Silver Miao tribal decorative necklace
XL Miao Ethnic Minority silver necklace. 5 broad hollow circles, on metal base. With depiction of various animals and flowers. Is used in festivals and processions by young women.
Miao Silver is not pure, but an alloy of silver, copper and nickel.
Price includes metal base. Total height incl base is 70cm.
The Miao people have been deeply enamoured with silver since ancient times. Silver takes special importance in Miao culture. It has been a critical signal to distinguish the Miao women from other minorities. As a result, silver ornamentation for Miao women has become a cultural symbol.
For females from the Miao ethnic group, wearing heavy and elaborate silver headdresses and jewellery is common during weddings, funerals and the annual Sister’s Meal Festival, a springtime celebration when couples publicly profess their love. Many families believe their daughters cannot get married if they don’t own enough silver jewellery, usually up to 15 kilograms, and start saving up to 10 years before the ceremony. They say you can tell a family’s wealth from the silver their daughter is wearing. Silver is therefore associated with female beauty.
Traditions related with silver
First of all, the Miao worship the Moon. Based on Miao folk songs, their ancestors are from the Moon and God made the Moon out of silver. Miao people believe that when they die, their souls will climb the 12 silver stairs to the Moon where their souls will reunite with ancestors.
Secondly, silver means wealth. Miao ancestors were forced to migrate from place to place to avoid persecution and wars after being defeated. It remains a tradition that the Miao transform their wealth into silver jewelry, which is easy to transfer and that Miao families compete to make bigger and heavier jewels for their daughters. They believe each girl should have silver jewelry and flowers. Silver crowns are passed down from generation to generation as part of family wealth.
Thirdly, the Miao firmly believe that silver keeps evil spirits away and attracts good fortune, so they wear silver jewelry and use silver bowls, chopsticks, spoons, cups, teapots and other silver items in their life.
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