Fun Facts about Chinese Culture and History

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Tradition of China -- Pendant Accessory

Jade Pendant -- Yu Pei in Chinese Culture

Jade is not only used for decoration in ancient Chinese culture, it also the representative of honorable morals and etiquettes, such as gentleness, benevolence, righteousness, courtesy, wisdom, integrity and loyalty, etc.

 

Around 3,000 years ago, jade pendant accessory was widely worn by noble classes, when a gentleman should always wear jade, except that something severe or sad happened. At that time, jade was more of a presentation of status and noble morals, for both men and women. 

 

Gradually, jade pendants disseminated to civilians, but still had strict formations for different classes; dragon and phoenix shaped jade were strictly used only in royal families. 

 

Nowadays, jade decorations are still quite popular in China. However, jade made bracelet, ring and necklace are much more prevalent than pendants. 

 

Jade is believed could bring people good luck, and protect its owner from bad things. It is said that jade will be inspirited and would protect the owner, if it has been worn by human for years.

 

If a  jade accessary, which has been worn by its owner for years, suddenly has a crack or broken, this means it had resisted a horrible encounter for its owner already.

Longevity Lock -- Chang Ming Suo

Chang Ming Suo appeared around 2,000 years ago, when people wore them on neck to protect themselves from bad luck. About 1,000 years later, it evolved into a lock shaped necklace only for kids. 

 

Since then, Chang Ming Suo was used to protect newborns’ lives and to make sure they grow up safe and sound.

 

Chang Ming Suo could be made of silver, gold, jade or fabrics, with lucky words and pictures carved on it.

 

Until today, Chang Ming Suo is still a popular gift in China for a newborn, which is usually given by older relatives.

 

When the baby safely grows up to 12 years old, the longevity lock is considered finished its "mission" and would be put away then. 

Jin Bu in Tradition of China

Jin Bu is a type of pendant accessory that was used by women since about 2,200 years ago; it was first worn only by the noble class in the history of China.

 

In the beginning, Jin Bu was a string of jade or gold accessories, connected with colorful strings and worn on women’s waist, to hold down their hemlines. 

 

When someone wearing it was walking, the sound of the Jin Bu could tell her manner and elegance. 

 

If a woman was walking steadily with good manner, the sound of her Jin Bu would be quite melodic and pleasant.

 

Gradually, Jin Bu became more of a beautiful decoration. It's no longer a measurement of women's etiquette and elegance, and most of them are made of much cheaper material now.

Perfume Bag -- Xiang Nang

The use of perfume bags was documented about 2,200 years ago in the history of China, which could be made of jade, gold, silver or fabric with fancy embroidery.

 

Perfume bags have various spices inside, and could be worn on the wrist or hung over the beds. Their shape, color, spice type and embroidery pictures are abundant.  

 

Perfume bag was an important keepsake of love in Chinese culture. Women would usually make and give them to their beloved ones. 

Nowadays, perfume bag is still popular, which could be hang in cars or rooms, as a beautiful and fragrant pendant decoration. 

He Bao in Tradition of China

He Bao is a pouch that can hang on the wrist, in which people can put small or important things, like coins or seals. It originated around 2,200 years ago and became popular and widely used few hundred years later.

 

The pouch He Bao was originally made of furs. Gradually, people more used fabric with various fancy embroideries to make it, when embroidery images on He Bao still strictly followed hierarchy.

 

He Bao was a good gift to express affection of a woman, by giving a hand made He Bao to her beloved one. 

Hua Dian in Tradition of China

In an ancient historical story around 1500 years ago, a plum fell on a princess’ forehead and left a red flower-shaped mark. Everyone found this mark was quite beautiful, so the decoration became popular and spread nationwide very soon.

 

Hua Dian was usually pasted on woman’s forehead and sometimes on the cheeks or hair. It has many colors and shapes, and is made of different kinds of materials, of which the red flower shape was the most frequently used one.

 

In the make-up procedure, firstly, they cut materials, like gold foil or paper, into a specific shape; then a type of glue (made of fish is the best) is used to paste it.  

Belt Hook -- Dai Gou

Originated around 5,000 years ago and popularized about 2,400 years ago, belt hook was used only for male nobles, both for convenience and representatives of status.

 

They were made of bronze, jade, gold, silver or iron, and decorated with sophisticated techniques and extraordinary carving skills.

 

Gradually, belt hooks then became accessories only for decoration.

Sword in Tradition of China

The sword was originated around 3,000 to 5,000 years ago in the history of China. Around 2,500 years ago, bronze swords were widely used.

 

However, at that time, only noble people could wear them, when weight, size and appearance of swords were strictly followed feudal hierarchy; civilians, however, could not wear swords, except in wars.

 

In Chinese culture, the sword has been always a representative of status and decency, which was more of a decoration instead of a real weapon. Especially in a peaceful era, many people’s swords didn’t even have edges, but with more and more sophisticated decorations.