Mysterious blue material, which decorated the jewellery worn by Chinese beauties – kingfisher feathers. The dazzling heavenly color has not lost its kind to this day, even through the centuries. This material is present in the incredibly beautiful headdress – Chinese Phoenix Crown, known as Fengguan, a masterpiece of the history of jewelry. In ancient China, the dragon marked the Emperor, and Phoenix – the Empress. Chinese Phoenix Crown – a traditional ceremonial headdress of female nobility. The particular importance the phoenix crown reached in the era of the Ming. In the above picture – the ritual headdress Phoenix Crown for the Empress Dowager Xiaojie (Ming Dynasty, Wanli era: 1573-1620). It is currently exhibited in the National Museum in Beijing. The crown was removed from the tomb of Dinlin near Beijing. The crown depicts 12 of dragons and 9 phoenixes. Empress Phoenix Crown was worn only during important events: obtaining the title, visiting Ancestral Temple, reception of ministers.

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Ming Dynasty’s noble woman wearing 9-phoenix Crown Fengguan


Chinese Phoenix Crown was decorated with figurines of phoenixes, dragons, clouds and flowers. For their creation used gold, azure kingfisher feathers, pearls and other precious stones. Weight of the crown was 2-3 kg.


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Ming Dynasty’s Empress Headdress, side view


Phoenix crown was introduced in vestments in the era of the Tang. Crown of the Empress has 12 dragons and 9 phoenixes, then the rank of each emperor’s concubines and wives of the princes corresponded to their number of dragons and phoenixes or pheasants in decreasing order.

Notable women of other grades: the wives and daughters of the court dignitaries wore a crown adorned only with pearls and precious stones (often emeralds).

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Crown of Empress belonged to the same six side members, the so-called “wings” – three at each side. Crown of Prince’s wife – only four. Other women had no right to wear the wings.


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Ming Dynasty empress’s 6-dragons-3-phoenixes crown


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Artifact of Ming Dynasty empress’s 3-dragons-2-phoenixes crown


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Chinese Queen’s (Ming Dynasty) Headdress. Blue tian-tsui leaves and birds, gold dragons, pearls, polished semi-precious stones