Miao Style Guardian Dragon Bracelet
Miao Jewelry Miao Handicrafts Miao Silver Crafts Miao Minority Groups Chinese Miao Ethnical Communities
The Miao ethnic group's silver ornaments are second to none, both in terms of quantity and variety. Miao women's festive attire includes a variety of silver decorations, weighing as much as 15 kilos! The purpose of wearing all this silver is of course primarily aesthetic, but it also shows affluence and is thought to wards off evil spirits.
While usually worn by women, the Miao ethnic minority's silverware is made by men. Categorized by functions, there are hats, clothing, necklaces, bracelets, and rings. The level of craftsmanship ranges from relatively basic styles seen in some of the bracelets and neckbands to very delicate skilful work used to make silver bells, flowers, birds, butterflies, needles, bubbles, chains, and earrings.
There are three basic varieties of Miao silverware distinguished by area. The first type is represented by eastern Guizhou Province where people wear silver ornaments made with a high degree of craftsmanship. The main works are silver hats and clothes. The hats are made of dozens or even more than a hundred parts, topped by tall horn-like decorations. The second style is from the Songtao and Tongren regions, and features silverware inlaid on kerchiefs, shawls, and clothes. Delicate earrings are also made with a high degree of craftsmanship although there is now less silver decoration than before. The third type, from the regions west of Guiyang, capital of Guizhou Province, features comparatively few varieties of silverware. Only hairpins, combs, and flower decorations are made there. All three areas make earrings, neckbands, and bracelets.
There is a great demand for Miao silverware but all the craftsmen are amateurs who can often only work during the farming off season. Then in some regions unique "silver villages" or large compound silver workshops appear.
The design of the silver decorations is largely inspired by other art forms such as embroidery and wax printing. The silversmiths consistently improve and enrich the patterns while keeping the traditional designs.
The rich varieties, elegant patterns, and exquisite craftsmanship not only demonstrate the colorful world of Miao people's art, but their spiritual life as well.
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