Chinese Silver Alloy Necklace of Ling Zhi Form, with Motif of a Young Man Riding a Qilin (#18-078)


A wonderful old Chinese necklace that falls broadly within the category of spirit locks, but having a lingzhi form.  Qing dynasty, late 19th or early 20th century.  This beautiful hand-made necklace is crafted from an alloy of low silver content with fine repoussé work and hand stamping and texturing.  The shape of the amulet appears to be that of a lingzhi fungus, which was considered the magical mushroom of immortality, and associated with health and long life.  The design is the same on front and back and depicts a young man riding through a wooded landscape or garden on the back of a qilin.  A female servant or attendant stands to his right with a fan on a long pole, and he clutches what may be a lotus blossom in his hand.  In Chinese folklore the qilin was a mythical creature composed of the attributes of many different animals, and was said to appear on earth only in times when justice and good government reigned (hence its rarity)!  The qilin came to be associated with scholarship and the civil service, and it was almost a universal wish in Qing dynasty China that one’s son would be accepted into, and rise in the ranks of the civil service.  This beautiful necklace then was likely once a gift to a boy or young man, with that wish in mind.  The necklace is strung on a cord wrapped in silk fabric with floral motifs.

Circa: Late 19th or Early 20th Century.  Pendant: 2 1/2″ L  1 3/4″ H  Total Length of Silk Cord: 33″

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