection from the corruption of personal desire

Victory Emblem: a banner representing spiritual attainment

Wheel of Dharma: the stillness of the soul capable of watching the world while remaining unaffected by it

 

Amulet

 

Tibetan jewelry is seen as a means to keep the wearers close to deities and also believed to have the ability to eliminate disease, fear of death, prolong life and increase wealth.

Tibetan Jewelry

Tibet is famous for its ancient beads, called Dzi beads. Dzi beads have amulet properties, as they are believed to be capable of driving away evil spirits, protecting against natural catastrophes, increase one’s energy, bring good reputation to oneself, and promote decency. Dzi beads have been dated back to 1000 B.C. and were once referred to as God Beads. The beads exist in different shapes and motifs, each serving a different spiritual function.

Tibetan Jewelry

Tibetans often wear a prayer box, known as Ghau (or Gau or Gao). These prayer boxes are amulets (protectors), and are usually made of silver. They are highly ornate in pattern and design, and usually are embedded with gemstones. The Ghau is worn as a necklace, with the box hanging at heart-length. Inside the box is placed a scroll prepared by a Buddhist priest. The scroll contains a mantra, prayer, image of Buddha, or sacred symbol. In place of a scroll, a Tibetan might place a gemstone with protective powers or medicinal herbs in the box.

Tibetan Jewelry

In Tibetans’ views, yak is a kind of beautiful and sacred animal. Among Tibetan people there has been a Legend of yak circulating: “after the death of each yak, it will turn into a guardian to protect those who still respect them. And the way to respect dead yak is putting its fur or bone at home or carrying them along.” Therefore, Tibetan people carve scripture on yak skulls as a sacrifice for religion. At the same time, Yak Bone ornament could be seen worn by a lot of people in Tibet, in such way they commemorate and respect yaks which contribute their whole lives to Tibetans. Yak bone ornament is a unique decoration, original and natural, tough and unconstrained, which adds a wild charm to the wearer. And yak bone jewelry can also used as amulet to avoid evils.

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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Intricately Handmade Miao Hmong Silver Jewelry Impossible to Duplicate

While worn by women, the Miao’s silver jewelries are made by men. The unique techniques to craft silver jewelry have been handed down from generations. Don’t look down upon a small piece of silver jewelry, because it involves dozens of procedures which requires extremely patience, persistence and carefulness.

 

Melting

 

Miao silver Melting silver is the first step. Traditionally a big stove made of charcoal is used to melt silver. Today, silversmiths have invented a small, light electric tool that can heat silver to temperatures over 1,000 degrees Celsius. They melt silver in a bowl called the “silver nest”.

 

Hammering

 

Miao silver Then the seething hot silver liquid is poured into an iron slot to harden into a solid silver bar. They take the bar out of the slot with forceps and hammer it into the needed shape. Some silver jewelries are carefully crafted with paper-thin slices, while others need solid, heavy pieces of silver.

 

Pulling

 

Miao silver How do they work with such thin slices and hair-like silver threads to craft silver jewerly? Only using a pair of scissors and forceps, the Miao Hmong artisans can twist these delicate, fine silver slices and threads into elaborate patterns featuring lifelike birds, flowers, and other symbols. Some craftsmen always wear a magnifying glass just to see the fine pieces on their silver jewelries.

To make silver threads, Miao Hmong artisans use a steel sheet with 60 different round holes. The size of each hole is different. The steel board is put onto a short, round wooden post. The silversmith steps onto the board and uses a pair of pliers to pull silver through the holes. Just like that, an ideal silver thread is created.

To work with such fine silver slices or threads is very hurtful to one’s eyes. That’s why lots of Miao silversmiths have to retire before they are 50.

Silver jewelries crafted with such silver slices or threads look more charming and unique.

 

Engraving

 

Miao silver Some Miao silver jewelries have beautiful patterns engraved on their surface. Before engraving, the jewelry needs to be fixed onto a rosin board. They’ll heat the black rosin board to make the surface softer, and the silver can be easily fixed on it. The rosin then cools down, and the silver stick to the surface.

The silversmith will use a pencil to draw designs on the silver, and then he will engrave the designs using sharp steel sticks, which are about 10 centimeters long with round, flat, or pointed tops. A light hammer, made of the horn of a water buffalo, is used to strike the sticks and make the design. Engraving is quite time consuming.

Each intricate design should be engraved carefully. A slight error may ruin the whole piece of work. A skillful Miao Hmong silversmith needs many years of training and practice. Their elaborate silver jewelries are impossible to be copied by any machine.

Miao Hmong silver jewelries often combine different pieces, so the almost perfect soldering of tiny pieces is strictly demanded. Inspecting a Miao Hmong silver jewelry, you’ll never find any small, ugly bubbles of solder. The finished work looks so neat and clean.

 

Washing

 

Washing is the last step. Immersing the handmade jewelry into phosphoric acid for a few minutes removes stains from surface and makes the silver brighter and whiter.

Intricately designed Miao Hmong silver jewelries not only show Miao Hmong craftsmanship, but also reflect Miao Hmong culture. They are so unique that it’s impossible for anyone to duplicate.

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.