Tiger hat

For special occasions, Chinese mothers dress their young children in hats representing powerful animals such as tigers. It was believed that tigers frightened away evil spirits and ensured a prosperous future. While fierce in nature, the tiger on this hat is portrayed as non-hostile and charming. Behind each ear is a beautiful embroidered butterfly symbolizing happiness.


Collection Connections 

  • Festival Hat

    Festival Hat

    Asia: East Asia, China, Northwest China

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  • Festival Hat

    Festival Hat

    Asia: East Asia, China, Northern China, Shanxi

    View More 
  • Festival Hat

    Festival Hat

    Asia: East Asia, China, Northern China

    View More 
  • Festival Hat

    Festival Hat

    Asia: East Asia, China, Northern China

    View More 

If a festival hat was made for you, which animal would you choose and which of its qualities would you hope were transmitted to you?

responded: Apr 4, 2012

Posted by Vanessa Hoffmann

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Almost every element of the Chinese festival hat is symbolic. Images such as butterflies, tigers, and flowers all represent different wishes and expectations that the gift giver had for the recipient. These hats were often made by grandmothers to give as a gift to their young grandsons. The hat contains tremendous amount of detail both within the aesthetic details as well as the functional construction of the object. During the late 19th century, only people belonging to the upper class society of Shanxi were able to wear luxurious fabrics such as silk. This display showcases two types of materials that were used in the production of the festival hat. The fabric, used as the background, is a purple silk and the threads used are different colours of silk floss. I feel that it was important to highlight the variations of stitching used using a display because most of the types of stitching were used for the purpose of aesthetic appeal rather than for functionality. Each type of stitch is labeled accordingly on the right of each stitching line.

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