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Chinese Hats – Winter


The Chinese Officials Winter Hat is comprised of a skull cap with an upturned brim, usually made of red, yellow and black silks, with insignias stitched in to the design. These hats are topped with knobs of different materials, signifying an Officials rank.

Cultural notes

The official hats of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) were completely different from those of the previous dynasties. All Qing political and military personnel above the rank of bailiff had to wear a kind of weft hat.

The official hat of the Qing Dynasty was invariably topped with a knob made of a gem or silver and gold ornament, which indicated the wearer’s rank and power.

A ruby knob represented a first-rank official. The most common knobs were rosy red, or bright red, while the most precious were bloody red.

A coral knob signified a second-rank official. The coral was hard and red in most cases, with the bright red ones being the most precious.

A sapphire knob referred to a third-rank official, with the best such knobs being blue sky in colour.

A knob made of lapis lazuli in the colors of azure blue, sky blue, or indigo was attached to a fourth-rank official.

A crystal knob was usually found on a fifth-rank official’s hat, with the blue crystal being especially precious.

A sixth-rank official’s hat was often topped with a tridacna knob, which was the shell of a mollusk, a kind of giant clam, and was seen as one of the seven treasures (gold and silver, colored glaze, tridacna, agate, coral, amber and pearl) in ancient times.

The knob of a seventh-rank official’s hat was usually made of plain gold.

A knob made of gold with characters cut in intaglio represented the eighth-rank official while one made of gold with characters cut in relief was found on the hat of the ninth-rank official. A hat with no knobs on top was worn by officials of no rank

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

External Links

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