Miao Minority Silver Ornaments


Miao women usually use the fanciest silver ornaments, decorating themselves, head to toe with headwear and a large variety of silver ornaments for the face, neck, shoulder, waist, arm, feet and hand. The silver crown and bonnet are the highlights of the whole set.

The forging technology of these silver ornaments of Miao ethnic group has been handed down in the long history,and has undergone evolution from primordial ornament to stone and shell, from plants and flowers to gold and silver. Although incorporating innovation continuously, the basic concept has remained intact. Patterns of silver ornaments today are a result of years of passing down and inheritance. The ornament chain formed on such basis has already become one of the symbols of Miao’s social progress.

The silver ornaments symbolize wealth. On various occasions such as festivals and marriages, Miao people are immersed in a sea of silver ornaments.

While usually worn by women, the Miao ethnic minority’s silverware is hand-made by men in family workshops. Exquisite craftsmanship is required to complete the thirty steps in making the silver jewelry, ranging from sketching and carving to production. The most widely used technologies consist of steps such as casting, beating, welding, knitting, and washing.

The design of these silver decorations is largely inspired by other art forms such as embroidery and wax printing. Based on the traditional customs and aesthetic interests of Miao people, the silversmiths consistently improve and enrich the patterns in detail while maintaining the traditional designs.
The rich varieties, elegant patterns, and delicate craftsmanship are concrete demonstration of Miao people’s high taste in art and their colorful culture. Miao people’s silver ornaments are always presented as gifts to friends, and are considered as precious as the kha-btags of Zang people and the jewelry of Han people.


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