Perhaps this is a lucky charm?

Started by mufan99, Mar 13, 2021, 16:26:04

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Hi, I am new to this group and I look forward to exchanging knowledge and experience.

I have this small pendant in my collection, about 7cm long. I am reading the English translation of a Chinese fantasy novel and on the back of the pendant the red writing on a yellow background reminds me of the charms that are mentioned in the book. I have done a bit more research and the description in the book seems to be quite accurate. The pendant is hollow and inside the hole on the back there is a sponge - perhaps for perfume. Can anyone help identify this item or offer an opinion? Thanks in advance.


Just looking at the Characters, makes me think Simplified Characters, I am no expert and I can not read Chinese but this looks to me to be 2nd half or later 20th century, Peter will be able to determine if these are simplified Characters, Simplified characters were used in the Kangxi period but these look to new to me, nice pendant though.


Nothing simplified or traditional, I can only recognize only three apparently Chinese characters, these are 天, 中, 工, the rest looks like nothing of the CKJ characters I know. The rest are looking as if they could be some of the many South Asian scripts, but nothing like Thai, etc., it seems.
Notable is that the writing style of the above three Chinese characters is in a way we can see in Chinese marks, etc. that are copied in SE Asia by people who have no idea of the strokes or writing orders (calligraphy), which every Chinese learns in school. Looks indeed more like an amulet of sorts, but is is porcelain at all? This would be difficult to produce...


Thank you for your help with my query. It is definitely made from porcelain, perhaps a technique like lost wax for the initial shape. The colors make me think it is quite modern especially the strong purple (aubergine) color. Thinking about it again it reminds me of this piece, which also has a Daoist feel. I know that this is modern and believe it was made in Taiwan. I will have to re-translate the box to remind me who the maker is.

I agree the script is very strange I wondered if it might be Fulu (magic script) - this is the description from Wikipedia 'Fu symbols tend to have twisted strokes that sometimes resemble Traditional Chinese characters. Only Daoist priests can write, read, and understand this "magic" writing system and the characters can differ from Daoist sect to Daoist sect. The method of writing down these characters is passed down secretly from Daoist master to their disciples. According to these Daoist sects if "magic" writing were easy to understand then anyone could have the power to control the spirits.'

Thanks again I will post when I have worked out the maker in Taiwan


Perhaps I'm wrong, but aren't those other characters that aren't Chinese, sanskrit?  Perhaps the hole is used to place paper prayers or something inside?


You are right, I have considered that too, but Sanskrit and other Indian languages have many scripts, old and new versions. Unless someone is involved more deeply in these, it might be difficult to tell for sure what it is.
And yes, it also looks somewhat like the 'magic' writing one sometimes sees in Asia, but I wonder why they would want to write the Chinese characters in such an odd way.

(This is hardly related to the amulet.)
The lion below could be a Taiwanese product, these are made and sold in southern Taiwan. They are usually called 'sword lions', because they hold a sword in their mouth; they are protectors, warding off evil.

In Anping, Taiwan they can be found built into the walls or above the gates of many very old houses. This glazed pottery (交趾) is perhaps better known abroad by its Japanese name 'Koji'. Much of it is made in Jiayi, farther north from Anping. BTW, Anping was the place first settled by the Dutch.


Peterp you are absolutely right about the lion mask. I have translated (probably quite badly) the box and the impressed marks on the back of the mask and this is what I have found.

The box has two lines of text that are repeated on all sides.
龍鳳祥交趾陶藝社 - Longfengxiang Jiaozhi Pottery Art Society
國賽紴交趾陶魝作 - National Jiaozhi Competition (not sure this is right)

On the back of the mask there are five impressed marks, from right to left
辛巳年 - the year 2001
嘉義交趾 - Jiayi (city) Jiaozhi
台洿省 - Taiwan province
吕勝南作 - the work of Lu Sheng Nan
龍鳳祥交 - Longfengxiang

Armed with this information I searched some more and I found a scholarly paper about Cochin (Jiaozhi/ Koji) pottery 'Humanism Presented in Taiwan Cochin Ceramic Design' by Huei-Mei Shih and this mentions religious objects including talismans that "...are considered to have the power to avoid evils."

Thank you for your interest and comments


This is not a mask, it is hung on a wall. The others I mentioned are usually embedded in the walls of houses, on the outside, or above entrances.

This picture shows one on an old house in Anping, which is not embedded and probably newer:


Indeed, it is hanging on the wall in my home, apologies for the clumsiness of my description.