Nuosu people love jewelry. Young women adorned in silver display not only their youth and beauty but their family’s wealth. Older women are more modest in their display, but still sport a pair of silver earrings, a ring or two, and a silver collar. Men customarily wore a silver earring in the left ear, as well as a finger ring or two of their own; some carry on this tradition even in today’s urban society.
Smiths who have inherited the craft through generations continue to produce these traditional objects, and people continue to wear them.
But ethnic arts, just like other arts, are not frozen in time, and increasingly in recent years creative and innovative Nuosu artists have drawn on traditional themes to produce new kinds of clothing, lacquer ware, and other art items. When University of Washington junior Tiffany Fox spent the year in Sichuan in 2014-15, she became interested in Nuosu language and culture, and got to know some artists around the Cool Mountains. Among them was
Tang Yuehui, a young woman who uses brass, enamel and glass to produce new kinds of jewelry inspired by the red, yellow, and black patterns of traditional lacquerware, thus combining two of the most prominent Nuosu decorative arts with modern materials and techniques. Thanks to Tiffany’s gift, we are delighted to be able to offer some of Ms. Tang’s jewelry this holiday season on the Nuosu Marketplace. Here is a sampling: