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Chinese Mandarin Court Necklace Fodouda

In my 07-08-15 Chinese full Court Necklace post, I commented: "The Mandarin Court Necklace is the goal of the serious collector." There must have been some very serious collectors, because recently a Chinese Emperor’s Court Necklace sold for over 8 million dollars (US) at a Sotheby’s auction in Hong Kong ….

This sale has created a lot of interest in Mandarin Court necklaces… the fact that the necklace was composed of rare Chinese freshwater Eastern pearls, coral and gold… certainly had a role in the price.

There would have been tens and tens of thousands of these necklaces created. The necklaces appeared in court (1644-1911) but relatively few of them have remained intact… perhaps because of they were strung on silk cords that deteriorated over time… or with the fall of the Imperial family, they were seen as symbols that were dismantled and the materials used for other purposes.

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We see the beads from these necklaces used in Chinese and Western jewelry…  many times because of the style or carving, we can make a  ‘judgment’ they are from Court Necklaces…

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But of all the elements in a Court Necklace, it is the gourd shaped ‘Fodouda’ (foutouta) or ‘Buddha Head’ that is really the most unique… Because it was worn on the back, connecting the counter weight and drop to the necklace, it is not seen in the old paintings or photos… where the main beads and prayer strings are always prominent…

One only can imagine the stories and history that these necklaces could tell…. they were worn at the Imperial Court not only by the Emperor and family… but all the ranking officials as well… and of course the Fodouda would have seen and heard what was being going on ‘behind everyone’s back’… !

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3 Comments

  1. Posted August 4, 2010 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    Really lovely necklace, I have a great fond for the old Chinese jewellery. I’m always looking for things like this but they are so hard to find nowadays.

  2. manon kavesky
    Posted January 19, 2011 at 10:57 pm | Permalink

    wonderful blog
    wonderful photos
    are you writing a book on the subject?
    very respectfully

  3. Susan
    Posted January 20, 2011 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    Thank you Manon for the kind compliments! We have been approached several times to do a book but seem to never find the time. What would you want to see in a book if one were to be written… I am always courious 🙂

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