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Ornanments and Their Historical Connotations

Hairpins and hair clasps were daily elaborations in previous China. Throughout the Ming and Qing period (1368-1911), women's hair ornaments expressed ancient Chinese thought and culture in exquisite, refined techniques.
 
The generic term for hairpins and hair clasps is ji. A 1 bar ji keeps coiled hair in place, and a 2 bar ji may be a feature of the hairstyle itself. Before the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) each Chinese men and girls wore their hair in a much coiled bun with a ji to stay it in place.

The patterns, craftsmanship, materials and range of hair ornaments a girl wore signified her social rank. Feudal etiquette outlined the fashion of hair ornaments on formal occasions, like weddings or court ceremonies.

Hair ornaments worn by girls of wealth additionally took the shape of gold flowers encrusted with jewels depicting flowers or animals.

Among well-liked ornamental patterns were auspicious birds and beasts, like the dragon, phoenix, crane, deer and also the twelve animals of the Chinese "zodiac." Hairpins within the style of a mandarin duck denoted married bliss.

Patterns of flowers and fruit-bearing trees featured the peony, lotus flower, plum, guava and asphodel. The 5 petals on a plum represent blessings, high-salary, longevity, luck and wealth.
Designs depicting auspicious objects included musical instruments, chess items, calligraphic characters, and also the "four treasures of the scholar's studio" comprising the calligraphy brush, ink stick, ink slab and paper.

But to the ladies of ancient China the ji was much more than simply a hair ornament. The ji ceremony, that bestowed a hairpin upon a young lady when she reached the age of fifteen, was a ceremony of passage signifying that she had reached marriageable age.

A hairpin additionally functioned as a love token. When Chinese lovers of earlier period were forced to half they might typically split a hairpin, each keeping a half with them in the slightest degree times till they were reunited.