We are very proud to offer a wonderful vintage silver headdress of the Guizhou MIAO (Hmong) nationality, one of the 56 minority nationalities in China. The headdress is composed of a vintage small 7.25 inch cap that has been decorated with silver ornaments. The cap itself has detailed pleating and elaborate embroidery for which the MIAO women are renowned. A MIAO woman learns to do embroidery at a very young age. A MIAO woman who cannot do embroidery would likely never marry! All parts are symbolic of a woman's life.
The silver is composed of a band with a large flower surrounded on each side by four plates of riders on horseback. The top has six phoenix birds with long silver tails and lots of silver flowers. The headdress looks like a cross between a crown and a hat! The MIAO are famous for their love of silver. Before Bling and Mr. T., there was the MIAO Humong, who are second to none in their silver ornamentation. They believe that silver is the symbol of light which repels evil spirits. This tradition goes back over 1,000 years. Parents begin to save money for a silver headdress when a baby girl is born. A silversmith is hired when she begins to walk to forge her silver headdress. These traditions continue to this day. The headdress is worn for annual Leishan Festivals. Here a girl might attract a future husband in her beautiful silver headdress.
The MIAO ethnic group's silver ornaments are truly second to none, both in terms of quantity and variety. MIAO woman's festive attire includes a variety of silver decorations, weighing as much as 15 kilos! The purpose of wearing all this silver is of course primarily aesthetic, but it also shows affluence and is thought to wards off evil spirits. The headdress is the focal point of all silver decorations.
While usually worn by women, the MIAO ethnic minority's silver ornaments are made by men. Categorized by functions, there are hats, clothing, necklaces, bracelets, and rings. The level of craftsmanship ranges from relatively basic styles seen in some of the bracelets and neckbands to very delicate skillful work used to make silver bells, flowers, birds, butterflies, needles, bubbles, chains, and earrings. But silversmiths’ work is often seasonal. The MIAO were the first to plant rice in terraces and it is their primary trade.
Because silver is not native to the region of MIAO people, it is believed that the men saved and melted down all silver coins they earned. So the silver content will vary. However, in 1950 the Chinese Government began allotting silver to the MIAO people because of their great love and need for it. Most MIAO people live in the mountains of Southwestern China. Many have migrated to Vietnam, Laos, Burma, and the USA. Our silver headdress would have been treasured by a family and would have been handed down from mother to daughter. Here is an opportunity to have an instant heirloom. Our silver headdress is vintage, if not antique, but it is in very good and original condition. You can tell it is vintage by the very, very old cap upon which the silver was added. It is a Treasure!
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We will ship this UPS ground, securely boxed, with tracking, insured and signature-required delivery (as required by PayPal and UPS).
Sorry, but we cannot ship this to Alaska, Hawaii, or Internationally. However, we will consider shipping to Europe or Asia, but the buyer will be charged an additional shipping cost and be responsible for all customs and others fees. Please write for the possibility of international shipping before purchasing.