Silverado!

Originally I just wanted a Tibetan silver cuff bracelet, and found some on Ebay for only $1! What a steal I thought, and bought one.

Tibetan Silver Cuff Bracelet

But when it arrived it was not quite round and bent so it was very, very small- just perfect for a small Tibetan woman who might have typically worn this type of bracelet, but for my European/Neanderthal self- even at only 5’6″ and a woman, I would have had to bend it outward to get it to fit. I looked closer and it even had more wear of the graphics on one side of it, where it might have rubbed against their side more often, and the only conclusion I could make is that it had been worn before.

cuffaa cuffab

cuffac

Since then I’ve amassed a collection of these Tibetan cuff bracelets- only two out of over 20 could even be considered to be new. When I asked about why the bracelets were used, sellers kept reassuring me they are new, and one even told me they were making them in his factory right now in Beijing.

Tibetan Silver Cuff Bracelets En Masse

and the list goes on and on….

That many cuff bracelets previously owned by an oppressed minority don’t just show up on the internet being sold as new for a dollar without a reason. Like genocide. Its called murder and robbery and it has been going on for years apparently, the 10,000 bracelets listed above is just the tip of the iceberg, and still doesn’t even list all the Tibetan/Miao bracelets currently for sale on Ebay, let alone all that have been sold.

Number of items a search of “Tibetan cuff” on Ebay found:

  • 4,493 on 07/29/2015
  • 4,908 on 11/23/2015 including 438 auctioned in 10 days
  • 4,919 on 12/12/2015 including 543 auctioned in 10 days
  • 4,528 on 1/25/2016 including 493 auctioned in 10 days
  • 6,138 on 04/27/2016 including 1,294 auctioned in 10 days
  • 6,206 on 07/08/2016 including 1,699 auctioned in 10 days
  • 7,150 on 08/18/2016 including 2,005 auctioned in 10 days
  • 8,913 on 09/05/2016 including 3,218 auctioned in 10 days
  • 6,465 on 09/23/2016 including 1,824 auctioned in 10 days

Number of items a search of “silver cuff” on Ebay found (mainly Tibetan and or Maio bracelets it appears):

  • 115,597 on 07/29/2015
  • 142,360 on 11/23/2015 including 11,980 auctioned in 10 days
  • 144,338 on 12/12/2015 including 12,740 auctioned in 10 days
  • 138,309 on 1/25/2016 including 9,386 auctioned in 10 days
  • 152,678 on 04/27/2016 including 11,972 auctioned in 10 days
  • 158,880 on 07/08/2016 including 17,138 auctioned in 10 days
  • 179,218 on 08/19/2016 including 20,586 auctioned in 10 days
  • 187,710 on 09/05/2016 including 24,455 auctioned in 10 days
  • 181,749 on 09/23/2016 including 21,995 auctioned in 10 days
Old turquoise cuff bracelet, polished, being sold as new
Old turquoise cuff bracelet, polished, being sold as new
  • Buy It Now page on Ebay ($22.99): sold out in 2016 by jujuvick
Manjushri adorns this cuff bracelet. The black on this cuff is very old dirt and patina that they weren't able to polish away.
Manjushri adorns this cuff bracelet. The black on this cuff is very old dirt and patina that they weren’t able to polish away.

Buy It Now page on Ebay (was $15.11- increased to $25.19 by 1/2016; decreased to $12.60 prior to 07/2016) by jujuvick

As the Chinese have moved into Tibet and the people have become assimilated- new, cheaper made products hawked by Chinese dealers have become the norm to wear, not something like antique made of turquoise resin, coral and Tibetan silver which would probably be illegal to make without government approval because Manjushri was involved.

Tibetan Skull Ring

  • Sold August 5, 2015 (auction) for $9.36
  • Another auction by the same seller, same photo: sold August 15, 2015 for $1.55
  • and another auction by the same seller, same photo: sold August 26, 2015 for $3.33

Though this exact same skull ring is often sold as “new without tags” it is a used antique. The spider on the head- though very goth and Halloween like-  is a classic Buddhist symbol as well as the “earphones” the skull seems to be wearing, which are actually spider’s webs.

