Rare collections of the Ming and Qing Dynasties

Updated: 2011-04-06 14:48

By Liu Fang (

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Rare collections of the Ming and Qing Dynasties

Cylindrical famille rose tube with lotus pattern

Reign of Emperor Qianlong, Qing Dynasty (1661-1722)

Height: 4.3-6 cm

Diameter: 1.3-1.8 cm

Nanjing Museum

This kind of cylindrical tube is an essential part of the official hat of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), which was completely different from those of the previous dynasties. We can easily find this kind of special hat with peacock feathers in TV shows or movies about the Qing Dynasty. The cylindrical tube is for tying up feathers to the hat.

The cylindrical tube is hollow for inserting peacock feathers, and on the top there is a loop so that it can be fastened to the top of the conical hat. This series of cylindrical tubes is painted with lotus flowers, bats, Ruyi (a symbol of abundance and wealth) and the Chinese word “Shou” (longevity), against a background of white and blue famille rose enamel.

The official hat of the Qing Dynasty was topped with knobs of different materials, signifying the official’s rank. In addition, peacock feathers were also attached to the hats’ rear. There were single-eyed (“eye” referring to the round spot on the feather), double eyed and triple-eyed feathers. The greater the number of eyes, the higher the rank. Only noble men and those who had done “immortal” feats were entitled to wear feathers.


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