L60xD20xH50mm, China

The longevity lock, a tradition for the Chinese babies hundred day celebration, the child will keep it on till his 12th birthday.  The Chinese believes that life will be locked just as a door or a trunk.  In a way its a kind of blessing given to the child by the elders of the family.  Its history started from the Han dynasty, on the 5th of lunar May, every household would hang a 5 colour rope on the door as a blessing against the plague.  By the Jin dynasty, the 5 colour rope would be tied on to the arms of women and the children as a blessing.  The tradition extending into the empirical court in the Han dynasty, the Emperor would  give out the rope to all his ministers on the 5th of lunar May.  The rope became more elaborated by Ming dynasty and became the silver locket we have here.