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MIAO NECKLACES

The Miao ethnic minority are a group of more than 7 million people living in tightly knit communities in the mountainous areas of Guizhou, Yunnan, Hunan and Sichuan provinces of south west China. Song, dance, embroidery and elaborate jewelry reflect their traditional customs and culture.

The Miao women’s finery of elaborate and exotic necklaces, headdresses, earrings, bracelets and rings symbolize wealth as well as their traditional ethnocentricity. Thought to ward off evil spirits as well as displaying their wealth, the women bring out their entire refinery at festivals and special occasions.

The jewelry is hand made by the men who are the silversmiths. The predominant material is alpaca, a Chinese invention. It is a silver alloy made from copper, zinc and nickel, rather hard to work with. It is also combined with silver plating.

Collars, neckbands and chest bands are typical of the pieces from the Hunan Province. Some of the necklaces have inscriptions, symbolizing longevity and wealth, while others have dragons, butterflies, fish, flowers, temples or Buddha images worked in the repousse’ technique.


Miao Necklace 2a

Miao Necklace 3a

Miao Necklace 7a

Miao Necklace 9a

Miao Necklace 12a

Miao Necklace 16a
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rhodesigns@verizon.net

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