I bought these highly collectible and rare Chinese earrings in an entire collection from the Afghani grandfather of one of my dealers in Turkey, who he said had been collecting these for a long time.
These have the very fortuitous symbol of the eternal knot. Look Here
These date from 1900-1930. Some may have been worn by the Tujia and Qiang ethnic groups, essentially northwestern China, in the Qinghai, Gansu provinces. Gansu province is where the Silk Road enters China and the people there have been trading with Afghanistan for 2000 years. The earrings are fairly rare today as most were destroyed or confiscated in the communist and cultural revolutions, destroying most ethnic and cultural treasures. In the 1970s the communist government exported lots of reconstructed pieces to the West, but most were already destroyed. It’s a tragedy that the skills were lost, as during the revolution, anyone with these skills could be sent to labour camps and killed. Look here!
In the black and white photo, you can see how they would have been worn.
The symbolism and design are all Chinese. Most have to do with longevity and fertility, possibly wedding earrings or a wedding gift. Some of them would have had kingfisher feathers embedded in the design, but age has removed these.
Information attributed to Christine Lee, archeologist and Chinese scholar.
These earrings are part of my collection of fifteen sets, numbering CE1-CE15. It would be a shame to break up the collection, but it is also time for them to find a new custodian.