Good-Luck Silver Lockers
For Elder Female’s Birthday
Inscriptions: Chi Sze, Zhong Dong Yuei, Yuong Bao Fang
Ling, which means: '
The mid of the 11th month of Year Chi-Sze (the
8th year of Tong Zhi Period or
1869). Stay Young Forever'.
Size: 56 (L) x 63 (W) mm.
Weight: 78 g
The shown silverware, in its feature of a traditional Chinese locker, is a
very delicate artwork made as a birthday present to an elder female in 1869
or 1809. The wish of Stay Young Forever was inscribed on one face; and a
fairy riding on Kirin ( a sacred feast from Chinese folk tales) representing
a sign of good luck on the other face. There are also two plants shown in
the two sides, one is peony, Chinese regards it as the symbol of fortune and
nobility; the other is bamboo, a forever-green plant Chinese take it as the
symbol of longevity or forever-young.
Silver lockers have been one of the most popular birthday gifts in Chinese
communities now and then. The choice of form of locker, is for the blessing
of 'To lock up one’s faith, so that the evil spirits will not be able to
take it away'.
To dedicate such a good-luck symbolic silverware as a birthday present,
was, however, more elegant than to send good-luck sycee in old China.
Because that sycee was also kind of currency in China, to use currency as a
gift, for this conservative people sometime would be too 'direct'.
In another respect, such a delicate handicraft, had to consume
considerable time and cost, it was a luxury gift that few people in the past
could afford it. Therefore,
it could be one of the special made for and from the riches in Ching’s
For New Born Baby’s Birthday
Inscriptions: Bai Gia Bao Suo, Chang Ming Fu Kuei, which means
Holds Safe Hundreds of Families, Longevity with Fortune and Nobility'.
Size: 566 x 3 mm.
Weight: 31 g
This is an ordinary seen silver locker in Ching or the early Ming
period, which was taken as a birthday gift to a new-born baby. It was in
plain, two-side engraved, with the blessing wishes the locker would protect
the baby, and hopefully bring it longevity, fortune, and nobility.
Such kind of silver locker, may be expected as using among the-middle-class
These above two silver lockers were not only silver lockers for Chinese in
the past, they might be acted as silver currency for any payment, if
necessary. In the 3rd year of Hsien Feng (1853, 1851-1861), the governor of
Shensi Province reported to the Emperor: 'In some rural areas of this
province, people are too poor to pay taxes in sliver as levied, ... some of
them have no choice but to melt their wive's silver accessories into silver
sycee, in order to pay the taxes.'
A Silver Sycee Review