Asian Antiques Appraisals And Valuations

History of Chinese Hair Accessories

In China, hair accessories have been around for centuries, with the first recorded use dating back to the Han Dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD). In those days, hairpins were made from bronze and other metals. They were often decorated with precious stones and used as a status symbol to show one’s wealth. As time progressed, hair accessories became more elaborate and started to be made from a variety of materials such as jade, ivory, porcelain, and even human hair. In fact, in some Chinese cultures, it was considered lucky to wear a hair accessory made from someone else’s hair. These days, hair accessories are still widely used in China. However, they are no longer solely reserved for the wealthy elite. Instead, they are seen as a way to add personal style and flair to one’s appearance.

The Hanfu Headdresses

Among the most eye-catching of Hanfu accessories are the headdresses. These vary greatly in style and form, from the simple to the ornate, and can be made from a wide range of materials, including jade, gold, silver, silk, and even feathers.

Headdresses were worn by both men and women in ancient China, and were often indicative of social status. For example, nobility might wear headdresses with longer tails or more elaborate designs, while commoners would stick to simpler styles.

Interestingly, Hanfu headdresses also served as a kind of communication tool. Different symbols and colors could be used to convey different messages, such as good luck or mourning.

Today, Hanfu headdresses are enjoying something of a resurgence in popularity, thanks in part to the revival of interest in traditional Chinese culture. They make for beautiful and unique fashion statements, and can be found for sale at many online retailers.

The Qing Dynasty’s ‘Butterfly Hairpins’

The Qing Dynasty’s “Butterfly Hairpins” were a type of hair accessory that was popular during the dynasty. They were made out of silver or metal and had a butterfly-shaped design on the top. They were often worn by women in their hair, as a way to keep it in place.

The Manchu Headdress

The Manchu headdress was a type of headwear worn by the Manchus, an ethnic group from Northeast China. It was typically made of cloth or fur and was decorated with elaborate designs. The headdress was an important part of Manchu culture and served as a symbol of status and wealth. In addition to being worn by members of the Manchu elite, the headdress was also worn by Han Chinese officials who had been given the title of “Manchu governor.”

20th century hair accessories

In the early 20th century, hair accessories in China were often made of ivory or jade. These precious materials were symbols of wealth and status, and were only worn by the elite class. Hairpins were decorated with intricate carvings, and sometimes had small bells attached to them.

In the 1920s and 1930s, Western influences began to seep into Chinese fashion. Hair accessories became more commonly made of metal, and often had Art Deco or Art Nouveau designs. The wealthy continued to wear elaborate hairpins, while the middle class favoured more simple and practical styles.

After the Communist Revolution in 1949, hair accessories fell out of favour. They were seen as bourgeois and decadent, and women were encouraged to keep their hair short and utilitarian. In the 1980s and 1990s, there was a revival of traditional Chinese culture, and hair accessories once again become popular. Today, you can find hairpins decorated with everything from pearls to pom-poms!


Although hair accessories have been around for centuries, they continue to be popular today. From delicate headbands to ornate combs, there is a hair accessory to suit every taste. And with so many options available, it’s easy to find one that matches your personal style. Whether you’re looking for something simple or something more elaborate, Chinese hair accessories are a great way to add a touch of elegance to your look.

Chinese Antique Valuations And Appraisals

Do you own a piece of Chinese porcelain or an oriental work of art that you would like to know more about, such as age, history and value?

Then you should really consider using our Chinese Antique Valuation Service as the last thing you want to do is risk under selling the piece due to lack of knowledge or ill gotten advice.