A Pair of Silver Bracelets: Double Blessings of Longevity and Fortune

A Pair of Silver Bracelets: Double Blessings of Longevity and Fortune

Era: Early Republic of China  

Region: Fujian  

Dimensions: Diameter 7 cm  

Weight: 68 grams (each)


"Double blessings of longevity and fortune" is one of the most auspicious blessings in China. This auspicious pattern is cherished and popular among both the upper echelons of society and the general populace. The ancient name for money is "quan" (泉). As explained in the "Zhou Li · Di Guan · Quan Fu" by Jia Gongyan, "Quan and qian, different names for the same thing in ancient and modern times." Its origin lies in the oldest forms of currency which were often related to water, such as shells and pearls, all of which came from water. The "Shuo Wen · Bei Bu" records: "In ancient times, shells were used as currency and turtles were valued. In the Zhou Dynasty, there was 'quan,' and by the Qin Dynasty, shells were abolished, and coins were used." After the First Emperor of Qin unified the six states, shells were replaced by coins, which then became widely circulated. The pronunciation of "quan" (泉) is the same as "quan" (全), meaning complete. Therefore, one ancient coin symbolizes "fortune before your eyes," while two coins together signify "complete blessings." Common patterns of "double blessings of longevity and fortune" often include bats, peaches, and two square-hole coins. These three elements, combined with auspicious words and ornaments, form a beautiful pattern. In a certain sense, while not everyone may achieve complete blessings of longevity and fortune, the phrase "double blessings of longevity and fortune" brings hope and openness to families and individuals, fostering a sense of anticipation for a good life.


"Double blessings of longevity and fortune," a blessing rich in cultural significance and hopeful visions, holds a wide and profound influence in Chinese society. It is not just a simple auspicious phrase but also a profound expression of the Chinese people's pursuit of happiness and longevity. From the elite to the common folk, the love and pursuit of this auspicious pattern transcend class and era, becoming a prevalent cultural phenomenon.


To delve into the meaning of "double blessings of longevity and fortune," one must first understand the term "quan." In ancient times, money was given the elegant name "quan." The "Zhou Li · Di Guan · Quan Fu" explains the ancient and modern differences in names. This naming originated from the form and close connection of ancient currencies to nature. Early currencies, like shells and pearls, came from water, reflecting the ancients' dependence on and use of natural resources and the ancient belief in water as the source of life and wealth. Over time, the form of currency evolved, and by the Zhou Dynasty, the term "quan" emerged. When Emperor Qin Shi Huang unified the six states and abolished shell currency in favor of coins, the use of currency became more widespread, deepening the association between "quan" and money.


The homophony between "quan" (泉) and "quan" (全) added another layer of meaning to "double blessings of longevity and fortune." One ancient coin symbolizes "fortune before your eyes," indicating happiness within reach; two coins together symbolize "complete blessings," representing the perfect union of fortune and longevity. This clever use of homophones and symbols shows the Chinese people's skillful use of linguistic artistry and their relentless pursuit of auspicious meanings.


In the design of "double blessings of longevity and fortune," the combination of bats, peaches, and two square-hole coins is common. Bats symbolize fortune due to the homophony between "fu" (蝠) and "fu" (福), indicating the arrival of fortune; peaches represent longevity, symbolizing the wish for health and long life. These two elements combined with the ancient coins representing completeness create a visually appealing and deeply auspicious pattern. This pattern not only decorates living spaces but also embodies people's wishes for family harmony, prosperity, and a fulfilling life.


"Double blessings of longevity and fortune" is not just a material pursuit but also a spiritual aspiration. It reflects a deep understanding of the value of life, where the perfect union of happiness and longevity is seen as the highest ideal. These four words, like a warm force, transcend the river of time, inspiring each generation to strive for a better life. Although not everyone can achieve the ideal state of double blessings of longevity and fortune in reality, this hopeful vision acts as a beacon, illuminating people's hearts, giving them the strength to move forward, and fostering family unity. In pursuing this ideal, individuals find peace and enlightenment.


In conclusion, "double blessings of longevity and fortune" is not only a captivating auspicious symbol in Chinese traditional culture but also a profound interpretation and persistent pursuit of a happy life by the Chinese people. Its unique cultural connotations and extensive social influence connect every Chinese person's heart across time and space, making it a brilliant gem in the treasure trove of Chinese culture.

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