Silver Bangles with Longevity Character Motif (Pair)

Silver Bangles with Longevity Character Motif (Pair)

- Period: Qing Dynasty

- Region: Shanxi

- Dimensions: Diameter 6.5 cm

- Weight: 74 grams (each)


These bangles feature the "longevity" character motif at the clasp, while the bracelet body lacks this motif. The character "寿" (shòu) is a beloved symbol of auspiciousness, signifying longevity. It is a character that brings joy to those who see it, embodying meaningful wishes. In the hearts of the Chinese people, "寿" is a lucky symbol equivalent to "福" (, meaning fortune or blessing). While both "寿" and "福" are closely related, they differ in specific meanings. On one hand, "寿" is considered a form of blessing; on the other hand, "寿" does not equate to the specific connotations of "福". Phrases such as "福寿双全" (fú shòu shuāng quán, meaning both fortune and longevity) and "寿比南山" (shòu bǐ nán shān, meaning longevity as enduring as the southern mountains) reflect that "寿" can be compared with "福" as a symbol of auspiciousness. The folk concept that "among the five blessings, longevity is the most important" is fully expressed in many traditional festivals, demonstrating the deep desire for longevity. Examples include phrases like "寿比南山" and "福如东海" (fú rú dōng hǎi, meaning fortune as vast as the Eastern Sea), "贵寿无极" (guì shòu wú jí, meaning noble longevity without limit), "麻姑献寿" (má gū xiàn shòu, meaning Magu offering longevity), and "群芳祝寿" (qún fāng zhù shòu, meaning all flowers wish for longevity). These ancient auspicious designs convey people's longing for longevity and reflect the Chinese emphasis on human life, cherishing life and valuing the present, unlike Christians or Buddhists who focus on the afterlife. It is based on this realistic view that the Chinese shift part of their pursuit of "fortune" to the pursuit of longevity, expressing their wishes for longevity in various aspects of traditional auspicious culture, particularly in gold and silver jewelry.


In Chinese traditional culture, bracelets not only serve as ornaments but also carry profound cultural meanings. Especially when the clasp is decorated with the "寿" character motif, the bracelet becomes a piece rich in auspicious significance. Even though the body of the bracelet does not feature the "寿shou" character, the clever use of this character at the clasp is enough to bring joy to the wearer. In the Chinese mind, "寿" is an auspicious symbol on par with "福," representing people's longing and pursuit of a beautiful life.


While "寿" and "福" are closely linked, each has its unique connotation. "寿" is seen as a rare blessing related to the length and quality of life, reflecting a desire for long-lasting health and well-being. In contrast, "寿" does not completely equate to the specific meaning of "福," as it focuses more on the continuity of life and the accumulation of years, signifying a deep acknowledgment of life's value.


In many auspicious phrases and designs, "寿" is often mentioned alongside "福," forming meaningful topics such as "福寿双全" (both fortune and longevity), "五福捧寿" (five blessings bearing longevity), and "寿居耄耋" (longevity dwelling in old age). These words and designs not only express a longing for longevity but also reflect the unique life view and values of the Chinese people. Unlike some religious cultures that emphasize the afterlife, the Chinese cherish the present life, focusing on every moment of living.


This deep desire for longevity is fully expressed in traditional festivals. Whether it is the grand blessing of "寿比南山" (longevity as enduring as the southern mountains) or the vast imagination of "福如东海" (fortune as vast as the Eastern Sea), or the poetic "贵寿无极" (noble longevity without limit), "麻姑献寿" (Magu offering longevity), and "群芳祝寿" (all flowers wish for longevity), these auspicious phrases show people's infinite longing for longevity and deep respect for life.


Notably, this wish for longevity is especially evident in traditional gold and silver jewelry. As precious metals, gold and silver symbolize wealth and nobility, and when combined with the "寿" character motif, they encapsulate people's wishes for longevity and the pursuit of a beautiful life in a tangible form, becoming auspicious objects that can be worn.


In summary, "寿" as an important element in Chinese traditional culture not only represents a deep desire for longevity but also reflects the unique life view and values of the Chinese people. While pursuing "fortune," the Chinese also focus on the pursuit of longevity, a realistic view that makes the theme of longevity particularly prominent and meaningful in traditional auspicious culture. Gold and silver jewelry, as carriers of this culture, vividly express these wishes for longevity and reverence for life, shining brightly to this day.

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