Silver Ornaments for Beautiful Girls
Dong girls love wearing silver ornaments, and think that the more they wear, the more beautiful and nobler. The weight of the ornaments a girl wears ranges from several ounces to a few kilograms. There is a popular folk song in the Dong villages: "A peacock is even more beautiful when it has spread open its tail, so a Dong girl is more beautiful when wearing silver ornaments, as flowers are added to flowers." With few silver ornaments, a girl would feel herself not beautiful, and her parents would also consider her to be lower than others. So they try whatever they can, even saving their daily expenses, to buy some silver ornaments for their girl. Dong women in Tongdao, Sanjiang and Longsheng all wear silver earrings, rings, bracelets, chaplets and silver combs in their daily life. On occasions of festivals and weddings, they are even covered with silver from head to toe: silver flowers in the hair, layers of broad silver rings before the breast, layers of silver chaplets around the neck, silver armguards and bracelets around the wrists, silver rings around fingers, and pairs of silver earrings hanging from the ears. All the silver ornaments a girl wears can be as heavy as 3 to 3.5 kilogrammes.
The attires of the Dong girls in Congjiang and Gaozeng are the most gorgeous and beautiful, known for its large amount of silver ornaments. A girl usually wear long hair in two braids, coiled respectively on her head, fixed with wooden comb or silver clasp. The pattern of the silver clasp is full of elegance and grace: 7 to 8 inches long, one end round and with a flower design, the other pointed - inserted slantingly in the left side of the hair bob. There are full of various kinds of silver flowers and clasps on the head, just like a silver crown with dancing phoenixes and coiled dragons. On the top of the crown, there is a beautiful silver cock with a long tail. While the girl is walking, the cock keeps quivering and shining, which is very attractive.
Children are also mostly dressed up with silver ornaments, among which the silver cap is the most exquisite. The Dong people often set such images as the 18 arhats (Buddhism gods), the 8 gods crossing the sea (Taoism Gods), gods of good fortune, good salary, longevity and happiness, etc., on children's dog-head cap, fish-tail cap, tiger-head cap, lion-head cap or windproof cap. Some silver caps are decorated in an even more creative and distinctive way: on the edge of the cap there are the 18 arhats on the upper line and beneath them 18 orderly arranged plum flowers, which means "the 18 arhats are protecting the child from any demon or ghost." In the front, between two silver moons, are the patterns of a phoenix flying to the sun, two dragons running for a jewel, Wu Gang (a legend hero) chopping at the tree on the moon, or Chang E (a legend fairy) flying to the moon; around these patterns are colorful clouds and water waves; and also a pair of lions at the bottom.
The Dong people love silver ornaments very much. They do not only wear them themselves, but also give them to each other as precious gifts. Especially when young people fall in love, silver ornaments are usually given to each other as token of love. There is a Dong song saying about this: "The girl loves to give silver ornaments to her lover and tell him what is in her heart. The silver ornaments are worn on her lover, and they two will love each other for good." When a Dong young man meets a girl for the first time, and if the young man wants to propose ("begging for a belt" in Dong) and the girl is willing to accept it, she will give him one of the ornaments she wears, to show her acceptance. Then they can have dates. When the love is much deeper and wedding is in the schedule, the male side will send precious silver ornaments as gifts of engagement according to demands of the female side.
Every Dong can sing <<