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Chinese language question on amuletic jewellry

To: alt.lucky.w,,alt.magick,alt.magick.tyagi
From: catherine yronwode 
Subject: Chinese language question on amuletic jewellry
Date: Mon, 05 Aug 2002 09:43:03 GMT

I was at a large trade show for importers today and bought a big pile of
beautifully hand-carved skull-bead bracelets from Shanghai. The sellers,
Chinese, did not speak a lot of English. I asked if the bracelets had
any meaning or amuletic use for religion, luck, or magic. They said
"no." I asked if they were Taoist, Confucian, Buddhist, etc., and they
said "no" to all options. 

China has a large folk-industry of bone-carving, of course, and these
bracelets may well be made in commercial imitation of the popular
Nepalese and Tibetan Buddhist bone bead malas, but they are actually
far, far nicer. There are 16 large beads per bracelet. Fifteen are
strung head-to-neck and the 16th is strung by placing both ends of the
cord through the one bead head-to-neck and typing a double overhand knot
under the neck, in exactly the same manner as the "medicine gourd" bead
that terminates the currently faddishly popular so-called "power
bracelets" made of wooden or stone spherical beads.

Folkloric provenence aside, i also asked the men what these bracelets
were called in Chinese and one of them wrote it down on a business card
-- two Chinese charters (i can scan if necessary) and the
transliteration "Gu Lian." They did not actually translate the words Gu
Lian into English (they may not have been able to) -- and i did not
notice that they had not done so until i had gotten home. 

So, i recall the previous usenet discussion of "Gu" / five verminous
animal poison, and i am wondering what "Gu Lian" means. I realize there
are many words in Chinese that look alike when spelled out but are
enunciated differently, so i am reaching here, perhaps -- but is Gu
another word for sorcery, magic, occult power, dreadfullness
(schrechlichkeit) ... or ... does Gu Lian simply mean "bone bracelet"? 

Any help would be much appreciated. I will gladly send a bone
skull-bead  bracelet to the person who supplies an translation of the
Chinese words and offers any help toward understanding what role, if
any, these bracelets have in Chinese folklore or culture. 

cat yronwode 

Lucky W Amulet Archive ---------

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