Intangible Cultural Heritage Museum-Miao Silver Ornaments

Intangible Cultural Heritage Museum

Miao Silver Ornaments

by Live in Guizhou

Image Source: Eyesnews

In Miao culture, silver is more than just a decoration. It is a symbol of fortune. In the old days, migrating ancestors of the Miao would exchange their valuables for silver to then forge into ornaments. The more silver ornaments one owned, the wealthier they appeared. It was also believed that the metal could chase away evil spirits and cure disease.

Thus, the Miao have long distinguished themselves by their splendid ornamental jewelry, with Miao girls always adorning themselves in silver from head to toe for festivals, wedding and important occasions. A set silver ornaments, designed for different parts of the body, can weigh as much as 15 kilograms. Miao headdresses are the most important and complicated to make, requiring at least 150 trinkets to finish.

The Miao have passed down silver forging techniques from generation to generation. All of the ornaments are handmade, endowing each ornament a unique character and value. To make a piece of silver Miao jewelry requires more than 30 stages, including casting, hammering, soldering, knitting and washing. The Miao forging techniques for silver ornamental jewelry were listed as a national intangible cultural heritage in 2006.