Friday, April 24, 2009

Chinese Children's Hats

Many years ago I started creating a line of dolls called Charm Girls. These silk (mostly Asian) dolls wore hats from silk brocade fabric that I purchased on a trip to China. I became entranced with the fabric and then with Chinese Children's Hats.

At the time, information was very limited but I tracked down a book that was no longer being published. Well, this certainly sent me on a quest to find that book- I had to have it! I tried the usual on-line sources- Amazon, Abe, Alibris, Bookfinder, luck. I finally contacted the publisher and with luck was able to contact the author. She was so very kind to me, after I explained that I was a doll maker and my soul-touched interest in things Asian. She had one that was sitting on her bookshelf in fair condition- I was delighted- so very happy and told her I would love to purchase it. It now sits on my bookshelf with others written by her and her daughter.

So what do I find so fascinating about these children's hats? The Miao and Dong Chinese Ethnic Monorites use symbols to convey their desire for a good life. Most are from moral teachings and legend stories that have been handed down generation to generation. A Mother would embroiderer a baby's hat, bib, or carrier with these moral meanings, wishes, or especially for the young- protection. Every stitch of her embroidery was the expression of a mother's deepest affection for her child. It was a way to embrace her child with a good life.

There are four ways this symbolism is used in their work:
To invoke good fortune.
To outwit the evil forces.
To imply social achievement.
To wish for happiness and longevity.

There are many symbolic meanings of the auspicious motifs, I would like to share one with you-The Tiger! This ancient Chinese animal symbol is an emblem of dignity, ferocity, sternness, courage, and by itself is Yin energy. Also a symbol of protection, the image of a tiger is often seen on clothing or in the home to ward off harm any semblance of harm and assure safekeeping.

All the hats pictured in this blog are Tiger Hats

Does this last one remind you of someone??

My little Tiger- Issy!

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