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Chinese Qing Dynasty Hair Pins

In the Qing Dynasty, men of wealthy upper class wore hats and ornaments such as hat buttons the clearly indicated their rank. Their wives’ hair style and ornaments also tell a story….

0157I was fortunate to find these two silver repoussé enameled hairpins… these belonged to a Manchu woman. They are shaped like the ruyi scepter and  decorated with the symbols for the 8 Immortals.

0142b The hairpins are signed by the silversmith… and treasured because one of them has been repaired.
Capture_00041 .
The two hairpins would have been used for a Manchu woman’s double bun. "ladies also wore large horned headdresses that were derived from the way Mongol women dressed and encased their hair into two ram like horns", Patricia Berger, Beauty, Wealth and Power, 1992.

We have not been able to find a digital image of the hairstyle but it reminds me of a carving in a bracelet I once owned… 

For more information on the complex world of Chinese hair ornaments, there is a chapter in Margaret Duda’s fabulous book with 170 other examples of early Chinese hair ornaments…  

Visit PrivateCollection’s PictureBook to see additional photos… many in larger formats.

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One Comment

  1. Alex
    Posted September 19, 2012 at 4:01 am | Permalink

    Thanks Susan for sharing all this wonderful antique. you really got a very nice collection

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