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Collection Artifact Details

Festival Hat

Type: Clothing - Headwear
Object Name: Festival Hat
Place Made: Asia: East Asia, China
People: Han
Period: Late 19th to mid 20th century
Date: 1880 - 1970
Dimensions: L 16 cm x W 18 cm x H 45 cm x 19 cm in diameter
Materials: Silk; cotton; metal; cardboard; wire
Techniques: Damask; satin; embroidered; straight stitch; Peking knot; appliquéd; painted; fringed
ID Number: T86.0632
Credit: Gift of Fred Braida

Hats embodying the shapes of animals, or decorated with auspicious symbols, were worn by Chinese children to protect them from evil spirits and to ensure their future successes. Animals were understood to bestow unique abilities such as strength and power, and would also protect the child by virtue of these same qualities. Worn mostly by boys between the ages of one month and five years, these hats were given to mark special occasions during the child’s development. They were worn for festive events, such as a child’s birthday, New Year’s celebrations, or for the Dragon Boat festival. There were several types of hats: a first month cap, given when a child reaches one month old; an open crown cap, also worn in infancy, and; a dog head cap to mark the first birthday. Other hats include the wind hat, tiger hat and scholar hat, which was given to older children to ensure future social and political success.