Tuesday, March 11, 2008

What a lovely way to wear your BI

The BI is a form of jade artifact from ancient China. It is a flat jade disc with a circular hole in the centre
I bought these 2 bi shaped spinach green jade pieces more than 20 years ago from the ancient town of Dali in Yunnan Province. As Yunnan borders Myanmar these dark green jade are likely to have come from that region.

In the present day , bis are mostly used as pendants to be worn on a chain. There are also adaptations of bis as earrings see example below:

Left and center are 2 bis as pendants and on the right is a bi as earring.
It was only recently while reading a travelogue on Yunnan that I came across a picture of an old lady from the Naxi minorities group adorning her ears with a BI teamed up with silver and enamel hoops. See picture below:

This discovery made me realise that my two BIS which come from the same region, must have once served as Naxi or Bai minorities earrings. It gave me an idea to dig through my box of old silver bits and and come up with the copy cat versions as depicted below :

My antique silver and enamel hoops are a little worse for wear. They are not from the same region as the bis but are also Chinese. I estimate the age of this style of ear piece to be about 100 years or maybe earlier in the Qing period.

Inspite of the tarnished silver, What a lovely way to wear your BI !!

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