Evan Mantyk and Laura Hatton, Contributing Writers
Layer after layer of rich meaning went into The Tang Elegance Collection created by jewelry designer Vivian Ni of the Shen Yun Shop.
She began with the 2016 Shen Yun piece Tang Dynasty Grace. In this dance, vibrant, flowing dresses with full length skirts and sleeves swirl majestically through the air as each of the dancers gracefully turns and leaps, transporting the audience back to the uplifting and grand era of the Tang Dynasty. Ms. Ni was inspired by these colors to select vibrant, natural gemstones to accentuate the collection’s 18 karat gold motif. Central to that motif is a blossoming peony, unfurling its petals and exuding the aura of subtle and elegant majesty inspired by Shen Yun’s dancers.
Ms. Ni’s design also draws directly on the traditions of the Tang Dynasty, when the peony was the most celebrated flower. During this era, noble ladies and gentlemen were refined both in body and mind. They would take pure intellectual pleasure in an outing to an elaborate garden or scenic location, finding satisfaction and meaning in the wonder that filled their hearts and souls. The central peony transports us to a Tang Dynasty garden, viewed through an octagonal window that was commonly found near palace gardens.
The designer explained, “The octagonal window, the quiet background, and the bright petals meet with the sparkling of diamonds like dew, joyfully presenting a beautiful scene from the most classic and noble age.”
The octagon shape holds still more meaning as it is directly related to the shape of the bagua (or eight trigrams), a symbol crucial to the ancient Chinese understanding of the universe—an understanding that is still viewed by many as highly advanced and profound. To give you an idea, the bagua contains the classic yin-yang symbol at its center, representing duality within the human body, life, and the universe. The eight sides also correspond to a complex system of changes that naturally unfold in human society and in all aspects of existence.
A closer look at the Tang Elegance Collection also reveals a particular design featured four times in the border of diamonds. This is the interlocking pattern, or hui wen, which has been found among the ruins of every Chinese dynasty. This pattern is generally understood as representing never-ending good fortune.
As Ms. Ni said, “When creating The Tang Elegance, I wanted to bring out an image of beauty preserved in layer after layer of benevolent symbolism.”
Indeed, the The Tang Elegance Necklace and Earrings are works of art, rich with layers of not only precious stones and gold but also deep and wonderful meaning.