Museum of Australian Democracy at Eureka (M.A.D.E) , Ballarat
A child's hat typical of those worn during Dong Festivals in China.
Elaborate Dong Embroidered Festival Hat; Skillfully embroidered appliqué sections with fine wrapped thread designs, hand-made silk braids creating elaborate 3-D pattersns, gold foil couching, colored metal sequins; metal immortals and hemi-spheres on front and dangling medallion on back; lined with handwoven black cotton
Exact date and place of manufacture unknown but consistent with examples from early 20C SE Guizhou Province
A child's hat typical of those worn during Dong Festivals in some parts of China.
Dong New Year is a traditional festival of the Dong people in Southeast Guizhou Province. It is celebrated at different times of year from one area to another, mostly falling during the first days of the eleventh month of the Chinese lunar calendar. Some Dong people celebrate it at the end of the tenth month.
Miao, Dong, Yi, and Bai Minority people of SW China, including children of all ages, wear elaborate costumes for a range of festivals and events.
No matter the origin the purposes of the lovingly created hats are the same: to provide protection from evil spirits, demons, and ghosts but also to imbue the child with important qualities such as wealth, health, courage, academic success, happiness, long life, grace,and beauty.
In the more isolated mountainous regions minority children are still wearing their protective hats today.
See Stories of Chinese Children's Hats, Symbolism and Folklore by Phylis Lan Lin & Christi Lan Lin for some fascinating details on these types of hats.