Festival Hat

festival hat

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Type: Clothing - Headwear
Object Name: Festival Hat
Place Made: Asia: East Asia, China, Northwest China
People: Han
Period: Late 19th to mid 20th century
Date: 1880 - 1970
Dimensions: L 17 cm x W 9 cm x H 24 cm x 25 cm in diameter
Materials: Silk; gold foil/leaf; cardboard; silk floss; glass bead; cotton; India ink; wire
Techniques: Satin; embroidered; couched; satin stitch; Peking knot; netted; padded; glued; fringed; tasseled
ID Number: T86.0566
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.