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Chinese Carved Amber Bracelet

The fabulous carved amber beast at the center of this bracelet is clearly a power symbol. In China, for many many years, amber has been treasured as a symbol of courage and strength. Amber ornaments have been found in excavations of Imperial tombs.


"When a tiger dies, its soul penetrates the earth and becomes a stone…this object resembles amber and is called Hu Po (tiger’s soul)"  Li Shizhan, 16th centruy.

"The tiger is the king of the wild animals…symbol of courage and bravery…" Eberhard

00The west thinks of amber as something found in Baltic regions…near the sea…but large deposits of amber have been mined in Burma (Union of Myanmar) for thousands of years… amber from Burma is sometimes called ‘Burmite’. Burmite was found underground near coal mines and jadeite mines.

A Jesuit priest form Portugal who traveled to China in the early 17th century wrote: "They make beads…like amber…redder than our own amber, but not so clear".

1 I would like to acknowledge the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria (Victoria, British Columbia) for much of this research… if you want to know more, the information is on their website. They have the second largest collection of Chinese amber in North America. You might like to obtain “Soul of the Tiger: Chinese Amber Carvings from the Reif Collection” from them online.

I can’t wait to see their collection in person!!

Visit PrivateCollection’s PictureBook to see additional photos… many in larger formats.

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