Chinese bracelet in silver filigree and carnelian

Beautiful articulated bracelet in seven silver filigree elements, finished with seven cabochon-cut carnelians alternating with the Chinese symbol of longevity.

Traditional Chinese culture considers three important goals in life: happiness (fú 福), success – or prosperity – (lù 祿) and longevity (shòu 寿), traditionally represented as the San Xing, literally the Three Stars (三星). Also known by the collective name of Fu Lu Shou (福禄寿), they are identified with the three stars that make up the Orion Belt.
To better adapt to decorative needs, like many other ideograms, even the character of longevity shòu 寿 (壽 here in its traditional form) has been drawn in different variations or visual forms over the centuries, perfectly combining the calligraphic art and the traditional aesthetic, eventually developing into the perfectly symmetrical auspicious symbol we know today.

It is possible to find it depicted in its variants on fabrics, architectural and furnishing elements, ceramics and jewels. It is usually represented alone or surrounded by flowers, bats (bringer of good luck and happiness in China) and other symbols of prosperity.

Carnelian also has great relevance in Chinese culture: its name, 玛瑙 mănăo (which is also the generic name for agate), literally means “horse brain” and derives from the wisdom of the Mongols, who had associated the graduated streaks of stone to the folds of an equine brain.
Even the reckless (and feared) general Cao Cao, hero of the ancient “Chronicles of the Three Kingdoms” (we are in the third century AD), receiving the gift of wine poured into a container carved in agate, wrote a poem about it, associating the wonderful mineral once again to a “horse brain”.

A compendium of natural sciences published during the Ming Dynasty then defined that agate/carnelian could not be classified as either stone or jade, but should belong to a category of its own. In the treatise it was narrated how small agates/carnelians were usually used as a person’s adornment in the form of pearls, bracelets, belt buckles or thumb rings. The largest were instead carved and sculpted into containers or decorative elements, making the most of the natural streaks of the mineral.

Even today, the carnelian, with its intense red color, often associated in history with blood, is a symbol of life and longevity.

The bracelet, complete with its safety chain, bears the hallmark “SILVER” on the locking tongue of the clasp.
China, 1920s-1930s (created for export abroad, especially to England, or for trade within foreign concessions in China).

Bracelet circumference when closed: 17 cm
Maximum width: 3,8 cm
Weight: 81,5 g

Price: SOLD

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