Sep 12, 2013


Song Dynasty Empress of Gaozon

Phoenix crown(鳳冠) is a Chinese traditional headgear for women. It was worn by noblewomen in theMing Dynastyon ceremonies or official occasions. It is also the traditional headgear for brides. It is adorned with gold dragons, phoenixes made withkingfisher feathers, beaded pheasants,pearlsandgemstones.



Ming dynasty phoenix crown

The number of pearls used range from 3426 to 5449 pieces, while the number of gemstones used range from 95 to 128 pieces.These pearls, gemstones and more kingfisher feathers are made into ornamental flowers, leaves, clouds, and bobin (博鬢, the ‘wings’ at the side/back of the crown). The weight of the entire crown range from 2 to 3kilograms.Phoenix crowns were first developed inTang Dynasty, and were worn through theMing Dynasty, with many changes made with time.

There are different varieties of phoenix crowns, depending on the number of dragons, phoenixes and pheasants adorned, and the presence or absence of certain ornaments. Phoenix crowns of empresses includes 12-dragons-9-phoenixes crown (十二龍九鳳冠), 9-dragons-9-phoenixes crown (九龍九鳳冠), 6-dragons-3-phoenixes crown (六龍三鳳冠), and the 3-dragons-2-phoenixes crown (三龍二鳳冠). 9-pheasants crown (九翟冠), 7-pheasants crown (七翟冠) and 5-pheasants crown (五翟冠), adorned with beaded pheasants and gold phoenixes, are worn by royal concubines and princesses (includes wives of princes), with the number of pheasants representing the wearer’s royal rank. All other noblewomen/wives and daughters of officials wear the pearl-and-emerald crown (珍珠翡翠冠), where the crown is just adorned with pearls and gemstones (in various ornamental shapes).Phoenix crowns worn with diyihave no dangling string of pearls by the sides. Only the phoenix crown of empresses and crown princesses (wife of crown prince) can have bobin adorned, with the empress’s crown having 6 blades of bobin (3 on each side), while the crown princess can only have 4 blades of bobin (2 on each side). All other noblewomen cannot have bobin on their phoenix crown.

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