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Chinese Silk Caps 


The Chinese Silk Cap is a small round cap, made up of colourful panels of silk stitched together. These caps will often have gold dragons or other traditional Chinese decorative patterns, as well as a long braided plait leading from under the cap.


Cultural notes

Chinese silk caps are widely available in costume stores and are marketed as ‘Mandarin Caps’, however historical information about these hats is very limited.

The Chinese Silk Cap also called “small hats” were made of six parts stitched together. This kind of hat came into being during the Ming Dynasty, and was meant to indicate “unity of the country”. These hats continued to be worn throughout the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).

Many Chinese silk caps sold today include a long black braid, leading from the top or the back of the cap and trailing down the wearers back. This represents the ‘Queue’ or ‘Cue’ – a long braided hairstyle worn by men in the Qing Dynasty.

Suggested activities

Books/ Story time:

  • Explore different hats worn around the world. Use the book ‘Hats, Hats, Hats’ to start the conversation

Group/ Circle Time:

  • Encourage children to bring in their favourite hat from home – discuss where the hat came from, where it is used

Dramatic Play: 

  • Introduce asian food items in to your home corner area
  • Include cultural clothing in your home corner

Food and Cooking:

  • Offer chopsticks during mealtimes
  • Introduce asian foods in to your menu

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The research for this resource was made possible through a grant from the Central Coast Council.