DIA190mm, China

  This textured cream colour beads are not ivory or bones but musaragalva, made from the giant clams (tridacna gigas).  Clams that can grow to over a meter in width!  Though not a popular material, musaragalva is one of the seven treasures of Buddhism; musaragalva, agate, crystal, amber, pearl and musk.  These seven precious items differs in the ancient scripts but musargalva seems to be always part of the group.  In the Qing dynasty, they are used in the hat knob of the court officials costume, an identification of the ranking.  Musaragalva would have been used for the 6th ranking officials.

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