Saturday, March 4, 2017

A String of Beads and Pendants from early Chinese History

Inspired by the elaborate necklaces of the Xizhou dynasty,(1046-771 BC) I have come up with my own modest strand  using  beads and pendants  from early periods of China's civilization.

Mostly Shang - Zhou beads and pendants

Patina, toolmarks and carving style on these beads and pendants (silkworms, phoenix, turtle shell, disc etc) point tentatively to Shang - Xizhou period (1600-771 BC)  and later.

The strand is made up of  a trapezoidal jade bead, 2 silkworms, a spherical carved bead, a bead of turtle shell carving, two  bamboo shape tube beads and a pair of cicadas interspersed with small carnelian disc beads.

Details of the components given below.

Picture below shows beads with three different shapes. From left spherical bead with c-shaped  motifs (1.4cm), flat turtle shell bead (1.5 x 1cm) and a trapezoidal bead with phoenix carving (2 x 1.5cm at the base)

Bead shapes are spherical, flat and trapezoidal

Next is a pair of silkworm pendants the left worm is 3 cm and right is 2.8 cm.
Pair of silkworms

A pair of  slender bamboo shaped tubes with left tube measuring 2.0cm x 0.5cm and right 2.3cm x 0.5 cm

Left tube is 2cmx0.5cm right tube is 2.3cm x0.5cm

Pair of cicadas measures approximately 1.5cm x 1.2cm and likely to be later than Xizhou period.

Pair of cicadas

The carnelian disc beads used as spacers are the hallmarks of many Xizhou necklaces.

Small discs measures approx. 1 cm across

These red discs also add a touch of color to the otherwise somber hues of my string.

Rosy carnelian beads add a touch of color


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Favourite Books

  • Theft : a love story
  • The Uncommon Reader
  • The Silent Patient
  • Never Let me go
  • Angela's Angels
  • Where angels fear to tread