Korean Chatelaine

May 22, 1999

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Obverse: ...

Reverse: ...

Weight ... g
Size: 95.5 mm

Mandel #102.3

Reverse characters Chinese reading and translation (thanks to Stephen Tai):
Bao - Treasure
Fei - An impersonal equational copula: it is not, to be not
Jin - Gold, money
Ji - Save, raise
Yeh - Career
Yi - To leave,hand down; spare; reject,throw away
Yi - To plant, cultivate; skill
Yi - One

Message from Don Pfeifer (08-Apr-99):
    The Chatelaines are much rarer than the amulets. In the old days of Korea, the aristocracy (Korean: Yangban) were the only ones with money, all other classes of society were poor. A common Korean family might have one or two amulets to protect the family but could not afford to have very many of them. The aristocrats could afford to buy amulets. By the 1800's it was traditional in the wealthy families to tie amulets to much larger pieces that we in the West call chatelaines. These were then given to the bride on her wedding day. After the wedding they were kept hanging in the Womens quarters of the house. Sometimes hundreds of amulets were tied together this way. This is why the chatelaines will have a lot of holes drilled or cast in them.
    Many chatelaines are cast as an openwork, and some chatelaines will have rings attached to them. Many Korean families would tie a bunch of amulets together but without the Chatelaine, because they couldn't afford it. Japan started to take control of Korea in 1905 and many of the aristocratic families were in financial trouble. Many families sold whatever they could. In 1907 there was a world wide copper shortage, and millions of Korean Cash Coins and Amulets were sold for their copper value. The Japanese during WWII melted down all of the metal that they could find for the War.
    Most Korean chatelaines are over 100 years old and the strings and ribbons used to tie the smaller amulets are pretty weak and break easily. Korean and Japanese dealers, when they find a chatelaine, will usually separate all of the amulets and sell everything individually.
    In the twenty five years that I have been collecting Korean Amulets, I have accumulated 600+ amulets and only 6 chatelaines. I have seen hundreds of other amulets that I did not buy, but I have only seen two other chatelaines that I did not buy. Mandel lists hundreds of amulets but only about 50 chatelaines.

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