Thousands of people visit this site and arrive at a specific post via a search engine without seeing the main page. Please click on the PrivateCollection logo at the top to go there. The site is maintained as a Tribute to Susan as a small part of her legacy. Nothing on the site is for sale. Questions are sometimes answered, time permitting. PrivateCollection is the Photo Blog for Susan Dods, a long time antique dealer and collector. The site features photographs and commentary on very special pieces of Chinese Jewelry. View ALL of the posts in the archive with our exclusive PictureBook format.     相片书

Preserving Chinese Heritage in Modern Designs

I have written often about the ingenuity of Chinese artisans… especially how they used materials from previous eras to create new ornaments. I am thinking of things like antique jade button bracelets or hat buttons used as pendants.  There is a new generation of Chinese designers bringing together ‘recycled’ bits and pieces that preserves heritage and creates dynamic modern art.  


[ photos curtsey of WY Zhao; edited by RP (Bob) Birt … Click to Enlarge ]

When Chinese ornament designer W. Y. Zhao sent me a portfolio of her designs, I decided to do something that I have never done before… present a modern artist’s work on PrivateCollection… because they took  my breath away and (as you know) one of my favorite expressions is: “I have never seen this before!”

So I have selected several of her designs (which contain elements I have written about before: Kingfisher Jewelry and Mandarin Hat Buttons ) … presented in their new modern form… which will also be considered ‘antiques’ a hundred years from now …


Wenyan explained in her letter that: she gathers pieces together from many different places and she has people that will contact her when they come across even broken pieces that might be discarded … putting together old and new… and what I really appreciated were her descriptions that explain which is which! Also… the beautiful attention to details like the fine wrapping and mounting for each of her necklaces are in the tradition of beautiful Chinese workmanship.



There are so many variations and unique pieces  I think the best way to see them is to visit Wenyan’s Taobao Web Shop but make sure you have your teacup filled before you do… you might be spending a lot of time there!


Did you know that Google’s Chrome Browser will automatically translate foreign language web sites?

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One Comment

  1. Wenfang Li
    Posted November 8, 2012 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    They are gorgeous. I have seen other designs through the link provided by Susan. Some of them are even more beautiful than the designs shown on this page. By chatting with someone at the Taobao shop, I found out that all antique pieces are connected through hand-braiding or hand-knotting, which again is a value-added part of Ms Zhao’s works.

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