Remember back in the Dark Ages, when iPods and tablets were nonexistent? When we, as children, collected all the little knick-knacks that we came across and hoarded them like secret treasures? Back then, every child’s favorite pastime was to boast and show to each other their dog-eared books of stickers, trading cards, and stamps. After all, these treasures were as good as solid currency in elementary school. In that seemingly distant era, I held a little tin cookie box close to my heart.
Born the younger daughter of my family with a sister seven years my senior, I spent the better part of my childhood seeking individuality and ways to define myself—not as the daughter or sister of so-and-so, but rather, as just me, unadulterated and unfiltered.
I certainly boasted my own books of stamps and stickers, yet it was little bookmarks in a tin box that really captured my heart. Sure, my friends were unimpressed and certainly no one was willing to trade their shiny bottles of glitter with my bookmarks of leaves and sticks, but who cares? My bookmarks came from every part of the world that I have been to, and are made of almost every texture imaginable: knitted carpet, silk, recycled paper, plastics, dehydrated seeds… Each bookmark tells its own story but also carries my memory.
When I came across Shen Yun Shop’s 24K-gold-plated bookmarks, I absolutely adored them. I loved them for the intricacy of the designs, the quality of their make (24-karat gold is definitely one texture I did not have in my collection), but mostly, I loved them for the deep historical stories that they told.
Who Says You Need Books? Let Bookmarks Take You on a Journey of Their Own
Let’s take a sneak peek into the story behind each bookmark.
The Monkey King—Born out of a rock, this monkey is a master of mischief. After claiming kingship over all monkeys and creating mayhem in the heavens, he was sentenced to five hundred years of imprisonment under a mountain. When finally rescued, the Monkey King gave up his old ways and offered loyalty and protection to his savior, the Tang Monk. This marks the beginning of their 50,000-mile journey on foot, through tears and laughter, to obtain the sacred scriptures. Taken straight from the famous novel Journey to the West, this monkey keeps everyone on their toes.
Elegance of the Yi—One of China’s oldest ethnic groups, the Yi have lived on the rolling hills of southern China for over 3,000 years. The Yi girls are famous for their rainbow skirts made from a single, long piece of cloth dyed into wide rainbow stripes of colors. To communicate with each other in winding mountain ranges, the Yi people sang lively tunes as they worked on the terraces. Their songs both served as personal GPS locators and provided companionship.
Celestial Melody – Pipa—“Great music can harmonize with heaven and earth.” According to the ancient Chinese, music can soothe ills and dissolve sorrows. The pipa, also called a Chinese lute, is well known for its brisk and ever-changing melodies.
In modern times, the pipa is often thought of as a feminine instrument. Its long and elegant curves effectively complement the gentle beauty of its player. What people fail to realize is that in order to play all four strings at once and at high speed, this instrument requires a lot of physical strength on the part of its player. In ancient times, the Pipa was mostly played by soldiers on horseback. The instrument’s different speeds and pitches acted as signals in battles to command charges and retreats in ancient warfare.
Never thought that little bookmarks can carry so much depth and history? Come, grab your own tin box and join me on a bookmark collection spree now!
By Jennifer Tseng, Contributing Writer