Art Deco Chinese Silver Gilt + Kingfisher Feather "Tian-tsui" Koi Fish Earrings
Tian-tsui, which translates to "dotting with kingfishers" is a style of Chinese art using feathers from the beautiful kingfisher bird. For 2,000 years, the Chinese have been using the iridescent blue feathers as an inlay for fine art and jewelry. While many collectors have focused on other areas of Chinese art like porcelain, sculpture, and lacquer ware, kingfisher art is relatively unknown outside of China. The process involves delicately hand cutting and glueing feathers onto silver gilt to create each unique piece.
A stunning and unusual pair of tian-tsui earrings from the late Art Deco (ca1930s) era! Crafted in silver gilt, these earrings are 3-dimensional in design and are of Chinese origin. Each earring features two koi fish motifs hanging side-by-side from a gorgeous floral shaped surmount. The articulated nature of the koi's body mimics how fish swim, creating a fun and flexible design. A multitude of colorful cells, each covered in kingfisher feathers, represent the fish scales and are individually separated by silver gilt veins. The feathers display vibrant shades of turquoise and royal blue, and their natural iridescence provides a gorgeous sheen as they catch the light. The koi's tail fans out from its body, and a lovely dorsal fin rests on top of its back. Vibrant red enamel encircles the mouth of each fish, and delicate beads dot each eye. The fish hang from an elongated floral surmount decorated in feathers, and a simple earring post is attached at the back. When worn, the earrings dangle with lovely movement, framing the face dramatically. Despite their substantial size, they remain lightweight and comfortable to wear. A rare Art Deco find, they would make a wonderful addition to any jewelry collection!
Measurements: The earrings hang approximately 3" in total length. Each individual koi fish is about 1 1/2" long and 3/8" wide and thick. The floral links measure approximately 5/8" in diameter.
Condition: The overall condition of the earrings is excellent. There is no apparent damage to the silver gilt setting and the earring posts are in good working order. The vast majority of the feathers remain intact and well preserved. However, there are a few feathers on both fish heads that have either come loose or are no longer intact. Fortunately, this is scarcely noticeable when worn, and does not detract from the overall color and beauty of the design.