The Penang Bookshelf
Special Bulletin - 2

From The Penang Bookshelf


Traditional Chinese Toggles - A New Book That May Be of Interest  


This morning I received a message about a new book from Editions Didier Millet (EDM), one of the publishers with whom I have an account. Since I know that you and a few of my other customers are interested in Chinese objets d'art in various shapes and sizes, I thought that this book may be of interest.


At the foot of this email I've included the publisher's blurb. I haven't seen the book myself and doubt if I could make an educated comment about it, if I did. I could arrange to get the book for you for RM240 post free within Malaysia. As I have yet to see the book I haven't been able to weigh it to be able to give a quotation for overseas postage. However I can easily find out the weight and give a postage quotation, if need be.

The offer isn't time limited, but I thought I would write now while the matter's fresh in my mind. I will be putting in a general order with EDM shortly and could include an order for a copy for you, if you so wished.

With best wishes,






  • 978-981-4260-61-9
  • RM290
  • September 2011
  • 272 pp, hardback
  • 290 mm x 240 mm
  • Readership: General, cultural and historical enthusiasts






This volume is an excellent reference guide to the historical and cultural significance of Chinese toggles or zhuizi - carved pieces of jade, ivory, bone, wood, shell and semi-precious stones used by the Chinese in ancient times as counterweights to secure personal effects like tobacco pipes and money pouches to their belts. Over time, toggles became treasured objects of identity and expression, believed to bring the bearer good luck, happiness, fertility, longevity and health. The book explains how toggles were used in daily and ceremonial life, and interprets the designs that are fundamental to understanding these artefacts. Accompanied by stunning photography and detailed descriptions, Traditional Chinese Toggles: Counterweights and Charms will be the definitive illustrative guide to this little-known Chinese art form.




  • Over 1500 images, showcasing a wide range of toggle designs and materials.
  • Themed chapters based on materials and subjects for easy reference.
  • Comprehensive information on the legends, customs, religious beliefs and cultural norms relating to Chinese toggles.
  • Introductory guide to purchasing and collecting Chinese toggles.





Margaret Duda is a writer, photographer and jewellery designer from State College, Pennsylvania. She has authored a number of books, short stories and articles, including Four Centuries of Silver: Personal Adornment in the Qing Dynasty and After and "Grooming Kits and Fragrance Carriers in Qing China", published in foremost Asian arts and antiques magazine, Arts of Asia. She is one of the leading authorities in the field of Chinese toggles, having spent many years studying and researching the topic and this book combines her interest in writing, photography and personal adornment.






- Introduction


1. Wooden Toggles

-        Forms and Materials

-        Subjects and Themes


2. Ivory Toggles

-        Elephant Tusk

-        Mammoth Tusk

-        Walrus Tusk

-        Wart Hog Tusk

-        Hippo Tooth

-        Whale Tooth


3. Organic Materials

-        Bone and Animal Teeth

-        Antler

-        Horn

-        Gourd

-        Nut

-        Shell

-        Jet

-        Amber


4. Jade Toggles


5. Old Rock Toggles

-        Serpentinite

-        Soapstone

-        Marble

-        Argolite and Baked Shale

-        Rhyolite

-        Basalt

-        Pegmatite

-        Compressed Ash and Volcanic Breccia

-        Mudstone

-        Fossilized Coral





6. Semi-Precious Stone Toggles

-        Natural Agate

-        Carnelian

-        Quartzite

-        Amethyst

-        Rose Quartz

-        Tiger Eye

-        Lapis

-        Flourite

-        Malachite

-        Turquoise

-        Coral


7. Crystal, Glass and Porcelain Toggles

-        Crystal

-        Glass

-        Porcelain


8. Metal Toggles

-        Bronze

-        Brass

-        Lead

-        Silver


- Conclusion




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