Wonderful and perfect Chinese kingfisher feather tiara style headdress
For a vintage bride who dares to be different
CONDITION: no loss of kingfisher inlay and good vintage condition with expected wear
SIZE: 1 ins h x 10 ins w around the curve (2.5 x 26 cm)
APPROXIMATE DATE: 1890-1910 (Qing)
MATERIALS: metal, kingfisher feather
Here is a very beautiful and elaborate tiara style hair ornament dating from the Qing period c 1890s – 1910.
The foundation of the ornament is gilded brass upon which is assembled a cloisonné like design which resembles overlapping leaves or petals. Placed in the centre front is the lotus motif. The cells in the design are inlaid with kingfisher feathers which have retained their brilliant translucent blue.
The tiara is in excellent condition for its age and the extreme delicacy of the materials.
The tiara is help in place by a long metal tine which is affixed to the inner surface. This pierces the chignon to hold it firmly.
During the Qing dynasty in China high ranking ladies favoured elaborate hair ornaments which were decorated with kingfisher feathers. These ornaments were usually made of gilded brass, the most commonly used patterns being flower sprays and various animals such as butterflies, bats and sea birds, together with the phoenix, symbol of status and wealth; the ornaments were made with small cells, similar to those found in Western enamel jewellery. However instead of enamel the spaces were filled with tiny cut out pieces of the beautiful iridescent blue kingfisher feathers.
The feathers were painstakingly cut to exact size to fit separate metal sections, and carefully attached with thin adhesive so they retained brilliant color and iridescence. This jewel like mosaic was often combined with semi precious materials such as pearls, jade, coral and turquoise. In the lesser pieces glass jewels and faux pearl beads were used.
One issue with this kind of hair accessory is that they are extremely delicate and are seldom found in perfect condition.
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