Fengguan (Chinese: 凤冠 ; pinyin: fèngguān) is a crown worn by ancient Chinese noblewomen.
Fengguan means “phoenix crown” in English.
The name fengguan comes from its jewelry: a phoenix made of inlaid kingfisher feathers, as well as gold dragons, beaded birds, pearls, and other gemstones.
One of the earliest phoenix crowns that have been discovered belongs to Empress Xiao of the Sui dynasty. The type became most popular during the Ming dynasty, with many changes made over time.
Fengguan evolved from fengchai (Chinese: 凤钗 ; pinyin: fèng chāi) which was a phoenix hairpin, a Chinese hairpin worn by empresses and concubines of the emperor.
The use of fengchai dates back to the Qin Dynasty. During the Eastern Jin dynasty, the word fengguan first appeared, but fengguan refers to hairpins imitating the Chinese phoenix comb.
The earliest fengguan found was the crown of Empress Xiao of the Sui dynasty, which was recovered from the tomb of Emperor Yang of Sui in 2013.
The artifact was protected-repaired and studied at the Shaanxi Province Cultural Heritage Administration, then, a replica was made based on research.
During the Song dynasty, fengguan was officially designated as the dress of Mingfu (Chinese: 命妇 ; pinyin: mìng fù), women with titles in ancient times. Fengguan is a crown that is often worn when attending important ceremonies.
Fengguan is also often found in the Ming dynasty. Only Mingfu around the emperor, their fengguan is allowed to carve dragons and phoenixes. The details of fengguan will be decorated according to the identity of the wearer.
Fengguan was often worn by ordinary women at their wedding ceremonies during the Ming and Qing dynasties,
This is believed to have started during the Southern Song dynasty when the Emperor rewarded a girl for saving his life.
Women wearing fengguan as part of their wedding attire has been a long tradition in Zhejiang.
Fengguan is likened to a symbol of good luck.
However, women who remarry and become concubines are not allowed to wear fengguan.
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