Chinese bracelet in silver filigree and ivory

It was back in 2009, when I first learnt about the beauty of Chinese filigree.
I was in Beijing for work and between one appointment and another I discovered by chance, in a decentralized area of ​​the city, a small building occupied only by antique dealers and artisans, a very small Beijing-style marché aux puces
Most of the shops were closed but I still spent hours peeking through their dark and dusty shop windows.
Only one lady had kept the door of her studio open at the end of a hallway. I was about to ask her permission to visit her small store, when I noticed a case beside her: inside there were all kinds of precious gems and jewels. But it was filigree bracelets that enchanted me, I had never seen something like that before. 
These were articulated bracelets, some with cabochon gems, others with jade or finely carved ivory and bone plaques. They had not been polished for a while, but the quality of the silver filigree was so extraordinary that it did not fear the patina of time.

The antiques dealer told me that they were jewels made in the first half of the 1900s for export abroad, especially to England, or for trade within foreign concessions in China.

I promised myself that I would have looked for them in the future and that I wouldn’t have missed them whenever I was to find them on my path.
Those who have been following us for a while, may have glimpsed bracelets like those described above in our shop windows – real and online – over the years. Here are some of them (no longer available):

But we had never yet found a particular one like the one we want to show you below:

It is a beautiful articulated bracelet with six elements in silver filigree and ivory plaques carved and engraved to represent the mythical figure of He Xiangu 何仙姑, the only woman of the Eight Immortals in the pantheon of Taoism.
It is told she was born in Guangdong, in southern China, during the Tang era (618-907). Endowed with beauty, she was just an adolescent when she received in a dream the visit of a divine spirit who suggested her to feed on mother-of-pearl powder in order to preserve her body forever and become immortal.
She was one day summoned by Empress Wu Zetian to her palace in Beijing, but on the way she disappeared, giving rise to many stories and legends.
He Xiangu represents wisdom and pureness, she is a symbol of life and prosperity and is also the guardian of women and of household. For this reason her image was often depicted on jewels or other objects intended for women as an auspicious gift.
Portrait of the Immortal He Xiangu
In Chinese iconography she is portrayed as a graceful young woman carrying a long curved lotus stem ending in a flower or seed capsule. It is said that her magic lotus was able to heal any physical and mental illness.
Her figure was also often combined with musical instruments or mythological animals.
Each of the four ivory plaques of our bracelet depicts He Xiangu in a thick vegetation, but no one is identical to the other: if you look at them from left to right you will notice that the lotus flower enclosed in the left hand gradually unfolds from plaque to plaque until it blossoms in all its beauty in the last segment.
The splendor of the ivory carvings of our bracelet (most likely an artisan work of the Guangdong region, where this art has been handed down for centuries) should not distract us from the beauty and elegance of the silver filigree enclosing them.
Delicate motifs of corollas, petals and leaves drawn with sinuous silver threads, frame the portraits of the goddess emphasizing her natural grace.
The bracelet, complete with its safety chain, has the hallmark “SILVER” on the locking tongue of the clasp.
China, 1920s-1930s
Bracelet circumference when closed: 19,5 cm
Maximum width: 3,5 cm
Weight: 92 g
Price: SOLD
*This objects  may be subject to Import/Export restrictions due to CITES regulations in some extra UE countries.
Riproduci video


Items are sold as presented: we kindly invite our customers to carefully examine all the descriptions, images and videos relating to each object.
In addition to the information contained therein, Antichità al Ghetto shall provide, upon request, further pictures and details.

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