Chinese Children's Hats Volume 38.2 Preview

Chinese Children's Hats

TIGER HAT COMBINED WITH SCHOLAR’S HAT, a beautiful example of textile arts and symbolism, 15.0 centimeters wide. These hats were photographed in an improvised studio, on a brass armature, with a black Tufflock backdrop. They were lit with an external flash on a Canon 7D, with or without additional slipon diffuser, besides the Speedlite 580EX’s own translucent diffuser. When we felt the armature was too obtrusive, it was removed using the Photoshop clone tool (Liu 2014). Pam Najdowski Collection. Photograph by Robert K. Liu/Ornament.

TIGER HAT COMBINED WITH SCHOLAR’S HAT, a beautiful example of textile arts and symbolism, 15.0 centimeters wide. These hats were photographed in an improvised studio, on a brass armature, with a black Tufflock backdrop. They were lit with an external flash on a Canon 7D, with or without additional slipon diffuser, besides the Speedlite 580EX’s own translucent diffuser. When we felt the armature was too obtrusive, it was removed using the Photoshop clone tool (Liu 2014). Pam Najdowski Collection. Photograph by Robert K. Liu/Ornament.

Chinese children’s hats reflect the powerful parental desires of the protective, aspirational and inspirational functions for these attire (Leung 2010, Lin and Lin 1996; Liu and Rossi 1991; Szeto and Garrett 1990). Like Chinese jewelry, they are replete with symbolism, which in turn can be read as verbal rebuses or auspicious sayings by those who are knowledgeable (Bartholomew 2006, Pei 2004). In fact, these children’s hats often have silver components sewn on, thus intermingling textile and jewelry techniques and the similar symbolism common to both (Duda 2002).

 

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Robert K. Liu is Coeditor of Ornament and for many years its in-house photographer. His new book, The Photography of Personal Adornment, covers forty years of shooting jewelry, clothing and events related to ornaments, both in and out of the Ornament studio. This issue he writes about his experiences teaching photography and black bamboo jewelrymaking workshops. Later this year, he plans to teach photography workshops at the Ornament studio. Liu also collaborates with Pam Najdowski about Chinese children’s hats, a disappearing folk art and now a sought after collectible. The images in the latter article were shot in an improvised hotel room studio, demonstrating another easy way to photograph textiles and fiber artifacts.


Educated at Oberlin College and the University of Michigan, Pam Najdowski was a teacher and social worker for the Santa Fe Public Schools for over two decades, as well as school counselor for the International School of Tianjin, China, 2003-2005. She has extensive ethnographic experience with Chinese minorities, having both lived there and traveled almost two dozen times to minority areas of Guizhou, Guangxi and Yunnan. Najdowski has been the guest at two Chinese Folk Art Expos, and conducted extensive research, consultation and lecturing on Chinese minorities, their textiles, clothing and silversmithing. She operates Textiles Treasures in Santa Fe, New Mexico.