Child's hat of blue, pink and red silk, decorated in the form of a lion's head using appliqué with fabric, beads and metal wire wrapped with silk thread to represent eyes, nose, mouth, teeth and moustache. The ears are of green silk, edged with gold threads and lined with red cotton. They are attached to the hat by two green silk-wrapped coil springs. Above the face are gilt metal spikes, below the face are two flower sprays embroidered on blue silk. The back of the hat is of quilted red silk. The whole hat is padded and lined with patterned cotton. This hat would have been for a boy, and would have been worn on special occasions, such as birthdays or Chinese New Year.

Animal hats are worn by children in China for protection against evil spirits. According to Garrett (1997), animal hats had ears to hear evil spirits approaching, large protruding eyes to spot danger, and a mouth full of bared teeth. See Garrett, V.M. (1997), 'A Collector's Guide to Chinese Dress Accessories', 56-59.

Collection Information

These objects are only a part of our collections, of which there are more than 350,000 objects. This information comes from our collections database. Some of this is incomplete and there may be errors. This part of the website is also still under construction, so there may be some fields repeated or incorrectly formatted information.

The database sometimes uses language taken from historical documents to help research, which may now appear outdated and even offensive. The database also includes information on objects that are considered secret or sacred by some communities.

If you have any further information about objects in our collections or can suggest corrections to our information, please contact us: enquiry@horniman.ac.uk