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White Jade Bianfang Hair Ornament with Semi-Precious Stone Inlays

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Period: Qing dynasty (1644–1911)
Dimensions: 31.5 cm x 3.1 cm x 0.5 cm

Hetian white jade is a stone of the finest quality. This rectangular bianfang hair ornament has one rounded end with the other end shaped like a scroll with tourmaline and pearl inlay. Both ends of the front feature an inlaid design of a tourmaline flower and jadeite leaf on which sits a tourmaline frog. The green and pink decorative elements against the white background create a harmonious and aesthetically pleasing effect. The reverse is plain without ornamentation.

The bianfang was worn by Manchu women to set their iconic hairstyle, called liangbatou (lit. “two fist ends”). In the Qing dynasty (1644–1911), the bianfang was made of various materials, including jadeite, gold, silver, sea-turtle shell, and fragrant woods.

Website version edited by Adam J. Ensign and Zhuang Ying 

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