Official's Summer Hat and Hat Box

c. 1900
$2,480 USD
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H: 9.5" Dia: 14.5"
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No self-respecting man in Qing-dynasty China would leave the house without some kind of hat. Headgear was central to social status and those of title relied on their hat to convey their rank and cultural identity.

This conical hat is the summer hat of a Qing-dynasty official and would have been worn from the third month of the Chinese calendar until the eighth. Summer hats were woven of split bamboo and frequently lined with fine silks. A fringe of red silk cord drapes over the exterior, topped by a stone finial denoting the wearer's rank. The clear glass finial on this example denotes the fifth rank and is secured to the hat by a pierced brass fastener decorated with bats and scholars' objects.

When not in use, the hat was stored in the accompanying hat box, here decorated only by a blue fabric finish and a red silk lining. With its sculptural form and storied history, this summer hat is a fantastic collector's item and unique keepsake of the past.

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