Prosperity Talisman - Ancient Chinese Money Replica
Made in the USA
Cast in Lead-Free Pewter
This cast replica of an ancient Chinese form of money, which came in the form of an ingot of non-precious or precious metal, is a wonderful object you will love for the way it feels in your hand, for the way it looks, and for what it can mean when you have it in your home, office, or shop. It weighs just over a pound. The original from which I cast this pewter reproduction weighs even more, almost 2 pounds.
I found the original, from which I made this pewter casting, in a little antique store in Indonesia. Indonesia is an archipelago as you probably well know. It was, therefore, a cross-roads very early, being one stop on the maritime Silk Road, which was not one road, but many routes both over land and over sea. Indonesia was a fantastic source for spices and sandalwood that were traded throughout Asia and the Middle East and eventually Europe. The Chinese were in Indonesia very early as well as Arab traders. And so you find old Chinese things scattered around in homes and little shops.
The person keeping the shop where I bought the money didn't know what it was. I didn't know either but I fell in love with it as soon as I saw it, and once I touched it and felt its weight I didn't want to put it down. It didn't take me long, though, to realize what it was even though I had no direct experience with this sort of object. I figured it out because I have a tiny jade pendant of a hand holding what looks like a cloud. I bought this years ago in a little shop in China Town in New York. I was told by the shop keeper that it is a magical talisman meant to draw prosperity to the wearer. At the time I didn't yet have a business so it was not something I was attracted to because of its attractive power for merchants. I just loved it because it was beautiful. I didn't understand why a cloud in the hand would be auspicious but so many cultural things are mysterious.
As I stood in the little shop in Indonesia holding the money in my hand, admiring it, I suddenly saw the little jade hand holding the cloud in my mind and whispered in English -- It's money. I turned to my collaborator, Agus, and said the same thing just as softly in Indonesian.