Vintage silver accessories on show reveal an affluent past

2021-01-30 12:04:57

A "chang ming suo" longevity lock jewelry for children on show. [Photo/Courtesy of Shanxi Museum] The Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties saw the rise of merchants from Shanxi province. This influential collective, often referred to as "jin (Shanxi) shang (merchants)", enjoyed a monopoly in the salt industry and banking at the time. An accumulation of wealth over several generations also resulted in a popularity of wearing silver accessories among people in Shanxi throughout the first half of the 20th century. An ongoing exhibition through April 20 at Shanxi Museum in Taiyuan traces the history of this unique fashion trend. On show are a variety of vintage silver accessories from several museums in Shanxi and also private collections. A display of intricate ornaments to decorate hair, hands, fingers, nails, arms, necks and outfits shows technical refinement and distinctive tastes, as well as people's blessings for prosperity, health and longevity. And it offers perspectives into social lives and economies of the past.