Sunday, 3 February 2013

Snakes

In Chinese, we have these four-character-long idioms called 成语. My mum likes to teach me them on the car on the way to school. Most of them go in one ear and out the other, but this one stuck in my head because the words are quite easy to understand.

画蛇添足 
huà shé tiān zú

Literally translated, it says 'drawing a snake, adding feet', and means that you're adding something unnecessary that's destroying what you're doing. My mum told me that the saying came from this story: some men were having a competition, to see who could draw a snake fastest in the sand. One man drew his snake very fast, and, seeing that his friends were nowhere near finishing, he added legs to the snake to fill up the time. But of course, once legs are added to a snake, it ceases to be a snake.

Left ring: Aida Bergsen
Right ring: Afends

This year, Sunday 10th February is Chinese New Year. 女娲, the Snake Goddess, created humans from clay in a Chinese creation myth. Due to snakes' ability to shed their skin, they have been for many millenia associated with rebirth and fertility. If you've read or watched Fullmetal Alchemist, you'll no doubt be familiar with the Ouroboros, a snake or dragon eating its own tail, representing cyclicality.

As a design element, one can get infinitely creative with the versatile shape of a snake, making for some superbly interesting jewellery designs.

Left necklace: Plukka
Earrings: Percossi Papi
Right necklace: Ileana Makri
Brooch: Heming

In many cultures, snakes or serpents represent wisdom, as well as both death and healing: Asclepios, the Greek God of medicine, is often depicted with a snake, and Gorgon blood was said to be able to kill or revive, depending on which side of the Gorgon it was taken from. When threatened, snakes also have a tendency to stand their ground and fight rather than retreat. Consequently they are often used as guardians to sacred sites, in the form of carvings and statues.

Left bracelet: Roberto Cavalli
Right bracelet: Wildfox

Has anyone been watching Africa, the BBC documentary? One of my favourite parts was the python mother. Being ectothermic - cold-blooded - she basks in the sun to raise her body temperature. But the mother python stays in the sun for so long, her body temperature becomes dangerously high, only retreating just before she does herself permanent damage. She then goes to her brood of eggs and wraps herself around them to incubate them. So tight is her hold, that you can see the imprint of her scales on the eggs' surface.

12 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing this! I especially loved the part about the saying! X

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    1. Thanks! Chinese is quite interesting really.

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  2. I hate all the snake patterns in stores. But snakes on jewellery are quite fascinating to me :)

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    1. I also don't like animal print stuff, which is exactly why everything featured here is jewellery, and not snake print clothes.
      My main reason is aesthetics - I think animal print too often looks tacky. I'm not sure if that's 100% my reason for not liking it though. I eat meat and I wear leather but I just don't like animal print.

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  3. hey giiirl! I really like the snake jewellery! I loved the first one :)
    I just found you and immediately became member! I would really appreciate it if you'll visit my blog back :)
    Kisses and keep in touch ♡

    http://dtmakeupgirl.blogspot.gr/

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    1. Glad you like the jewellery as much as I do. Thank you!

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  4. Wonderful post! I am so excited about it being the year of the snake...I own a pet python and own lots of snake themed jewelry. :)

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    1. Wow, you own a snake! I like to go to the pet shop sometimes and look at the animals there. What d'you feed it?

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  5. Love the message of the proverb - that'll come in handy when I'm working on projects and have a tough time putting down the pen and saying 'ok. it's done.'

    Congrats on the LALM!

    Devon
    InformedStyle.com

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    1. Good luck pronouncing it! xD Thank you~

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  6. Great post. Congratulations on being featured in IFB's Links a la Mode.

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Thank you ♥

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