MediumSilk, kingfisher feathers, copper alloy, turquoise, glass and ceramic
Credit LineNeusteter Textile Collection: Gift of Mrs. J. Churchill Owen
Wedding Headdress. 19th century. Silk, kingfisher feathers, copper alloy, turquoise, glass and ceramic. Neusteter Textile Collection: Gift of Mrs. J. Churchill Owen. 1973.23.
Dimensionsheight: 7 in, 17.7800 cm; overall height: 8.5 in, 21.5900 cm; diameter: 6.5 in, 16.5100 cm
DepartmentAvenir Institute of Textile Arts and Fashion
CollectionTextile Arts and Fashion-Asian
Using bright blue kingfisher feathers for ornamentation has a long history in China. At first these costly products were only for the elite, but by the 1800s it was common for a bride to wear a headdress fashioned with kingfisher feathers. The precious stone "jewels," however, were replaced by ceramic, glass, or paste versions. Floral ornaments mingled with bats, symbols of blessings, and golden wish-granting clouds cover the black silk lattice under bonnet of this wedding headdress. Characters for double happiness appear at the crown; in the center of each strand of the beaded veil is an auspicious symbol.
Known ProvenanceGifted April 1973 by Mrs. J. Churchill Owen via Craig and Tarlton, Inc. [Raleigh, NC] to Denver Art Museum
- "Threads of Heaven: Silken Legacy of China's Last Dynasty," October 30, 2011 - January 29, 2012 (DAM)
- "Threads of Heaven: Silken Legacy of China's Last Dynasty," Februrary 7 - May 18, 2014 (Taft Museum, Cincinnati, OH)