A young girl dressed in traditional Miao (Hmong) clothing and silver jewelry. She is wearing a horned-style headdress. The Miao are famous for the craftsmanship of their silver ornaments. PHOTO BY WANG YING.
Silver, originally used solely as ornamentation, was the most important currency of late imperial China, although it came mainly from abroad. A global silver shortage in the early nineteenth century almost overturned the Qing dynasty, which was temporarily