The same skull ring as above can be seen in the lower left of this group auction of rings.
The same skull ring as above can be seen again in the lower left of this group auction of rings. The dragon head is a classic Tibetan design, 100’s of years old or more, while the eagle- like in America- is regarded as a symbol of strength and freedom and reappears in their art again and again.
  • Sold August 7, 2015 (auction) for $2.00
  • Another auction by the same seller, same photo: sold August 22, 2015 for $3.25
All used, sold as new
All used, sold as new
  • Sold August 5, 2015 (auction) for $5.00
  • Thinner Mens cuffsSold August 4, 2015 for $4.75

Another auction by the same seller, same photo: sold August 12, 2015 for $4.80

twofishlotusaa

  • See this auction: sold 11/30/2015 for $1.47 by good_deal2258
  • Another auction, same photo, same seller: sold 12/25/2015 for $1.75 by good_deal2258

Buddha bracelet

Buddha necklace

Thousands of necklaces are also being sold with these same Buddha head beads. Laughing Buddha or Budai is seen above while below is Sakyamuni Buddha.

Another version of Buddha's head, not sure if its slightly older, or just a more Tibetan/ Indian take on him vs. the fatter Chinese version.
Another version of Buddha’s head,

dragoncuffba

Articulated Dragon Bracelet, another classic design

Snuff bottles, were also confiscated en masse from people- many were of high style and fine craftsmanship, and are now being sold en masse.

Tibetan Two Beast snuff bottle

buddhaheadab buddhaheadac buddhaheadad

4 Faces of Buddha

Depictions of 4 of Buddha’s different emotional states were once popular for all sorts of items including snuff bottles.

miaodragonaa

Tibetans, Buddhists and Chinese weren’t the only ones to be completely disenfranchised, Maio silver (Hmong) as well as the embroidery they are known for is found in great numbers as well on Ebay, for extremely cheap, as well as other minorities such as Uyghurs who have long been persecuted.

Number of items found in a search of “snuff bottle” on Ebay:

  • 14,082 on 2015/07/30
  • 15,601 on 2015/11/23 including 3,368 auctioned in 10 days
  • 14,027 on 1/25/2015 including 2,241 auctioned in 10 days
  • 14,989 on 04/27/2016 including 2,690 auctioned in 10 days
  • 16,265 on 07/08/2016 including 3,147 auctioned in 10 days
  • 15,529 on 08/19/2016 including 2,933 auctioned in 10 days
  • 16,188 on 09/05/2016 including 3,079 auctioned in 10 days
  • 16.134 on 09/23/2016 including 3,065 auctioned in 10 days

And then there’s a plethora of pipes on sale to go with the snuff bottles. Just a funny thing to think about after the Chinese hating drugs for so long. What would happen if our police departments all busted out the bongs (ahem, excuse me, “water pipes”) they’ve collected over the years and auctioned them to the public on Ebay?

pipeia Tibetan Silver Pipe

The vast majority of the pipes listed on Ebay are all old enough to be from the great push in the 1950’s and 60’s, where in 1959 where at least 80,000 Tibetans were killed in Lhasa alone.

Confiscated by communists, then sold to highest bidder
Confiscated by communists, then sold to highest bidder

pipeea

pipeeb

Personal items like combs and hair pins were fair game for Communist confiscations as well as the opium paraphernalia. Again many of these items are Maio silver, not only Tibetan.

Peacock Comb

Plum flower hair pin

Fox hair pin. They symbol of craftiness, slyness and high intellect, foxes are revered. The fox symbolizes the Tibetan woman, the man is the wolf.
Fox hair pin. They symbol of craftiness, slyness and high intellect, foxes are revered. The fox symbolizes the Tibetan woman, the man is the wolf.

Because the same exact photos, a series of them, are used again and again to sell the exact same item, I would assume that it is government ran- and whomever supplies the items, also supplies photos of the items to the sellers. What it really worrysome here is the sheer numbers- of which the links above are only a small fraction of the numbers currently for sale on Ebay of just this item, but there are often called “new” as well. If it was all for sale as antiques, it might be fine, but sellers repeatedly lie about previous ownership and cover it up and this is very, very suspicious behavior. The old patina and scratches can clearly be seen in the photos taken by them, reproduced and distributed by them, yet they are allowed to continue lying and no one besides me apparently says a thing.

foxhairpinab

miaowomen MelindaChan Flickr
Hmong (Maio) women at a festival in Beijing. Photo: Melinda Chen- Flickr

This is where so many of the hair pins come from as well as lockets and other items. Though each item doesn’t seem like much, if you rob one lady of their entire outfit and sell it piece by piece, then each amounts to at least $100 if not more- bell by bell by bell, scrap of embroidered cloth by scrap- there is nothing too small to try to make a buck off of. Sadly I was unable to find any pictures of ladies wearing the exact models of hairpins that are for sale in such vast quantities on Ebay. They went extinct?

