Lot 30. A kingfisher feather 'jewel'-encrusted headdress, dianzi, 19th century; 18cm (7 1/8in) high. Sold for HK$ 877,500 (€ 93,262). © Bonhams
The oval flat-crowned headdress with semi-circular section sweeping towards the forehead, the wire frame lined in black silk and elaborately applied with red ribbon wire with shaped gilt-silver filigree motifs covered with kingfisher feathers and embellished with jadeite, tourmaline, pearl, quartz, coral, and other semi-precious stones, some of the motifs including the cranes, flowers and butterflies spring-mounted, the forehead suspending beaded semi-precious stone pendants, box.
Note: An elaborately decorated headdress such as the present lot is known as dianzi, which is literally translated as a 'hat ring'. It referred to the kind of hat supported by a circular iron wire in its rim. The base of a dianzi is usually made of metal wires wrapped with black silk, such as the present lot.
Gemstones and pearls are fixed onto the hat base in different auspicious motifs. A dianzi is usually worn by noble women for special occasions. The "double-happiness" pendants suspended on the forehead of the lot suggest the headdress may had been used for weddings; see a kingfisher feather and pearl-inset 'double-happiness' dianzi in the National Palace Museum, Taipei, which was made for weddings, illustrated in su gu hua jin tan Gugong zhu bao, Taipei, 2012, p.41.
A kingfisher feather and pearl-inset 'double-happiness' dianzi. Image courtesy of National Palace Museum, Taipei.
Bonhams. Fine Chinese Art. Introducing Beauty and Beyond: Women in Chinese Art, Hong Kong, 27 May 2021.