DESCRIPTION: Silver needle cases first appeared in China in the 1700's. Elaborate embroidery has a long tradition in China, and young girls began intensive training in needlework skills by age seven. Given the importance of embroidery in her life, a silver needle case was often presented to a girl as part of her dowry.
This particular case is an extraordinary example. Most silver needle cases held only one container for needles, while this elaborate case has a total of five large silver pendants, three of which are needle cases, with all five attached to a central, pierced, white and green jadeite plaque. The three needle cases are contained within the three solid repousse silver vases, while two additional pendants are elaborate pierced repousse silver decorations, one being an extraordinary cicada. Please see photos 11 & 12 which show the needle cases open, exposing the inner cylinders that contained the needles. The four lower pendants all have attached orange agate beads. This whole ensemble would have been suspended from a button or sash by the bat shaped hook at the top.
Very good condition and dating from the 18th to 19th C. For an excellent article on Chinese silver needles cases, please see "Arts of Asia," Vol. July-August 2000, by Margaret Duda. DIMENSIONS: Entire length is 32" (81.3 cm). Jade plaque is 2" (5 cm) x 1.75" (4.5 cm). The silver cases range from 2.25" (5.7 cm) to 1.75" long (4.5 cm).