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Antique Chinese Silver Wedding Cuff

This large and very dramatic Chinese silver cuff with turquoise and coral inlaid cabs is almost 3 3/4 inches in length …I think it is probably part of a pair… and was worn by a bride as a gift for her wedding day.

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[ click on images to enlarge …. photos by: RP (Bob) Birt ]

The front of the cuff has a wonderful scene of a woman within the walls of her home (perhaps holding a child) …and the sides of the cuff are decorated with four Immortals. At first, I was tempted to think that it might be a depiction of He-Xiangu, the patron deity of housewives, but it would appear she is not holding a ladle -an important part of her story when she became an Immortal.

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The Immortals From left to right above:
1)Li Tieguai: the earliest and first of the group to attain immortality, he carries an iron crutch and his other symbol, the gourd, is on his shoulder. He offers comfort to the sick and support to their caretakers
2) Zhongi Quan: the leader of the group, and former soldier, he is easy to recognize with his large bare belly, he has the power to revive the dead.
3) Lu Dongbin: the scholar, also has power to heal, the sword over his head can drive out disease and evil.
4) Han Xiangzi: playing his flute, easily recognizable as inspiration to musicians he is known also as a philosopher, his flute has the power to give life.

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I feel that it would be hard to pick just four of the eight Immortals and that the matching cuff had the other four (including He-Xiangu).  Perhaps the same image on the front …or not …with all of the symbols of fertility and good fortune, maybe the other image was of her holding her another baby!

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