Tea pots were extremely popular and actually useful, unlike some other metal and porcelain items.

Tibetan Phoenix Teapot

Frog on Cabbage

….And the sales of the exact same antique items- from the mundane like plain ox horn hair brushes to rare treasures and great art- go on and on. As an antique dealer’s daughter, I’ve never seen the numbers of exact same items that we are seeing here. Part of the reason that it is going so cheaply is because of those sheer numbers, but it is an unnatural situation, a “flood” of biblical proportions has occurred. The equivalent is if we were to gather up all the Wedgwood pottery, or Tiffany lampshades that had ever been created and perhaps disperse 20% of it back to America, then sell the  other 80% of America’s artistic heritage on Ebay for 1/4 of the value or less. And if we did that in every single category of item America has produced since the stone ages that was worth saving, we would be living the equivalent of what China has done to its own country and people. Sad days for art and culture, to be so cheaply prostituted after being stolen from so many individuals and families.

Fish Tea Pot

See this auction on Ebay: sold 12/3/2015 for $38.04 by eryqse43

Is this a yak & ox, ox and yak or double ox? Questions...
Yak & Ox teapot

This type of design- ovals with graduating lines is quite similar to what I would call a
This type of design- ovals with graduating lines is quite similar to what I would call a “feather form” or one also used for fins and flippers by the NW Coast Indians. Fascinated that it has been used to portray a lotus here.
  • See this auction: sold 7/29/2015 for $11.70 by mmholg
  • Another auction, same photos, same seller: sold 12/21/2015 for $15.62 by mmholg
  • Another auction, same photos, same seller by mmholg
  • Another auction, same photos with wrong watermark, different seller by goodjv
Not only do these tea pots have the eight auspicious Buddhist symbols, but the 12 zodiac animals encircle the lower half as well. Very auspicious!
Not only do these tea pots have the eight auspicious Buddhist symbols, but the 12 zodiac animals encircle the lower half as well. Very auspicious!
eightimmortalsba
Eight immortals tea pot

Eight Immortals Tea Pot

Incense Burners:

Probably the 2nd most common metal container next to teapots are incense burners. From the beginning of when metal first was created until now, they were part of everyday life as well as used in rituals, ceremonies and shrines.

Incense burner in the form of a lotus flower
Incense burner in the form of a lotus flower

See this auction on Ebay

Please also see Ritual Tools of Tibetan Monks for more featured incense burners.


Serving ritual functions as well as being aesthetically pleasing, goat or sheep cups are also a perennial favorite- for the living and the tombs alike and seemingly have been in continuous ceremonial use longer than most cultures have existed. It is modeled after a horn cup made of goat horn- this type of object could indeed have been humans first cup more than 10,000 years ago- gotten from nature itself and the goat.

Perhaps they were only used for ceremonies, but maybe they were used like Viking cups and brought out for a good feasts as well?

Sheep Cup with Beast

Other Statues:

Dragons!

Dragon

Sold 7/29/2015 for $31.00 (auction)

Dragon on gourd
Dragon riding gourd

Sold August 1, 2015 for $38.00 (auction)

dragonongourdac

Silver dragonsSee this auction on Ebay

A Pixiu:

Tibetan Fu Dog

Fu Dogs (Chinese Guardian Lions):

Fu Dogs are also very popular symbols to use for metal seals

See this auction: sold 7/30/2015 for $12.00

Fu dog seals

fudogsealscb

See this auction: sold 7/29/2015 for $9.50

Birds!

Tibetan Silver Two BirdsSold August 2, 2015 for $20.50

Another auction by the same seller, same photos

Buy It Now page on Ebay- different seller, same photos ($79.99, 2 available)

From proud families these came, now fallen.
From proud families these came, now fallen. Sad it is to see such absolute disenfranchisement and annihilation of people.

Fish!

Tibetan Boy on Fish riding Turnip

Horses!

Religious shrines are also very popular, not only with Tibetans to make and purchase, but for the Chinese government to confiscate and sell. Please see The Hall of Enslaved Idols for more information on specific deities and what is being sold.

Tibetan silver bi

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s