Silver Miao necklace, SW China
Antique Chinese silver necklace, which is, in fact, a grooming kit. It was probably used by the Miao tribes living in Yunnan in South China. From the Qing Dynasty period.
The central piece depicts two dragons chasing the pearl of potentiality -denoting thunder and fertility- inside a bat shape pendant – brings happiness and good fortune. From this pendant hang seven sets of tools (ear pick and sword). Even numbers were considered inauspicious and female in the Qing dynasty, so its difficult to see a grooming kit with 2, 4 or 6 tools.
Together with the grooming tools hang some fish pendants symbolizing the abundance of joy.
This type of pendants could be worn either by men or women, but when there’s a sword hanging from the kit, it means that this was used by men. In Daoism, a sword represents victory over evil and offers symbolic protection. In Buddhism, however, it holds a deeper meaning: a symbol of wisdom, a tiny sword on a grooming kit cut away all doubts on the path of knowledge.
The pendant measure 9 cm wide (3,54 in) and 16 cm high with the chains and tools (6,3 in). It hangs from a chain of 68 cm long (26,77 in)
It weighs 85 gr.
Bibliography: “Four centuries of silver” Duda, Margaret