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Qing Dynasty Kingfisher feather Hair Pin, Chinese 19th Century

In Asian > Chinese Antiques > Show & TellAsian > Chinese Jewelry > Show & TellFine Jewelry > Show & Tell.
JoanTibbetts's loves1 of 2Art Nouveau (Jugendstil) Plique and Silver Pendants, Levinger and Bissinger, ca 1900Art Nouveau (Jugendstil) Plique and Silver Pendants, Levinger and Bissinger, ca 1900
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    Posted 6 years ago

    (915 items)

    Hello truth friends Collectors Community,-29-06-2018----1:00 AM-Ontario, Canada.

    I found this Qing Dynasty Kingfisher feather Hair Pin about 3 week ago online, i decided to go for it, as i like discover new thing, I read on this almost a week, event before be winner of this piece.
    I have to say the history of this ornament is quite amazing, i know this one need some TLC, but i am up to it, because is very beautiful and very rare.

    Kingfisher feather ornaments adorned the ladies of the Chinese court since the T'ang Dynasty. These brilliant blue feathers came from water kingfishers and wood kingfishers, which were common in China until demand for their feathers nearly caused their extinction.

    Kingfisher feather was cut to shape and inlaid into a silver or gold filigree base. Filigree was also combined with granulation to form hairpins in the shape of butterflies and flowers, which were often augmented with jade or pearls. These ornaments continued to be fashionable in China through the Victorian era.

    Very little is known about these ornaments other than the craft. The use of bird feathers has been prevalent in many cultures since ancient times, but no culture/people has refined the use of one bird’s feathers as beautifully and exquisitely as the Chinese have done with the iridescent Kingfisher Feather. From large, ornamented, lacquer panel screens, to lavish headdresses and hats, down to small, fine, elegant jewelry such as earrings and hair pins, the Chinese have elevated this beautiful, delicate feather to great technical and visually creative heights.

    The use of kingfisher feathers in ornaments, and particularly in hair ornaments, thus appears to have a long history in China. There is little information available describing how kingfisher feather ‘enameling’ was actually undertaken during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Before the gluing process could begin however, the metal framework had to be prepared. This was done by soldering gallery wire to the edges and surfaces of the metal base, creating partitions defining the motif. The different components would then have been soldered together to make three-dimensional forms, and the feather filaments cut to size and glued.

    By all accounts, then, the process was painstaking. Presumably, the labour entailed in producing these ornaments, and indeed in first catching the kingfishers to strip them of their feathers, translated into high prices for the consumer. The possession of ornaments made from the feathers of kingfishers would have signified wealth and status. Kingfisher feathers appear frequently among the items of the imperial household during the Qing period and earlier. They were not restricted to those of Qing imperial descent, however, and appear to have been popular among wealthy Han, Manchu and other smaller ethnic groups, although the manner in which they were worn varied. Ornaments, particularly hair ornaments, made from kingfisher feathers were often part of a bride’s trousseau. The use of kingfisher feathers not only displayed wealth and status but also enhanced the wearer’s beauty.

    This hair pin is 6.50 inches long,by 2.25 inches wide.

    Many thanks for looking.
    Elisabethan post one 2 years ago, here is the link
    And also Kyratango 3 years ago,

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    1. Newfld Newfld, 6 years ago
    2. Tigra, 6 years ago
    3. ho2cultcha ho2cultcha, 6 years ago
      ditto! to both of these!
    4. kyratango kyratango, 6 years ago
      Alan! Your Tian Tsui hair ornament is superb!
    5. TassieDevil TassieDevil, 6 years ago
      Love this very much Alan:-)
    6. billretirecoll billretirecoll, 6 years ago
      Thank you for posting this Kingfisher feather Hair Pin Alan, its an amazing find! :^D I've added the links to the other two posts here, for easier access:

      Elisabethan post one 2 years ago, here is the link
      And also Kyratango 3 years ago,

      I hope this helps! :^)
    7. Elisabethan Elisabethan, 6 years ago
      Hello Alan! Beautiful piece! I was just going to tell you I am the lucky owner of two of these type of ornaments. When I saw you had already seen mine :) I rarely wear them but I love them. Thanks for your interesting post! - Elisabeth

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