For the first time in the Western world, the Kunsthal is organising a colourful exhibition of the jewellery of Chinese peoples in the Golden Triangle (Thailand, Myanmar and Laos), Mongolia and Tibet. A bridal collar from Yunnan, a set of back jewels from Guizhou and an extremely rare Mongolian headdress are just a few highlights of this exhibition. Jewellery plays a key role in propagating the identity of Chinese minorities. China has some 1.3 billion inhabitants, 8% of them minorities, living in 64% of the country. Each group has its own festivals where young and old, men and women, wear the most beautiful clothes and jewellery.
The exhibition comprises more than 250 silver jewels and several items in gold from Tibet. The designs most commonly used in the jewellery of Chinese minorities are plants and animals such as dragons, butterflies, phoenixes and fish. Each animal has its own significance. Most pieces are large and have a robustness representing the family's affluence. People in the Golden Triangle believe that silver protects them against disease. In addition to buying silver coins from farmers, re-melting old jewellery and family heirlooms is the main source of silver. Thus jewellery from minorities is rarely more than 70 or 80 years old. As a rule, people do not wear second-hand jewellery, especially not from other people. Textile is often combined with jewellery. The exhibition will show 29 items of clothing of a very high quality, combined with matching silver. Collector René van der Star frequently travels to the Far East and has accumulated his collection on the basis of professional skill, quality and personal taste.