Thursday, August 6, 2009

Ornamentation of Mien

On festive occasions women and children wear silver neck rings, occasionally multi-tiered. From the hooked ends at the back women may suspend silver chains to which bells, balls, dangles, and tiny grooming tools are attached, some of them brightened with cloisonne' enamel. A few women have ornamental pieces made of a network of chains, bells and dangles which cover the back from the neck to the waist, but most have silver only at the top with long silk burgundy tassels hanging to the waist.

Mien women, like the Hmong, wear arrow-shaped earrings with the shafts bent into circles. They also wear a variety of silver rings. A pair of heavy silver bracelets is worn by the women on their left wrists above a long silver chain, wrapped around the lower wrist. They do not wear the bracelets on the right wrist as it would interfere with their work.

Exquisite silver butterflies, birds, flowers, and geometric designs, as well as bells, balls, and tiny grooming tools come from the forges of the highly skilled Mien silversmiths.

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