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.

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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.

Miao Hmong Silver Jewelry Showcase

A saying of the Miao goes like this “The beauty of golden pheasant lies in its feather, and the beauty of Miao Hmong girl lies in her silver jewelries.” The sparkling and clanking silver jewelries are stunning and are highlights to the landscape of the Miao Hmong village.

Miao women love to dress in unique silver jewelries from head to toe. Here are just a few kinds.

 

Silver Headdress

 

Miao Hmong silver headdresses are quite a sight and are worn only on very special occasions, like weddings or significant festivals. They include five different parts: the horn, the crown, the comb, the flowers and the hairpin.

 

Silver Horn

 

Miao Hmong silver horns are crafted to mimic the horns of an ox. The two horns can be as much as three feet apart! And they’re quite tall, almost doubling the height of the wearer.

An image of two dragons playing with a pearl is often engraved, symbolizing wishes for an auspicious future. But each silver horn is unique. Some women adorn the horns with different kinds of silver pendants like phoenixes, birds, and butterflies. A pair of white feathers is usually put on the horns to make them even taller and more attractive. Miao silver jewelry

 

Silver Crown

 

A silver crown is the base of the headdress and can be a foot tall and quite heavy. There are three kinds of silver crown.

The first kind is a hat completely covered with silver flowers, birds, animals, bells, and tassels. There are twelve pieces of silver feathers hanging behind the hat and reaching to their waist. This type is popular in the Huangping area of Guizhou province. Miao silver jewelry

The second kind is usually seen in Leishan, Guizhou province, which has no top and a piece of 10-centimeter wide silver with three parts. The first part on the top features 29 silver flowers. The second part in the body has warriors riding horses. The silver fringes make up the last part. Miao silver jewelry

Another type is worn by Miao Hmong women in Shidong area of Guizhou. Miao silver jewelry

 

Silver Comb

 

Miao Hmong women wear silver combs on their heads as ornaments. Patterns of flowers, birds, dragons, or deer are carved on the silver ornaments. Some combs feature the image of a Bodhisattva, with several layers of silver chains dropping down. Miao silver jewelry

 

Silver Hairpin

 

The design of Miao Hmong silver hairpins varies, but they usually feature birds, butterflies, and flowers. The most striking designs feature 10 silver flowers which look like a Chinese fan. Some hairpins look like chopsticks decorated with silver bells or long tassels.

Miao silver jewelry

 

Silver Earring

 

Tiny Miao Hmong earrings are often shaped like flowers, birds, butterflies, dragons, or plants. Miao Hmong women usually wear 3 or 4 pieces of silver earrings at one time. In some areas a single silver earring can weigh 200 grams, and reach all the way down to their shoulders. But many small earrings have threads which are as thin as a piece of paper.

Miao silver jewelry

 

Silver Necklace

 

A Miao Hmong silver necklace is wide and heavy, and has many pendants hanging from it. Smaller silver necklaces are rarely worn.

There are many kinds of necklace popular in the Miao Hmong areas. One kind of dragon silver necklace is quite impressive. It features two dragons playing with a pearl and has 11 silver tassels dangling from the bottom. Another kind of necklace has 14 silver rings linked tightly together, while silver birds or butterflies hang down from each ring. Miao silver jewelry Miao silver jewelry

 

Silver Bracelet

 

The Miao Hmong silver bracelets are engraved with the images of flowers, fish, or dragons. Some bracelets feature wide band which is like the cuffs worn by warriors in ancient times. Miao Hmong women usually show off 4 or 5 silver bracelets at one time, sometimes more during festivals or holidays. Miao silver jewelry

 

Silver Ring

 

A Miao Hmong silver ring is usually quite small and has fine pieces of silver bent and shaped into flowers, birds, or plants. In some Miao Hmong areas, women have rings on all eight fingers except their thumbs. Some rings are big enough to cover half the length of their fingers!

Miao silver jewelry Miao silver jewelry

 

Silver Costume

 

A silver costume in Leishan area normally has 44 silver pieces sewn onto the fabric. Each silver piece has vivid patterns like flowers, butterflies, tigers, lions, and dragons engraved on them. Whereas in Shidong area, silver costume have as many as 380 silver pieces sewn onto the costume. When they walk and dance, the silver ornaments make beautiful sounds.

Miao silver jewelry Miao silver jewelry

 

Silver Waistband

 

A silver waistband displays tens or even hundreds of silver images of Bodhisattvas sewn on a piece of cloth. The Miao Hmong wrap it tightly around their waist, and they sparkle when the Miao Hmong dance.

One famous waistband displayed in a Miao Hmong museum features 105 unique silver Bodhisattvas images, each of which has different facial expression and gesture, reflecting the incredible imagination and creativity of the Miao Hmong artisan. Miao silver jewelry

 

Silver Anklet

 

Last but not least are small but sturdy silver anklets that clasp above the foot. Silver anklets are usually worn by children to drive away evil spirits and bring them a bright future.

Miao silver jewelry

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.