Asian ethnic minority artifacts textiles, tribal arts, primitive Asian Ethnic Artifacts

Matched pair of large Lotus Flower Kingfisher ornaments

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Directory: Archives: Regional Art: Asian: Chinese: Pre 1900: Item # 883131

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This pair of Kingfisher hair ornaments are from my personal collection. The kingfisher bird feathers are in very good condition and the ornaments are 4 inches across at their widest point. Each piece has its original hair pin attached to the paper back with a wire.

The kingfisher bird feathers were a favorite item used to decorate ornaments for both hair and clothing, usually hats and headbands. The earliest ornaments had large feathered areas which were glued to a paper/cardboard back. The edges of the paper were painted with gold paint or sometimes covered with a golden metallic foil to enhance the feather design. Later, I suspect because the birds and feathers became scarce, ornate metal designs using smaller bits and pieces of feathers came into fashion. Some of these integrated stones and or pearls into their elaborate displays.

I have only seen one kingfisher bird, dead, in a drawer in a shop in Beijing. It was years ago and I was surprised at how small the bird was, no bigger than a sparrow. Only a few areas of the bird's body had the "kingfisher blue" feathers, a small section of the wings and the throat, if I remember correctly. The rest of the feathers were a mottled dark brown/black.